Published On: Fri, Jan 11th, 2013


By: Mark Kent

Our South Florida area is graced with a selection of fine Italian restaurants- many superior and a few outstanding in their offerings. Pellegrino’s shines as a southern Italian star.

From a menu of eight cold and fourteen hot antipasto dishes – most enough for two diners – we selected Insalata di Mare – cold mixed seafood with shrimp, calamari, scungilli and lump crab meat…all tender and flavorful with their juices. The fried calamari in a spicy marinara sauce arrived…tender, tasty sea delights in a very spicy sauce, indeed. We sampled New York feast sausage – peppers and onions served with a link of either hot or sweet peppers. We tasted both and the sweet was soft to the palate, the hot was hot with an aftertaste…very nice! We were pleased to find chicken livers alla Velenzia here and was delighted with tender, perfectly sautéed livers with sweet onions, white wine and a touch of cream.

The Caesar salad’s romaine shards had a very, very mild house dressing with only a faint whisper of anchovies – ask for available anchovy strips to give it more definite taste. Six additional salads are also listed.

A dozen pasta selections made choosing difficult  but we settled on ordering rigatoni Bolognese-the house special ground meat in a marinated sauce was about the finest this reviewer has tasted. This is a must try…as is the Linguine alla Vongole, chopped clams and a splash of white wine (or red sauce) which we found outstanding. Pasta in both dishes were expertly prepared – Bravo!

Some nine veal dishes adorn the menu and we tried two. Veal piccate’s floured medallions with white wine and capers in a great lemon sauce was truly excellent as was the veal parmigiana with its breaded cutlet in a fine marinara sauce topped with fresh mozzarella. In addition to cutlets and medallions, there are two large veal chop selections.

Pork is represented by three sausages dishes and by two jumbo pork chop items, one broiled, the other sautéed with hot peppers and sweet peppers. We had pork chops alla Pellegrino – jumbo chops with hot vinegar cherry peppers and the sweet red bell pepper- a somewhat spicy dish with great flavor.

A couple of chicken dishes are presented. We found the Pollo alla Limone – a half broiled chicken on the bone cut to bite size pieces in a lemon garlic marinade to be a superb dish. Do try it or the chicken pieces sautéed in garlic and oil with both peppers and sausages.

We hope to taste the five jumbo shrimp dishes in the future as their preparation listings hold promise. There are two salmon dishes – either grilled or Francese style plus catch of the day prepared in any of four styles. These served with Italian style potato croquettes…very garlicky items. Side dishes available are broccoli, broccoli rabe, escarole, mushrooms as well as Pellegrino’s secret recipe meatballs or the Italian sausages, hot or sweet; sautéed, broiled or marinara style.

The standard menu is augmented by Chef’s daily specials. We sampled the pasta e fagioli, a traditional Italian soup then the bamzette, a stuffed breast of veal with its rice, ricotta, prosciutto, sausage and mushrooms…an old world family dish. Both excellent.

Bobby Pellegrino and Chef Luigi offer a Sunday special – Mama’s traditional meat in the gravy: macaroni with beef braciole, meatballs, sausage, country pork rib and more. Its made fo two diners. We will review this in the future!

Some ten or twelve desserts are available – Len, Robin and I opt to taste 2 of Denise Pellegrino’s specials– bread pudding and cheesecake. The pudding was finer than Grandma’s and the cheesecake had a light, right texture with wonderful taste.

Pellegrino’s Restaurant is located at 3360 N. Federal Hwy. in Boca Raton (561-368-5520) and is open six days – closed Mondays. Hours are 4PM to 10PM on Sunday, 5PM to 10PM from Tuesday through Saturday. Seating inside for 75 and on the patio for another 75. A full bar is available as well as a wine menu featuring 57 bottles from US and abroad and some 18 wines available by both bottle and glass.

This is an exceptional restaurant…we suggest you…Go and Enjoy!


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