Olive Garden move out of the way because Casa D’Angelo is about to blow your tastebuds right out of the Intracoastal with a truly authenitc Italian dining experience. Yes, it’s an expensive evening, but it is worth every penny. It’s also worth every minute you will have to wait for your table. Reservations are highly recommended, although even with a reservation you will likely find yourself waiting with a glass of wine or two on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Casa D’Angelo is located in a rather unassuming strip mall on Federal Highway. However, the ambiance inside the restaurant is cozy and romantic. They have managed to create an equally romantic outdoor dining experience as well. A blooming garden of hedges and strategically placed orchids separates the dining area from the parking lot. There is a small waiting area with seats outside, but it’s more likely that you’ll be cozying up to the small bar with a glass of wine or a cocktail as you dodge servers sauntering in and out of the kitchen with plates that look and smell so appetizing that your tastebuds will stand at attention.
The menu is extensive, with antipastis, salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts. Every evening they have chef prepared specials that are equally as appetizing. Be ready to pay attention as the server rattles off the specials, because there are more than just a few. If you wish to enjoy a glass or two of wine with your meal, their wine list offers page upon page of wines sorted by region and offered by the glass or the bottle. If you’re looking to keep the bill at a reasonable price, they offer glasses of their house wines for $10.00 a glass.
For starters, we selected the Baby Italian eggplant filled with San Daniele prosciutto Di Parma and bufala mozzarella with fresh tomato puree and basil- similar to a classic “Eggplant Parmesan”. The presentation of the dish was nothing fancy, but nothing fancy was needed because the aroma of the eggplant dish was so delightfuly intoxicating that it spoke for itself. The way the bufala mozzarella complimented the sharp saltiness of the prosciutto was only enhanced by the sweetness of the fresh tomato puree. Together, each flavor created a perfect harmony of Italian comfort. The freshness of the ingredients was undeniable.
Pasta was on the agenda for the main course. Unable to choose between the penne with prosciutto and basil in a spicy tomato sauce or the homemade fettuccini with roasted veal in a ragu sauce, the server selected for me and left it a surprise. If it were any other restaurant, this may not go over so well. However, our server was so undeniably personable and equally as knowledgable about the menu that I was sure he would select the correct dish. My husband chose the gnocchi special of the evening- Gnocchi Osso Bucco.
My anticipation was brimming over when the server presented the fetuccini. The ragu sauce was made of ground veal which insured each bite to be equally full of veal and fetucini. The fetuccini tasted homemade, and there was not a bite left at the end. The gnocchi was spot on. The consistency was perfectly fluffy, each bite tasting like a small potato cloud- as a good gnocchi should taste.
After our server cleared the plates, he did not immediately present the bill. Instead, he let us savor the last few sips of our wine. This took me right back to Italy, where dining is an experience that is never rushed, and each meal is an experience to be savored from beginning to end.
Casa D’Angelo is open daily for dinner from 5:30 pm.