| Restaurant Reviews

Olympia Flame Diner: The flame burns strong

Posted on 12 January 2011 by LeslieM

By Lisa Cohen

For over 16 years, the Olympia Flame Diner has been serving its customers the friendliest homemade food in the area. The Katsenos family acquired the diner, which was previously a breakfast restaurant, in 1991 and they have only built upon their strong local base of customers over the years. “It’s a family place with good service, good food and good employees,” said George Katsenos, whose father originally bought the diner. And, by the number of regulars that come to eat here, they are doing it all right.
Although the menu is extensive and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, the best seller is the Greek salad, served either with or without chicken ($8.95 with chicken, or $3.95 without). Also the Gyro Platter ($9.95) is a favorite, and comes with many sides to choose from. Prices at this local spot are very reasonable, and a children’s menu is available for simple breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Originally from Toronto, the Katsenos family moved to Florida in 1986 and has been in the community since. Previous experience in the restaurant industry led the family to buy the building to create the Olympia. Customers can have a good breakfast for under $5, and a home cooked dinner for under $10. There are not many places that offer such a selection at these prices. “We have been here 16 years, and that speaks for itself,” said Katsenos.
Most of the employees at the diner have worked there for over six years, and three employees have worked at this same restaurant location for over 25 years. “It’s almost like you’re eating at home, and the employees know most of our customers by name,” said Katsenos. Customers are a mix of young and old, families and those daily regulars. Even the snowbirds visit consistently when they return to South Florida.
In addition to a comfortable, home-like diner atmosphere, the restaurant also offers take-out and every dish is homemade. “Our soups are made fresh and customers always get a home-cooked meal at affordable prices,” said Katsenos. Not much has changed at Olympia in the last 16 years. Much of the menu and recipes have remained consistent. Yes, off-the-menu specials are always offered, but consistency is this restaurant’s specialty. “We have so many regular customers and they like to see continuity,” said Katsenos. If it works, then why change it? The customers at this restaurant would have to agree.
Greek specialties galore, such as Spinach Pie ($5.95) and Dolmades ($9.95) fill the menu, but also seafood dishes (from $9.95), deli-style sandwiches (from $3.95), and burgers (from $3.50). There is something for everyone on this menu, and it definitely is affordable. They also offer beer and wine selections and homemade desserts to finish off the meal. The Baklava ($2.95) is a long-time favorite.
The Olympia Flame Diner is located at 80 South Federal Highway, just south of Hillsboro. They can be reached at 954-480-8402.

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Antonio’s Ristoranté: Experience a tour of Italy at Antonio’s Ristoranté

Posted on 12 January 2011 by LeslieM

By Becki Coffy

If you are looking for authentic, wonderful Italian food, then look no further than Antonio’s Ristoranté in The Cove Shopping Center.  Owners Alex Poulous and Paul Ferorelli have created a little piece of Italy right here in Deerfield Beach.  As soon as my husband and I walked through the door we were greeted with the tantalizing scents of tomato, basil, garlic and fresh bread.  White tablecloths and soft colors invite you to sit and relax.  Fried calamari, mussels and calamari Antonio, scungilli salad, mozzarella sticks and homemade soups are available to start your meal.  We chose to skip the appetizers and head straight for the entree.  Before we ordered we were served a big basket of fresh garlic rolls.  The rolls can be ordered with or without garlic, but when in Rome… The rolls were soft, warm, tender and covered with fresh garlic and olive oil.

For his entrée our waitress, Alli, suggested my husband try the chicken Dijon. This chicken dish is sauteed with mushrooms and artichoke hearts and served in a white wine and Dijon mustard sauce with cream.  His meal included either soup or salad and a side of pasta with red sauce.  He chose to start with the pasta fagiloi soup that was thick with beans, pasta and a hearty broth. There are many other chicken dishes  to choose from including chicken marsala, fancese, parmagiana, and cacciatore to mention a few.   I began my meal with the garden salad.  Creamy garlic, an Italian vinegarette and creamy romano dressings are available. I tried the creamy romano and it was delicious.  Since Antonio’s is well known for its fresh fish, I decided to try one of the daily specials and ordered the snapper francese.  The fish was tender, moist and lightly breaded and cooked in a fresh lemon, broth and cream sauce.  To go with my snapper I chose the broccoli sauteed with toasted fresh garlic and olive oil and could not have been happier.  The garlic was crisp and complemented the vegetable perfectly.  My partner selected the pasta with red sauce as his side.  The homemade sauce was thick and rich and full of spices and tomatoes.  It was a wonderful deliciate sauce for his pasta.

Antonio’s menu offers veal choices such as veal milanese, marsala, francese and parmagiana.  Pasta dishes include pasta with garlic and oil, meatballs or sausage, marinara sauce, fettuccine alfredo, penne alla vodka, angel hair carbonara and more.  Shrimp scampi, fra daivolo and armando (shrimp sauteed with scallions, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, artichoke hearts in a rose sauce) and linguini with white or red clam sauce are just a few of the seafood dishes available.  Of course the traditional lasagna, ravioli and ziti are always a popular selection.

For a more casual dinner you may order a calzone or stromboli or try one of their homemade or specialty pizzas.  There are daily specials that should not be missed.  The night we dined at Antonio’s we could choose from snapper, tilapia and salmon.   All fish may be ordered francese or broiled.  Owner Paul Ferorelli, feels the secret to their wonderful cuisine is the consistency.  If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try their cheesecake or any of their traditional Italian desserts such as canolli, tiarimisu and spamoni ice cream. Be sure to give this restaurant a try the first chance you get.  You will not be disappointed.  Antonio’s has been part of the Deerfield Beach community for the past 40 years. Formerly open for business in the Publix shopping plaza on Federal Hwy., Antonio’s is located at 1636 SE 3 Ct. in The Cove Shopping Center.

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Patio Bar and Grill: Great food, great atmosphere and what a view!

Posted on 12 January 2011 by LeslieM

Fabulous food, wonderful prices and a picture-perfect view!   If this is your idea of a wonderful evening out, then make the Patio Bar and Grill on the beach in Deerfield your next stop. You will not be disappointed. The outside portion of the restaurant is open and very relaxed, while the inside is beautifully done in browns and copper tones and feels just a little more upscale casual. Inside or out, the view of the ocean is magnificent and the breeze only adds to the romance of the setting.

Manager Julian Felder accompanied us to our table and gave us some background on the restaurant. Completely remodeled and reopened in Dec.  2007, the restaurant  offers something for everyone.  Entertainment is offered nightly and begins at 1 p.m. on weekends.  The music ranges from reggae and island to top 40. They also offer a Frank Sinatra-style crooner, an acoustic guitar performer and even karaoke on Sunday nights.  Relax and listen, sing along or get up and perform.  There is something for everyone to enjoy.

The menu offers over 52 choices (excluding dessert) and 40 of these are under $10. Chef “Pat” Pasquale Lena is incredible.  He worked closely with Chef Ernie Porco to establish the extensive menu and produce many of the delicious offerings.  However, Chef Pat has continued to use his unique talent to create some signature dishes just for the Patio Bar and Grill.

Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino are two of the nine choices on the raw bar portion of the menu. Louisiana Shrimp Cakes were suggested as our starting appetizer. These cakes are Chef Pat’s answer to the crab cake.  They were beautifully plated and served with a remoulade sauce that offered just a touch of heat at the finish.  The Shrimp Cakes were pan seared to a crispy finish and bursting with shrimp and flavor. Next, we sampled the shrimp and crab flatbread.  Tortilla bread covered with shrimp, crab, scallions and parmesan cheese was grilled and served warm — the combination of texture and flavor was fantastic.  Finally, we ordered the steak chimi-churra crostini — flank steak on a toasted baguette drizzled with chimichurra sauce. The steak was juicy and tender, the bread crisp and the chimichurra sauce added just the right touch to make this my personal favorite of the three appetizers.  Also available on the appetizer menu are fish and chips, chicken tenders, Black Angus sliders and even gator bites for the more adventurous. Chef Pat has created more than 26 original sauces and four house dressings for the restaurant. We chose a Caesar salad made with his homemade, white balsamic Caesar dressing that was rich and creamy and a wonderful compliment to the greens.

My husband selected the gorgonzola-crusted steak–a grilled New York strip steak baked with gorgonzola and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  The steak was tender and juicy and cooked to perfection. It was served with garlic roasted red potatoes and delicious caramelized red onions. I ordered the Hawaiian Grouper and can’t wait to return and have it again. The grouper was pan-seared and caramelized with a sweet garlic chili glaze (just a hint of heat) and accompanied by a side of spinach-and-leek mashed potatoes.  The subtle flavor mix of the spinach and leek potatoes with the mild heat of the grouper was perfect.  Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, Chef Pat encouraged us to try the chocolate ganache cake.  This rich, moist cake was filled with layers of cake and chocolate mousse and topped with chocolate ganache.  It was incredibly sinful. However, we managed to finish it. You just couldn’t stop eating it.  Cheesecake, Key West tart and Bananas Foster round out the dessert selections. The Patio Bar and Grill offers a large selection of red and white wines, and champagne and sparkling wines. Appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, main entrees and desserts are all available on this diverse menu.  Wino Wednesdays offers a red and a white wine paired with two different entrees chosen by Chef Pat.

Assistant manager, Paul Risi, joined us for part of our dinner and then gave us a tour of the outdoor patio bar. At least half of the staff has been with the patio grill for over 15 years and it showed in the wonderful service and attentive manner in which we were treated.  Whether it’s a special occasion or just an evening out with friends, this is one local spot that is not to be missed. The Patio Bar and Grill is located across from the fishing pier on Ocean Drive in Deerfield Beach. 954-428-2850. Until we eat again…

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American Rock Bar & Grill

Posted on 04 January 2011 by LeslieM

Try the Food! That’s the one thing American Rock Bar & Grill owner, Gustav Pavone, wants everyone to know.  It’s more than a great neighborhood bar, it’s a great restaurant.  Our lovely waitress, Kara, helped us navigate the extensive menu.  All the dishes are cleverly named after classic rock groups and singers. It was difficult for us to narrow our choices since so many of the items sounded very enticing.  We started with “The Wailers,” the chicken wings served with blue cheese, celery and carrots. The hot, medium or mild signature sauce is served on the side so you may add as much or little as you like.  You may order them wet if you prefer but these meaty wings stay extra crispy until you dip them into a sauce that keeps you going back for more.

Spinach dip made with artichoke hearts and three cheeses; nachos loaded with jalapenos, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream;  calamari and even homemade potato chips served with white wine vinegar and Cajun spices are just a few of the appetizer choices.

American Rock Bar & Grill also offers margarita and garden pizza, soups and a large variety of salads.

“The Madonna,” a caprese salad, made with beefsteak tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil and sea salt is one of my favorites. The Hawaiian salad, featuring pineapple, chicken, mango, macadamia nuts, onion, carrots and snap peas in an oriental ginger dressing, is not to be missed. For someone who enjoys a heartier salad, the fried chicken or steak salad is a must.

Plenty of sandwiches are offered, ranging from the “Black Flag” angus burger and “The Doors” grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and cheddar to “The Smiths” club sandwich or the “Billy Idol” Italian.   However, the most popular item on the sandwich menu is the owner’s creation, the Rock’s rib eye —a grilled rib eye steak served with fresh tomatoes on a toasted baguette with fresh mozzarella.

The restaurant offers an early dinner combination that allows you to choose one item from a select group of entrees including mahi-mahi, New York strip, shrimp, meatloaf, etc. and then choose  a second dinner for only $.99 from another select  group of entrees including: spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, risotto and chicken parmesan to name a few. This value also includes warm crusty bread and a choice of soup or salad.

My husband decided on the New York strip steak served with baked potato and vegetables grilled to perfection. I selected meatloaf — easily enough to feed two hungry people. It had finely minced onions and peppers that added to the rich flavor and was served with mushroom gravy, whipped potatoes and topped with crispy fried onion rings — absolutely delicious.

Chef Tony Anelo creates two homemade soups every day. I chose the fresh tomato basil, which was rich and creamy and served with shaved cheese and toasted croutons on the top. My husband selected  homemade beef stew. This thick, hearty stew had been simmering all day bringing out the delicious mix of carrots, onions and potatoes, making the beef “fall off the fork” tender. Believe me, it is worth the trip for the soups alone!

Several pasta entrees, such as penne alla vodka, baked ziti and ravioli, are available along with steaks, ribs, chicken and fish. For the vegetarian, risotto cooked with fava beans, onions and vegetable broth; pizza, salads and eggplant parmesan are there for the asking.

And don’t forget the desserts. Hot lava cake, ice cream with candied pecans, and chocolate mousse. The restaurant’s signature dessert is the caramel crepe. This decadent thin crepe is rolled with a creamy caramel sauce inside, dusted with powdered sugar and served warm with vanilla ice cream, which I highly recommend as the perfect way to end your meal.

American Rock Bar & Grill offers a “happy hour that never ends” with 3 for 1 drinks every day from 4 to 8 p.m. and 2 for 1 drinks every evening after 8 p.m. There is a DJ each Friday night and a different local band every Saturday night. Sunday nights are Brazilian nights with dancing and music for everyone. Ladies drink free from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Friday night. The bar and restaurant is available for special events such as birthday parties and banquets. They are also available for fundraising events and have hosted several for the American Cancer Society and for the ‘Grind for Life’ charity, which helps children with cancer.

The restaurant and bar opens at 4 p.m. daily, but will open earlier on Saturdays and Sundays during football season. American Rock Bar & Grill is located at 1600 E. Hillsboro Blvd. in Deerfield Beach in The Cove shopping center. Contact: 954-428-4539., www.AmericanRockBar.com. Until we eat again…

By Becki Coffy

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