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Cafe Martorano: South Florida's Tastiest Italian Kitchen

Wed, November 30, 2011 1:16pm EDT by Add first Comment
Cafe Martorano

Steve Martorano shares his ‘gravy’ secrets with exclusively. Plus, find out why I rank his restaurant one of the best Italian eateries in South Florida.

Forget your mama’s meatballs. They don’t even come close to the ones that you get at Cafe Martorano in sunny South Florida. On Nov. 25, I visited the original Martorano’s location in Ft. Lauderale, Fla. and was more than pleasantly surprised when the “Yo Cuz” chef himself Steve Martorano personally whipped up one of the finest Italian meals I’ve ever had. Not only did Steve showcase a 10-course meal, but he also sat down with me to chat about everything Cafe Martorano.

We first discussed how he gets his tomato sauce tasting so perfect. “We call it gravy,” Steve first corrected. “Olive oil, garlic, ground the meat, I use a whole union. Season the meat really well. A good Italian tomato. I don’t use tomato paste, no wine, no sugar.”

Steve learned to cook from his mother and grandmother. “I didn’t go to culinary school,” he admitted. “I started in an apartment where the cops were coming to shut me down. No address, just a phone. I’ve always said that Italian cooking has nothing to do with technique.”

My favorite treat of the night definitely was Steve’s infamous meatball and salad. He does it like no other. In fact, people have tried to copy him across the country — but there is no way they will ever be able to nail down Steve’s original flavor.

Besides the incredible food, Martorano’s offers an exciting atmosphere. It’s not only a restaurant, but a lounge/nightclub. A DJ plays until about 1:00 am at the original location on Oakland Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale and even later at the Hard Rock location. At the original, you can order food until midnight.

Steve opened the doors to his first location 18 years ago and since has developed a renowned reputation that keeps his patrons coming back for more. The original location doesn’t take reservations, so if you want to be guaranteed a table, arrive early. They start taking orders promptly at 6 p.m.

You definitely won’t be disappointed by the service. As soon as you have a chance to glance over the menu, your waiter sits down with you and brings out an iPad. On the iPad, the waiter will go through the specials of the night and show you pics each unique meal.

With two locations in Ft. Lauderdale, and one in Vegas, also be sure to keep a look out for newest Martorano’s set to open in South Beach.

Steve personally recommends that you try his favorite dish, the liguine and clams. I also suggest you bite into his home-made mozarella and sip on the Martorano wine.

Being Italian and growing up in South Florida, I rank Martorano’s as the number one eating experience in the area. Eat, eat, eat, as we Italians say — and enjoy!

– Lindsey DiMattina