Saturday, February 1, 2014

No pizza but it's FAST Italian food??? ... it's italio!

Modern Italian Kitchen
2151 N. Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale 33305
Lunch, dinner. Catering available

By Jane Feehan 

It’s fast Italian food they say. The words fast and Italian are seldom found in the same sentence unless pizza is involved so I entered recent newcomer to Fort Lauderdale’s fast food scene, italio, a skeptic.

I left the place sold on its concept.

OK, so one won’t find Nana’s Sunday gravy here or classics such as lasagna, ravioli or gnocchi, but if you’re in the mood for something tasty, Italian, inexpensive and totally casual, it’s here. They also serve wine and beer.

There's spaghetti—whole wheat or white flour—with a choice of seven hot (alfredo, pomodoro, spicy prima rosa) or cold sauces (fresh basil, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, arrabbiata). Spicy prima rosa was flavorful and light on the oil.  italio also offers toppings that morph the pasta bowls into complete entrĂ©es with a choice of vegetables, meatballs, sausage, steak, shrimp or chicken.

They’ll put together a salad with a variety of veggies and toss it on the spot with a dressing. Very fresh.  Italio
One of the dining areas;
another sits out of sight of counter
also makes an Italian wrap (piadina) with the same mix and match of toppings they serve with the pasta. Dessert is limited to cannoli chips but it’s enough.

Fill out the meal with a breadstick, soup or calamari and it’s starting to taste like an Italian Sunday meal at someone’s house, if not Nana’s.

The same menu is available lunch and dinner; italio is doing a brisk business during both meal times. A children's menu offers the same choices but at reduced prices. With a dining room set apart from the serving counter, italio may not feel like a fast food joint. 

Currently, there are three italio restaurants in Florida—Winter Park, Fort Lauderdale, Boca—and one in Orland Park, IL; others are planned for Coconut Creek,  Orlando, and Tampa. The Fort Lauderdale store sits across Federal Highway from Whole Foods Market with easy parking in the rear and an outdoor patio in front. 

Thumbs up for italio. Buon appetito! 

Tags: Fast Italian food in Fort Lauderdale, fast Italian food in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale restaurants, party catering

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