By Rachel Galvin
Walk toward Deerfield’s ocean breezes, head down near the pier and into Cafe Med, a ristorante that is both elegant and welcoming.
“We are an extension of your dining room,” said General Manager Diego Oppo, whose goal is to make the atmosphere classy but not stuffy.
The staff, from the managers to the waiter, is very hands-on and goes out of their way to make you feel at home.
“Giving good service doesn’t cost any more,” added Diego, who makes sure the staff is well-trained. “The only thing we don’t change is the personality of the server.”
Personality abounds here as everyone is like one big family, most hailing from Italy to add an air of authenticity.
The restaurant, which was revamped in 2012, has a new chef, Lillo Teodosi, who was at Boca Raton’s Caruso Ristorante before this and worked in Chicago for 30 years before that. Teodosi is originally from Rome, Italy. He also lived in England for five years working on a cruise ship so he has learned international flavors.
“When you hear these guys saying ‘I learned how to cook from my mama, don’t believe it. My mama kicked me out of the kitchen. Boys weren’t allowed. But I worked in restaurants since I was 9 years old. My mom wanted me out of the house,” he said.
What he brings to Cafe Med is not only authentic flavors but simple, light recipes. He loves seafood and has a wide array of steaks available. The meal begins with crispy bread and a choice of three sauces – an olive tapenade, a red bell pepper sauce and a chimichurri sauce. Then, have one of their appetizers, everything from fried calamari to grilled octopus. As for entrees, one of their most popular items is their hog snapper. Lighter than a mahi mahi, it comes with mashed potatoes, asparagus and lemon caper berries. The hog snapper is so popular that a restriction has been placed on fishing for them, making them even rarer. Here you can find fresh seafood salad or figs and prosciutto with goat cheese – both light entries perfect for a hot day. For something more filling, try the Farrotto al Tartufo, farro made risotto style with black truffles, Porcini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and Parmigiano. It is rich, wonderful and satisfying. Farro is an ancient grain, similar to barley, and is packed with protein.
“All of his dishes leave you not feeling super full. His fettuccine Alfredo is so light with more cheese and less cream,” said Oppo, who said many of the chef’s dishes take him back to his own childhood.
Pair whatever selection you choose with one of their many varietals of wine, like their light but dry Savu rosé, or get a mixed drink whipped up by the mixologist using fresh herbs. Make sure to end the evening with one of the chef’s homemade desserts, including a melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu, as well as crème brulee, key lime cake, ricotta cheesecake and more.
They also have breakfast available from 7 to 11 a.m. (12 p.m. on weekends). They have everything from omelettes and Eggs Benedict to waffles, pancakes, French toast, Monte Cristo, smoked salmon on a bagel and more. One of their most popular is the lobster omelette or lobster wrap. When breakfast is through, they close for four hours and re-open for dinner.
Listen to live music every night and sit inside or outside on the patio. They also host private events like rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, corporate dinners and more.
Café Med is located at 2096 NE 2 St. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-596-5840 or visit www.CafeMedDeerfield.com.