Thursday, October 27, 2011

Raffaele Ristorante - the wait is finally over

Hello Fellow Foodies,

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for Raffaele's to open, I've got good news: the long awaited, much anticipated opening of Raffaele Ristorante in Royal Palm Place has finally arrived! Chef/Owner Raffaele Esposito took his time to see his vision through as he totally transformed the space that had previously been occupied as Argentango into something uniquely his own. This new space is open and airy and is decorated in soothing, neutral tones of beige and brown with italian tile floors and dangling mother of pearl pendant lighting. The large windows and sliding glass door provide an excellent view of the lighted monument tower at night, and a nice selection of music could be heard throughout the restaurant which added to the overall ambience.

Raffaele, a successful restauranteur in NYC for 20+ years, decided to move to South Florida and bring his culinary expertise with him. His signature dishes are representative of Naples and Southern Italy and his wine list, primarily comprised of CA and Italian wines, is quite extensive.

I had the pleasure of dining at Raffaele's last night and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the evening. As we entered the restaurant, we approached the hostess stand and were warmly greeted and escorted to a nice private table. Shortly after being seated, our server, Jean, came over to introduce himself, presented us with a wine list and offered to tell us about their appetizer and dinner specials to aid us in deciding what wines we might be interested in selecting. We appreciated that gesture and thought that was a very nice touch. I started out with a lovely glass of Lyeth Pinot Noir, CA ($12) and my husband chose the Capone Super Tuscan Reserve ($14). Both were wonderful choices. A basket of assorted freshly baked breads were delivered to our table that had been made in house in their wood-fired oven. We informed Jean that we were interested in trying a number of items and taking the initiative, like a true professional, he had each item brought to our table already split in the back. Impressive. First up was the Capesante Con Shiitake ($13)- grilled scallops with leeks, shiitake mushrooms and fresh herbs. The scallops were tender and the white wine reduction was light and flavorful. The shiitake mushrooms were the star of this dish in my opinion. Next up was the Lenticchie Con Riso ($10)- Lentil Soup with Italian rice. The lentils were cooked perfectly and this soup was packed with flavor. Next we had the Risotto Con Porcini Ricotta ($20)- Italian rice with porcini mushroom, ricotta and parmesan. The risotto was hearty and I especially enjoyed the combination of porcini mushrooms, the ricotta, parmesan and the fresh basil that topped the dish.

We selected the Steak Pizzaiola ($30) for our main entree, one of the specials that Jean had informed us about. The steak was cooked in their wood-fired oven, sliced and delicately placed atop a freshly prepared tomato sauce and accompanied by a spinach and cheese encrusted fritter (for lack of a better word) which was very unique and very tasty. Lastly, we somehow managed to save room to try two of Raffaele's wonderful desserts: Tiramisu ($8) - Homemade with ladyfingers, coffee, Kahlua and mascarpone cheese (simply, TDF: to die for!) and Torta di Ricotta ($8) - Homemade Italian cheesecake with a delicate orange sauce. We were pleasantly surprised when Raffaele himself came out at the end of our meal and brought with him some of his very own homemade arancello. He makes both limoncello and arancell (the orange one). Watch out folks, this stuff is uber strong and will knock your socks off if you're not paying attention! Great flavor and a wonderful way to end an exquisite meal.

Raffaele Ristorante is located at 508 Via de Palmas in Royal Palm Place. 561-392-1110. Their website is still a work in progress, but does have their menu listed: They are open for lunch M-F 11am - 3pm and dinner every night from 5 - 10pm and until 11pm on Fri & Sat nights.

Until we eat again...

I send you delicious wishes, xo


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blues FortyOne- The Place to be for Great Food & Live Music

Hello Fellow Foodies,

My latest BocaFoodFind is the new Blues/Jazz Restaurant in Downtown Boca called Blues FortyOne (41 E. Palmetto Park Rd.) I ventured out there the other night with a friend to check the place out. We were warmly greeted and asked if we'd like to be seated at a table or if we preferred to have a seat at the bar. We decided upon the latter. To get the evening started, I selected the Diseno Old Vine Malbec, ($7) and my friend had the Blufeld Riesling, ($7) both very tasty.

We then glanced at the menu and soon discovered that it was quite eclectic. It had everything on it from Steak, Veal, Lamb, Pork and Fish to Sushi, Soups & Salads. It was explained to us that the thought behind the menu was that they wanted to be able to have something on the menu that would appeal to everyone in the party who came there. Well, I believe they hit their mark with these offerings. As we were trying to decide what sushi to start off with, Sushi Chef Chi came over to us and asked us to tell him what we liked. We both agreed that we liked eel and also a crunch factor, so he suggested we try the Crunchy Eel Roll, ($11), which was actually an adaptation of the Crunchy Tuna Roll. Besides the eel, which was definitely the star ingredient of this roll, it also had scallion and avocado and was fried perfectly. It was excellent, and quite a work of art to boot!

Next up was the 14 oz Prime NY Strip Steak, ($39), with grilled Zucchini & Sweet Potato Croquettes. The steak was seasoned and cooked to perfection and the croquette had a nice crispy coating and a soft flavorful center. Not pictured, but definitely a highlight of this dish were the crispy shallots that were placed on top of the steak. They were amazing! We decided to share the Eggplant-Portobello Tower ($22), which consisted of lightly breaded/fried eggplant and grilled portobello mushrooms drizzled with a balsamic glaze, roasted tomatoes and grilled zucchini topped with a little dollop of fresh hummus. Delicious!

To end this very satisfying meal, we were brought out a beautiful Panna Cotta, ($7) -Italian Vanilla Custard with a trio of berries (Raspberry, Blackberry and Blueberry) with Grand Marnier and brown sugar. Simply divine!

While we dined, a pianist played ambient jazz music, which we were told is typical during the dinner hours and that they kick it up a notch with premium Blues bands later in the evening. For a complete line up, you can check their music schedule online at

Blues FortyOne is located at 41 E. Palmetto Park Rd, Boca Raton 561-672-1515.

They are open Tues - Thurs 5 - 11pm; Fri & Sat 5pm - 2am and Sun 5pm - 9pm.

Become a Fan of theirs on Facebook:

Until we eat again...

I send you Delicious Wishes, xo