Monday, June 8, 2015

A Marvelous Meal at Merlino's

Hello my Foodie Friends, 
Photo courtesy of Merlino's
With so many restaurants to choose from in Boca, especially Italian ones, what sets Merlino's apart? Merlino’s, under the direction of Executive Chef Angelo Morinelli, combines centuries-old recipes with contemporary South Philadelphia flare. They feature an impressive bar and lounge area where friends gather to partake in generous glasses of wine from their extensive wine list as well as top shelf and premium brands.

Shaina and I were invited to dine there by GM Donnie who was just getting settled there in his new role. Now I have been to Merlino's a few times before, you can check out my previous post by clicking here, but this was Shaina's first visit.

It's always nice to get a visit from a restaurant's chef and Chef Angelo, who I have come to know from the South Florida dining scene, put a big smile on our faces when he came out to greet us warmly. We discussed some of the menu selections before he suggested a wine that he thought we'd both enjoy. Boy was he spot on with his recommendation of Stellina Pinot Grigio. This wine paired perfectly with our starter of escarole and beans. This dish had the perfect balance of tartness and acidity and has become one of Shaina's and my favorites and something you can pretty much bet we will order if we see it on a menu. That and octopus!
Escarole and Beans. Photo credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out of Boca
 We decided to share a gnocchi dish for our next course and instead of going with the traditional red sauce, we opted to go with a vodka sauce. "No problem", said Chef Angelo. "As you wish". That's the can-do attitude that makes Merlino's stand out. That attitude starts at the top and seems to be instilled in all who work there. Our server Brian was very attentive to our needs and even remembered me from my previous two visits, even though I hadn't been there in a while. Everyone likes to feel remembered and welcomed back, so kudos to Brian for his exceptional hospitality and service as well.

Gnocchi in Vodka Sauce. Photo credit: Shaina Wizov, Take A Bite Out Of Boca

For our next course, we decided to go with the Branzino deboned tableside, served with a side of broccoli rabe. The fish was exquisite. It was cooked to perfection. Light and flaky and melted in our mouths like butter.

Although we normally end our dinner reviews with dessert, this was one of those rare occasions that we decided not to. We actually were headed to another event that evening where we were sure to imbibe in more cocktails so we didn't want to be too weighed down with anything like a heavy dessert. But, I have a pretty good feeling that Merlino's will be seeing much more of us in the future.

Merlino's has some cool things going on during the week that I thought you might like to know about:
Happy Hour Daily 4-7pm - Enjoy 50% off ALL appetizers and cocktails at the bar.
Wine Down Wednesdays - Enjoy  1/2 off ALL bottles of wine & champagne.
Thursdays Ladies Night - Ladies enjoy FREE* drinks from 9-11pm. *Select drinks include wine, champagne and house liquor.

Celebrating a birthday, anniversary or rehearsal dinner? Let Merlino's help you plan your next celebration. Their tastefully decorated private dining room can seat up to 30 people. Merlino's is open every day from 4pm - 2am. They are located at 39 SE 1st Ave. in Boca Raton.(561) 756-8437. For more info and to check out their menu, please visit their website.

Until we eat again...
   I send you delicious wishes, xo


Denise Righetti, C.F.O. (Chief Foodie Officer)
Savor Our City™
(954) 410-3177