Trying Out Two New Italian Restaurants

Hot honey chicken wings. Photo via

It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the best of dines and the worst of dines, but recent visits to two newish Italian restaurants certainly produced different reactions.

Heritage is the hot, trendy spot in the city’s MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District neighborhood, between Andrews and Federal, south of, well, Sunrise. The other is the just opened Livia, in one of the many mid-rise apartment buildings in the Flagler Village neighborhood. Right now, street parking is plentiful (and free on Sundays!).

We’d tried getting a table at Heritage a few times, but without a reservation, evenings were almost impossible. We did make a reservation for lunch and found we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Guess the hipsters weren’t awake yet. Our server was friendly, attentive, and asked if we wanted sparkling or still water, I responded, “Tap!” (I am not paying for water when our water is perfectly fine to drink) and he brought us bottles of filtered water, which many places do nowadays. We were entertaining our brother-in-law, visiting from Austin. He ordered the Italian chopped salad. My husband got the Margherita pizza and I opted for the misspelled Ginny Bastard panini. All were perfectly acceptable, but nothing to rave about. I took half my sandwich (a mixture of Italian cold cuts-prosciutto, mortadella, soppressata, and spicy capicola, with provolone, fresh mozzarella, shaved iceberg lettuce, shallots, sweet banana peppers and Italian dressing) home. When we got our bill, I was surprised to see we were charged for water, just $1 each, but why? With tip, the lunch for three was $75.

903 NE 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale

A few nights later, we got together with our gal pals, Fredda, Katia, Joni, and Doreen to catch up and have a family meal. We decided to check out Livia, another Italian restaurant, but I’m not complaining, I love good Italian fare.

Our server Phoebe was a delight from the moment we were seated on the outdoor patio. She got us water, ice, and soft drinks and then served the very good house white wines, Pinot Grigio for Doreen, and Sauvignon Blanc for me. We began by splitting a couple of appetizers and due to dietary restrictions of our group, there were a lot of requests for things “on the side,” which Phoebe (and the kitchen accommodated). The chicken wings came with hot honey sauce on the side as requested, and were moist, delicious, and plentiful. The burrata and English pea-stuffed arancini were light and fluffy. The red pepper emulsion added a nice piquant zip to the creamy filling.

Three of our group ordered pizzas, and they were overwhelmed by the size. No dainty little Neapolitan discs, these oblong, hand-tossed gems had a nice crispy crust and were overflowing with toppings, from my hubby’s four cheese white pizza to Katia’s pepperoni to Fredda’s meatball and ricotta mammoth. All provided meals the next day. Joni, always watching her weight (the skinny thing that she is!) ordered the chopped salad and ate the entire thing. Doreen and I opted for pasta. Her truffle potato gnocchi combined porcini and shaved truffles in a rosemary cream/roasted tomato sauce that was heavenly. The gnocchi were as pillowy and light as air as possible without them floating off the plate. I ordered the mafaldine, sort of a cross between fettuccine and lasagna noodles, with a rich Bolognese. It was perfectly prepared with al dente pasta and the rich thick sauce, and tasted just like our next-door neighbor Maria, from Sicily, used to make on Sundays. I took half of it home, and it made for a wonderful dinner the following evening. The cost for the meal was $80 a couple, tax and tip included. Considering that we all had drinks of some kind, and some had wine, plus we split two appetizers, I thought it was very reasonable.

Livia Bar & Grill
500 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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