By Peg San Felippo
City & Shore Magazine
Al fresco – outdoors, “in the open air” – has always been a special way to socialize. It’s also, happy coincidence, a great way to social distance.
Well known for improving any meal, al fresco is also one of the best ways to enjoy a cocktail – and here are some restaurants that know it.
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove, 305-640-5862, arietemiami.com.
A patio surrounded by lush foliage offers the feeling of dining in a private garden.
New American with Cuban influences, featuring wood-grilled oysters, foie gras, short ribs and venison – as well as a burger, pizzas and pastrami sandwich – are among the choices on an eclectic menu.
Casa De Los Trucos, with pineapple and jalapeño-infused tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime, cilantro and charred pineapple salt.
Walter Mercado, with Sipsmith gin, Bruno X mescal, yellow chartreuse, agave treacle and CBD-infused butterfly pea tea.
Wines by the glass and bottle are predominantly from California and France with a few Spanish and South American vintners. By-the-glass prices range from $11-$17 and $40-$250 for a bottle. A bottle-to-go menu features wines from Italy, South America and France ($20-$70). Try the Cliff Lede 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($11) and the Alidis 2015 Crianza Tempranillo ($12/$60).
The Pork y Harina ($18) with the Bodegas Chacra “Barda” 2018 Pinot Noir ($17/$85); and the Arroz Imperial with peekytoe crab ($27) with the Bouza do Rei 2019 Albariño ($14/$60).
2200 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 754-900-4059, dunefortlauderdale.com.
Part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, Dune’s outdoor seating offers palm-lined, unobstructed views of the beach and ocean.
Coastal contemporary with Latin inspiration, featuring raw-bar specialties, seafood dishes, chicken and beef choices. Dune recently added a three-course prix fixe menu that has some great options for $45.
Jack’s Margarita, with Codigo 1530 Rosa Blanco, Cointreau, blood orange, lime, juice and agave.
Mint to Be, with Kettle One vodka, muddled cucumber and mint, St. Germaine and lime juice.
Both the by-the-glass ($12-$28) and by-the-bottle ($42-$2,000) lists are mainly Californian. (The glass list includes a couple of other regions; the bottle list has an Old World and Southern Hemisphere section with a smattering of varietals). Try the Chalk Hill 2018 Chardonnay ($14-$56) and Sesti 2015 Rosso Di Montalcino ($89 btl).
The social hour Ahi Tuna Nachos with Craggy Range 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($15/$60); and the 16-oz. Prime Delmonico Ribeye ($51) with Chateau La Nerthe 2014 Boisrenard Chateauneauf Du Pape ($125).
LONA COCINA Y TEQUILERIA
321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-245-3069, lonarestaurant.com.
Located at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, Lona’s spacious beachside patio has sweeping views of the ocean.
Defined as bold and authentic Mexican fare, Lona not only makes a variety of tacos, the menu includes lobster quesadillas, pork carnitas and steak tampiquena.
Media Luna, with Hiatus Blanco, blackberries pineapple and lime.
Hibiscus Agua Fresca, with Deep Eddy vodka, hibiscus flower, mint and lime.
Mostly Californian with a few choices from Argentina, France and Italy. By-the-glass prices are $10-$16; by-the-bottle $40-$250. Try the Rodney Strong 2019 Rosé ($11/$42) and Louis Michel 2017 Chablis ($15/$58).
The lump-crab guacamole ($15) with the Lona margarita ($11); and salmon mole ($26) with Crossbarn 2017 Pinot Noir ($68 btl).
625 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, 561-547-2500, paradisolakeworth.com.
Hand-painted murals give the interior spaces an Old-World ambience. French doors open to outside seating that will remind you of a European café.
Traditional Italian with modern inspiration. All the pasta is handcrafted, and dishes include such tantalizing ingredients as zucchini blossoms, salmon tartare with granny smith apples and ceviche.
Boulevardier, with Bourbon, Sweet vermouth, Campari, blood orange juice and an orange peel.
Sbagliato, with Campari, vermouth rosso and prosecco.
An extensive selection showcases some 18 different Italian regions, French, American and other New World choices. Wines by the glass are $11-$28 and by the bottle $36-$6,000. Try Montevetrano 2014 Core Bianco ($75btl) and the Tasca d’Almerita 2012 Nero d’Avalo ($162btl).
Grilled octopus and shaved artichokes ($23) with Villa Solis 2018 Vermentino ($13/$48); and the bone-in veal chop ($56) with Petra 2017 Zingari ($17/$72).
169 NE Second Ave., Delray Beach, 561-271-9423, rosesdaughter.com.
A combination of old and new – featuring white subway tile, New York brick, and reclaimed wood – give Rose’s Daughter a comfortable neighborhood vibe. The covered front patio is accented with trees and plants while the larger back terrace has wooden planters and rustic highlights.
While the center of attention at this American-Italian restaurant is their made-from-scratch pizzas, Rose’s Daughter has a diverse menu that includes spinach dumplings, roasted cauliflower, seared rib-eye and shrimp fra diavolo. Gluten-free options include the pizza crust and a fabulous tiramisu. Vegan choices also are available.
Negroni Bianco Apricot, with Luxardo apricot liqueur, Malfy gin and Cotratto Bianco.
Spicy Passion Margarita, with Corazon tequila, Chinola passion-fruit liqueur, Serrano simple syrup, lime juice and smoked sea salt on the rim.
The list has a nice assortment of wines from a variety of Italian regions and some from California. By-the-glass wines are $8-$15; by-the-bottle are $37-$240. Try the La Lecciaia 2014 Lupaia Super Tuscan ($8) and the Carnasciale 2016 Caberlot ($180btl).
The charcuterie ($18) with La Miraja 2018 Ruche ($14/$56); and the mushroom strozzapreti ($20) with Renato Keber Grici 2013 chardonnay ($88 btl).
All the restaurants offer take out and follow Florida’s mask and COVID-19 safety measures.
Peg San Felippo is a certified sommelier who has served as a judge in the annual American Fine Wine Competition, South Florida’s homegrown wine event; and THE Rosé Competition.
MAIN PHOTO: Ariete, courtesy of Ariete.