Quaint, cozy and unassuming is exactly how one would describe Lucca Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale; it is definitely a place where the locals go. This Italian trattoria is one of those hidden gems that someone must tell you about in order to find it and ironically its location couldn’t be more obvious located just a few blocks north of Oakland Park Boulevard on A1A.
Lucca is an intimate 50 seat restaurant where the chef/owner, David Cianciullo is truly defining osteria in Fort Lauderdale. The Italian word osteria means a place where the owner “hosts” people and Cianciullo does just that; greeting and welcoming his guests in a warm, inviting and embracing way that completely sets the tone for your dining experience at Lucca, which is named after the city in Tuscany. Lucca is one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets. Is it ironic that Cianciullo would name his restaurant after this charming town?
Lucca is a chef driven restaurant, simply put, “it’s all about the food.” Lucca has a standard menu for guests as one would expect but the highlight of dining at Lucca is the ever changing daily special board that boasts the very essence of being a Chef; inspiration as it translates into a chef’s menu. Every day the chef’s menu at Lucca offers a variety of handmade pastas, fresh fish entrées and rustic Italian meat dishes that spotlight the talent and creativity of Cianciullo and his kitchen staff. The chef’s board at Lucca is what has defined this gem of a restaurant which has garnered many loyal, local guests. Following suit to the main entrées is the dessert menu which also changes daily with homemade panna cotta, tiramisu and of course there is always something decadently chocolate.
Complimenting the menu and the daily chef’s offerings is the wine list which is predominantly boutique Italian wines with a splash of California for those who favor lighter more fruit forward wines. There is a charming eight seat wine bar set within the dining room for guests who are either dining alone or choose to dine more casually at the bar. I had dinner at the bar; a bowl of fresh homemade mushroom soup that you could actually smell the fresh mushrooms wafting from the bowl, the soup was served with homemade fresh herbed foccacia bread that David bakes daily on premise and for dinner I ordered my all time favorite, handmade Sacchetti (little purses) stuffed with cheese in a lemon butter sage sauce. I skipped the Italian wine and ordered a glass of Silver Palm California Cabernet Sauvignon to go with my little dinner. Everything about it was delicious, how could it not be, everything is made fresh daily by hand. This little Lucca is a gem in my book. Lucca is closed on Monday’s not for a day of rest but for hosting wine dinners and private parties. Lucca is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, reservations are recommended and the restaurant is available daily for private luncheons.
The city of Lucca in Tuscany is reserved, calm and peaceful. The pace of life in Lucca fluctuates between slow and slower. The quality of life in Lucca is to enjoy and experience all that life has to offer. Is it ironic that Cianciullo would name his restaurant after this charming town? I think not; as he has captured the flavors of Tuscany and is serving it tableside right here in Fort Lauderdale. Click here to view photos of the food.