Category Archives: Wellington Table – Signature Dish

Enjoy Food That Tastes Great And Is Good For You At Giovanni’s Healthy Café

Enjoy Food That Tastes Great And Is Good For You At Giovanni’s Healthy Café

Lori and John Giattino came to South Florida to make their dreams come true, and this summer, they will invite the community to enjoy the food they love when Giovanni’s Healthy Café opens on State Road 7.

Located near the Publix store on the west side of SR 7, just south of Southern Blvd., the Giattinos are completely renovating the space and expect to open this month. Their goal is to have people walk through the door and feel like they have entered the outdoor patio of an Italian café.

“Our food is served healthy, with no extra oils. It’s a healthier cuisine by its nature because everything is fresh,” John said. “Most of our dishes really focus on vegetables and what is good for you.”

The Giattinos will get their produce fresh daily and their meats fresh every other day, kept fresh in the walk-in refrigerator. They have found local vendors to partner with for their daily fresh items and are focusing on alternative ingredients for the foods that they make.

One dish that patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy with a cup of coffee is their signature quiche created by head chef and longtime friend Steve Mlinarz.

The quiche is made with two types of cheese — gruyere and cheddar — and also includes diced ham and asparagus.

“We will be making these fresh,” John said. “This does not have a regular quiche crust; it has an almond flour crust.”

Lori noted that it is “not as high in carbs, as you find in white flour or processed flours.”

In particular, the dish is great for people with diabetes.

“I’m a diabetic, so white flour is not good for me. It spikes my blood sugar,” John explained. “However, the almond flour, coconut flours, they don’t do that to me. So, I lean more toward a low carbohydrate diet.”

The husband-and-wife team are always looking for ways to satisfy palates in a healthier way.

“If you’re going to eat, one, it should taste really good; and two, it should be good for you,” John said. “It shouldn’t add to your weight or your cholesterol. It should just make you feel better.”

Lori has always had a passion to own her own restaurant, and Giovanni’s Healthy Café is a dream come true.

“I absolutely love food. I love to bake. I love to cook, and one of my favorite things at home was the look on my family’s face when I would prepare a meal,” Lori said. “I wanted to bring that here, where our recipes are so delicious. I want people to smile when they look at the plate.”

Along with Mlinarz, Lori is the artisan behind many of the recipes that people will enjoy at Giovanni’s.

“It has taken us about a year and a half to go through so many recipes,” John said. “Everything that we’re going to serve here, we eat at home.”

Another staple that will be found at Giovanni’s are Lori’s crafted smoothies. John’s favorite is her Oreo smoothie, which lets him enjoy the closest thing to an Oreo cookie without compromising his diet.

“I have created many recipes involving a yogurt base, so that is much healthier than adding an ice cream base,” Lori said. “Everything will include fresh fruit. Instead of chocolate chips, it will be carob chips.”

The kitchen will not serve any fried foods. “It’s either baked, broiled or grilled,” John said. “Some of the recipes originate from my grandparents’ recipes.”

With a heritage that is both Irish and Italian, where did Giovanni come from?

“My dad was John, and I’m John, obviously, and I found out after my father passed away, when I found his birth certificate, that he was actually baptized Giovanni Giattino, and I never knew that. He always went by John.”

Giovanni’s Healthy Café honors this piece of family history. Central to the Giattino family is the idea that food brings people together.

Originally from New York, the Giattinos have lived in the western communities since 2014. They both left their day jobs to pursue their dream of sharing Lori’s food creations with a community — and John’s dream to have a place where he could invite the entire community over to sit down, laugh and eat.

“Everyone I’ve met has been very nice. It’s quite a different culture from living in New York City or the surrounding areas,” John said. “The people here are a lot more relaxed. They’ll take the time to talk to you.”

With renovations nearly complete, the Giattinos are putting the final touches on Giovanni’s Healthy Café.

“We’re open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday,” John said. “However, there will be several Sundays during the year that we will open up, such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.”

Giovanni’s Healthy Café is located at 125 State Road 7, Suite 107, in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, visit or search “Giovanni’s Healthy Café” on Facebook.


Los Agaves Offers Great Food In An Authentic Mexican Atmosphere

Los Agaves Offers Great Food In An Authentic Mexican Atmosphere

Los Agaves Mexican Restaurant is part of a family of three authentic Mexican restaurants in Palm Beach County: Los Agaves in Royal Palm Beach, Casa Tequila Mexican Cuisine in Wellington and Rancho Chico Mexican Restaurant in Jupiter.

Fernando Morales Chapman, the managing partner, said the signature dish at Los Agaves is El Patron. There are three options with El Patron, either New York skirt steak, grilled carne asada or pollo asada, along with rice and beans, and shrimp al mojo de ajo. The most popular version is with the steak.

“It’s our main dish. It’s the favorite one of everyone,” Chapman said. “It’s skirt steak with rice and beans, we get grilled shrimp with garlic, and we put onions and peppers underneath as a bed. People love it because it’s really good.”

The menu features traditional Mexican food. Salvador Gutierrez, the restaurant’s owner, created El Patron, and it has been a favorite ever since, Chapman added.

The dishes are 13 inches at the restaurant, which offers generous portions. Fajitas — there are multiple types: chicken, steak, shrimp, vegetarian and chicken with steak — are also restaurant favorites.

Los Agaves, and its sister restaurants, are all family owned and operated. Gutierrez is Chapman’s brother-in-law. Several cousins work at Los Agaves, and Chapman’s wife is another manager. Overall, there are 10 restaurants in the company chain.

The extensive menu features appetizers such as ceviche de camaron, taquitos, quesadillas, queso dip and more, and those can be followed with warm, hearty soups such as the sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) and tortilla soup.

Salads, with shrimp, chicken, tacos and more, offer a lighter meal. Seafood dishes, such as the seafood chimichanga, camarones con tocino and arroz con camarones, offer a fresh taste of the sea. Fajitas and meals such as the asada y mas, carnitas mixtas, brochetas and pork carnitas, offer hearty meals to satisfy any appetite. Burritos are available with chicken, vegetables, beef, picadillo or pork, as are chicken and meat dishes like the chicken mole, tacos al carbon, chile verde and pollo chipotle.

The menu offers authentic recipes that have been adapted from spicy Mexican flavors to be gentler to the American palate, Chapman said. However, all of the items on the menu can be customized to any level of desired spiciness. The only truly spicy item is the camarones a la diabla, shrimp that is sautéed in butter with mushrooms and garlic in a spicy sauce.

When looking around Los Agaves, the colorful, friendly atmosphere jumps out as unique and interesting. There are colorful, hand-carved and painted wooden chairs made in Mexico in the middle of the restaurant.  “There’s no chair that is alike,” Chapman said. “They’re all different.”

On a trip to Mexico, the owners found a street artist with hand-painted and hand-carved chairs. They placed a large order for the chairs with the Mexican artist to outfit many of the restaurants and brought them to the U.S. to decorate and add a colorful flair. “Most of our decoration is from Mexico,” Chapman said.

The wooden booths, the barstools, the chairs, the chandeliers and other accessories are brought in from Mexico. “We try to incorporate all of the real colors,” he said.

The restaurant is decorated like a traditional indoor/outdoor restaurant, with seating, a cantina and separate areas.

“The idea was to recreate that, with a United States version,” Chapman said. “It has an authentic look. It really makes you feel like you’re in Mexico. If you’ve ever been to Mexico, those little family-owned hometown restaurants, they’ll be something like this.”

The biggest difference, Chapman said, is that everything is under a roof, and, of course, there’s air conditioning.

A full bar, modeled like a Mexican cantina, offers a wide variety of drinks to accompany any of Los Agaves’ meals, or for gatherings of friends. The house margarita and classic margaritas are well-known, Chapman said.

The best way to end a meal at Los Agaves, he added, is with one of the sweet desserts such as fried ice cream, traditional flan, churros, and, Chapman’s favorite, the cheesecake chimichanga — creamy cheesecake put into a special tortilla, rolled and deep fried, then cut in the middle and topped with whipped cream. There are often requests for large flan orders for parties and special events.

Los Agaves also features a children’s menu. The restaurant offers takeout, private parties and reservations for up to 10 people. There’s a happy hour every day from 3 to 7 p.m. Every Thursday night, there’s live music.

Los Agaves Mexican Restaurant is located in the Village Royale shopping plaza at 1179 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. The restaurant is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call (561) 798-1229 or visit


Gandhi’s Restaurant Lovingly Serves Up Authentic Indian Cuisine

Gandhi’s Restaurant Lovingly  Serves Up Authentic Indian Cuisine

Gandhi’s is a truly authentic Indian dining experience. Guests are initially greeted by a large image of Gandhi in the cozy living room-style waiting area. The area is furnished with items from the owners’ personal collection, chosen and placed so as to encourage conversation and education. All of the items, in addition to being beautiful and intricate, have a story.

Owners Raj and Sherry Vohra, who have been married for 17 years, opened Gandhi’s in January 2016 and have been presenting this unique dining experience ever since.

They’ve lived in Wellington for the last 12 years, Raj said, and wanted to share authentic Indian culture and food with the community. He and his wife were proud to name the restaurant in honor of the Indian independence leader.

“Because Gandhi was the father of the nation, and because the decision to open a restaurant was probably one of the most important decisions we will ever make in our entire life, we wanted something to really represent what we were trying to do here, which was create a sense of community, teach about a culture of love, which is India, and expose people to the amazing qualities of Indian food,” Sherry said, adding that Gandhi’s is a place “where food and people matter.”

The restaurant offers three unique dining experiences: a white glove service dining experience, a sit-down street food experience, and a grab-and-go tea and dessert cafe. During the day, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. traditional Indian street food is available. At night, the casual dining area reverts to fine dining, where bright red turbans are worn, and food is served on traditional Indian ware.

“Nothing comes out of a can, container or jar here,” Sherry said. “We make our own cheese here. We make our own yogurt here, so everything is in its highest probiotic state. Everything here is gluten free, except for our breads. If people call ahead, we can certainly back out ingredients that we need to.”

Sherry sees herself as the host of the experience and often greets guests with homemade Mango Lassi or Sweet Lassi, or a mug of chai tea to warm the soul.

She also enjoys introducing guests to the intricacies of Indian cooking.

“I make every cup of chai. That’s my way of loving all of our guests when they come in,” Sherry said. “If you went into a home in India, the very first thing we do is offer water and then a beautiful cup of tea with a traditional Indian biscuit.”

That concept carries over to every dish on the menu. “It’s made with love. Every dish, by the time it goes to the place, for each and every guest who eats with us, is perfection,” Sherry said.

When you tell someone that something is spicy, Sherry explained, people often think about heat, rather than flavor. With Indian food, it is full of layers of flavors that infuse the food all the way through. The spices are layered into each component of the cooking process, she said.

“With Indian food, it’s very complicated and complex, because the infusion and the mixology of the sauces is what gives the food that very unique quality and taste,” Sherry said. “Right now, with the reintroduction of Indian food back into society, it’s about teaching people that Indian food doesn’t need a gallon of water to douse the heat, but it is full of beautiful, wonderful, amazing flavors like cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, goda masala, cloves, and it’s infused during the whole process.”

In her restaurant’s food, Sherry sees the colors of India.

“You have all of these colors which are uniquely India,” she said. “When you go there, you’ll see the colors of Diwali and Holi, and like Easter eggs, it’s a beautiful infusion of color. Indian food is a lot like that.”

The recipes at Gandhi’s are authentic North Indian. Whole spices go into each and every dish to bring out the flavors, Raj explained. The process for each dish takes time.

One of the most popular, or signature, dishes is the Chicken Tikka Masala. It comes with homemade naan bread and rice.

“Some people think it is just Chicken Tikka Masala, but it’s actually a mixology for the sauce, just like you would a cocktail,” Sherry said. “You have to have just the right amount to really bring out the tradition and flavor of the dish.”

The Chicken Tikka Masala has a tomato-based sauce that’s homemade, Raj said. Approximately 10 different spices go into the sauce, which takes almost three hours to prepare before it is served over the chicken breast.

All of the spices mix and mingle to create a unique flavor. “There’s the whole flavor of India in one meal,” Raj said.

The rest of the menu features a variety of North Indian traditional meals, as well as curries, lamb chops and shrimp, scallops, goat curry, vegetarian dishes such as Muttar Mushroom, Baingan Bharta, Paneer Tikka Marsala and more. Desserts include homemade ice creams, such as Chef’s Kesar Badam Kulfi, Pistachio Kulfi, Gulab Jamun and more.

And, as you leave the restaurant, Gandhi is leaving with you.

“This is a destination restaurant. It’s the closest you’re going to get to India without going to India,” Sherry said.

Gandhi’s food is available for dine-in, catering, take-out, private VIP dinners, delivery through Delivery Dudes, as well as offering the restaurant for special occasions. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with hours from noon to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Gandhi’s is located at 4075 S. State Road 7, Suite F2B, in the Marketplace at Wycliffe. For more information, call (561) 328-9441 or visit


Cask + Shaker Brings A Unique Gastropub Experience To Wellington

Cask + Shaker Brings A Unique Gastropub Experience To Wellington

Cask + Shaker Craft Bar and Kitchen recently opened at the Mall at Wellington Green adjacent to the new Paragon Wellington 10 movie theater.

With a separate exterior mall entrance, and lounge seating in the lobby of Paragon, Cask + Shaker offers classic cocktails, local brews and gastropub entrées.

Executive Chef Chuck Gittleman is particularly proud of the restaurant’s signature dish, Steak Frites.

“It’s my favorite dish. I’m from Miami, so it has a lot of Latin flavors to it,” he explained. “The cut of meat itself is a really tender cut. It’s one of my favorite steaks, the hanger steak. It reminds me of my youth.”

The entrée consists of a marinated mojo hanger steak, sautéed broccolini (a relative of asparagus that looks like a long broccoli spear) and yucca fries.

“The yucca itself is Latin, so it lends itself to the mojo flavoring of the steak, and it’s a little spin on French fries,” Gittleman said.

Historically, the hanger cut wasn’t particularly popular with the public, he said, and was considered the butcher’s cut to take home.

“It’s a really tender piece of meat. It’s pretty popular right now. A lot of places use it. It’s kind of a trend. We mojo marinate it, which is a lime juice, orange juice, chili, garlic, onions, cilantro and cumin. And then just salt and pepper, and it’s grilled,” Gittleman said.

The steak is topped with a chimichurri sauce, which has parsley, cilantro, lime, garlic, oregano, olive oil and hot chili.

Steak Frites is one of the popular dishes at Cask + Shaker, which has a gastropub atmosphere. Because there are farms nearby, Gittleman is focusing on getting more “farm to table” foods.

The menu has comfort food items to share with friends, such as Honey Sriracha Firecracker Shrimp, Fried Manchego Cheese, Angry Fried Calamari, Bacon-Wrapped Brussels and Char-Grilled Chicken Wings, which are baked instead of fried. There are also cheese boards with creamy, flavorful cheeses, and salads, including the Rustic Root + Fruit, which includes artisan lettuces, roasted beets, gorgonzola cheese, spiced cashew, dates and an apple cider vinaigrette.

Sides range from Truffle Fries to Old School Mac & Cheese, featuring semolina pasta, gruyere cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon Dijon crumbs. Handheld items, be it the BBQ Brisket Burger, the New School Grilled Cheese or the Crab Cake Sliders, offer delicious and interesting flavor combinations. Meals such as the Steak Frites and Pulled Chipotle Chicken Tacos round out the menu.

Family-friendly, there’s also a children’s menu with mac and cheese, flatbread pizza, grilled cheese and chicken tenders. Along with the food menu, gluten-free options are available, and Cask + Shaker features 32 draught beers, cocktails, bottled beers, hand-crafted specialty cocktails, wine and a full line of non-alcoholic drinks.

General Manager Brooke Camposano explained that most of the beers on-tap are local, South Florida craft beers. “We worked with a mixologist and created 10 of our own hand-crafted cocktail drinks that we serve here,” she added.

The wine menu includes “Interesting Whites” and “Interesting Reds,” Camposano said.

“They’re not your average wines, like your pinot grigios and chardonnays. They’re a little bit different, so that people would actually take a look at them and hopefully try them. They’re a little more popular, but not everybody knows about them,” she said.

Some of the interesting wines include Red Blend, Ferrari Carano “Siena” from Sonoma County, Calif.; Malbec, TerrazasReserva from Argentina; and the Riesling, Chateau Ste. Michelle “Eroica” from Washington.

“We offer tastings for anything that you’d like to sample,” Camposano said.

Inside the theater, there are trays that hold Cask + Shaker’s to-go boxes perfectly, Camposano said, which allows customers to comfortably enjoy their meal, and drinks, while watching the movie of their choice.

Customers have many options for seating, including an indoor lounge, outside seating with heat lamps when it is chilly out, indoor booth seating, indoor table seating, bar seating, and, of course, in-movie seating.

The windows at the bar open, allowing guests to sit on either side of the bar and enjoy the convenience of an indoor-outdoor bar.

Cask + Shaker is currently open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Food and drinks are available for takeout, eat-in (reservations are suggested), and to be brought into the theater and enjoyed during a movie.

Cask + Shaker is located at 10312 W. Forest Hill Blvd. on the second level of the Mall at Wellington Green. For more information, call (954) 320-7112 or visit



Pasquale’s Pizza Serves Up Authentic New York-Style Italian Cuisine

Pasquale’s Pizza Serves Up Authentic New York-Style Italian Cuisine

Story and Photos by Julie Unger

Pasquale’s Pizza, a family-owned restaurant, recently opened on the west side of State Road 7, between Forest Hill and Southern boulevards.

The local restaurant is part of a family-owned chain that also includes three locations in Broward County, said middle son Mike Marrone, who runs the restaurant with his brothers, Nick and George Jr.

“We started from humble beginnings,” Marrone said, “with my mom making the sandwiches, my dad making the pizzas and my brother and I growing up in a crib literally in the kitchen, which is kind of cool. This is all we know.”

Authentic New York-style pizza and Italian food is their specialty. It all started with Marrone’s father, George, naming the restaurant after his father, Pasquale. The family restaurant tradition is still going strong, with another location opening soon.

“My dad has been doing this since 1974. We use the same ingredients that my dad started with back then. We have had a tradition now of almost 40 years doing things the exact same way,” Marrone said.

Attention to detail and caring about the quality and experience is part of the family’s secret to success. The menu had only four things when they first started out. Now, there are salads, wings and more, including authentic zeppoles.

“At the end of the day, when you do things right, you serve quality, people are going to understand that and they’re going to get that,” Marrone said. “That’s why we’ve been successful for so many years. We haven’t been in business for more than 40 years because we got lucky. We have really good food, we care about our customers and we’re passionate about what we do.”

A visit to Pasquale’s wouldn’t be complete without ordering the Penne Alla Vodka; perfectly cooked penne pasta is mixed with a homemade vodka sauce, garnished and served.

“It’s a simple dish made with high-quality ingredients,” Marrone said. “The beauty of the dish is that there are a multitude of things that go into it, but you don’t taste one thing. It’s like a combination of everything to make a certain flavor that you’re looking for. Everyone loves our Penne Alla Vodka.”

The sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, basil, scallions, parsley and vodka, which gets cooked off during the preparation process. Black pepper and crushed red pepper are added, and then the dish is topped with grated Romano cheese.

Marrone said customers also can’t get enough of the pizza, wings and strombolis. Popular subs include the cold Super Sub with ham, salami, capicolla, pepper ham and provolone cheese, and the hot Leave It To Us Sub with salami, capicolla, pepper ham, grilled sweet peppers and melted provolone cheese.

“Those are two unique sandwiches to our restaurant using quality Boar’s Head cold cuts and the same great attention to detail that we’ve always had,” Marrone said. “That has been made in our family since 1974.”

At Pasquale’s, the meatball parmesan sub is actually made with meat slices, rather than round meatballs, which allows the sandwich to fold.

“It’s something neat and different that we do, and it lets the customer know they’re homemade,” he said. “Everything we make on the menu is from scratch. Everything we make is homemade.”

Other favorites include deep-fried calzones, which are a New York/New Jersey specialty, and the zeppoles, which are a northeast delicacy of fried dough with powdered sugar.

“They’re almost like funnel cake at a fair — light, soft, airy and with powdered sugar,” he said.

The Marrone brothers are working to bring the restaurant’s community-friendly atmosphere to the new Wellington/Royal Palm Beach location. They like to be active in the community, sponsoring local sports teams and participating in special events.

Last year, Pasquale’s was at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Flavors of Wellington, where they won runner-up with the Penne Alla Vodka. “We served meatballs and Penne Alla Vodka. It was awesome,” Marrone said.

“Wellington reminds me a lot of Coral Springs,” he added. “A lot of young families, sports… it’s a growing area.”

They’ve already sponsored local sports teams and hosted  school fundraisers and other special events.

There’s a bar with outlets in case someone wants to enjoy a craft beer or a glass of wine, plenty of seating, freestyle soda machines and a community table for teams to come and hang out.

“All of these things are geared toward the trend of how fast, casual dining is going,” Marrone said, noting that Pasquale’s is family-friendly and not the traditional dark, quiet Italian restaurant. “All we want to do is make people happy. We want you to smile.”

Pasquale’s also offers takeout and delivery, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Pasquale’s Pizza is located at 171 S. State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 904-0707 or visit


Try The Spinach Eggs Benedict At Oak Bistro & Wine Bar Story and Photos by Julie Unger

Try The Spinach Eggs Benedict At Oak Bistro & Wine Bar Story and Photos by Julie Unger

Oak Bistro & Wine Bar has become known throughout the western communities for its weekend brunch specials, and if you stop by, be sure to order the Spinach Eggs Benedict.

Oak’s Spinach Eggs Benedict is special. The fresh brioche bun is the perfect bed, warm and cozy, for fresh-cooked spinach and expertly prepared poached eggs. Over the eggs is a generous serving of homemade hollandaise sauce.

The meal is a favorite for owners Lisa and Brian Jacobsen.

“It’s special because we only do it Saturday and Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as part of our brunch. During season, from Jan. 9 through May 1, we are doing Monday Funday, so that will be brunch on Mondays as well,” Lisa said. “We make everything from scratch.”

Homemade, gluten-free home fries, tossed in rosemary, are added to the plate.

“That’s what makes them the best,” she said, noting that the entire dish can be prepared gluten-free as well.

Every few months, Oak Bistro changes its menu, Brian noted. The new menu for 2017 features several unique dishes and will be in effect until spring.

“And then we’ll change it again, when it will be geared toward lighter flavors. During the wintertime, it’s more hearty,” he said.

With each season’s menu change, the artwork on the walls, supplied by the Wellington Art Society, changes as well.

One of Brian’s favorite dishes is Oak’s Bacon Burger.

“The bacon burger is a creation I came up with,” he said. “The bacon is actually in the burger. We take a mix of ground beef and ground bacon and make that into patties. The bacon permeates throughout the whole burger. If you’re a true bacon lover, you can always add bacon on the top, you can add cheese, you can add a fried egg. You can really kick the burger up a notch or two. To have the bacon actually cooked in the burger is something that is very unique. Each bite that you’re getting is going to give you a nice bacon flavor.”

Another big draw would be the Bacon Wrapped Dates, which debuted on the menu shortly after Oak Bistro opened just over two years ago. They take dates, stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon, serving them with a balsamic glaze on the bottom.

“Once you take the sweetness of the date, the creaminess of the goat cheese and the smokiness of the bacon, it all combines so well together that it’s absolutely delicious,” Brian said.

Few places offer bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys during brunch like Oak Bistro does, even letting diners switch between the two. Brunch is a relaxed atmosphere where diners aren’t rushed. Reservations, however, are suggested.

Everything is made fresh to order. The menu features breakfast tacos, a build-your-own omelet, eggs Benedict, cinnamon French toast, and an egg, meat and cheese sandwich. Cappuccino, espresso, hot tea and coffee, as well as cold brewed coffee from Hollywood Brewing Co., is also offered. “It’s just a good time,” Brian said.

Regular menu items are also available during brunch, Lisa added, such as the popular Charcuterie & Cheese Board, the Puff Pastry Tart, Croque Monsieur and Soupe Du Jour.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back our snowbirds and equestrian people,” Brian said. “Many small businesses close on Monday, or have very limited menus on Monday, so we wanted to create something that was fun and give people a place to go.”

During the off-season, Oak Bistro doesn’t serve brunch on Monday, but during equestrian season, it is a special treat, especially when many equestrians are off on Monday.

Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m., and every Thursday evening, there are wine bottle promotions. Limited quantities are available of a reserve wine list that is not listed on the menu. Oak Bistro has more than 25 craft beers by the bottle and four on draft. Draft samples are available. There are nightly entree specials, as well as American-style tapas; sharing is suggested and encouraged.

Oak Bistro & Wine Bar is located at 11051 Southern Blvd., Suite 210, in Royal Palm Beach. It is in the Southern Palm Crossing shopping plaza in between Stein Mart and Rack Room Shoes. For more information, call (561) 753-6217 or visit


Prime Ribeye Done Right At The Grille In Wellington

Prime Ribeye Done Right At The Grille In Wellington

Story and Photos by Julie Unger

The Grille Fashion Cuisine, one of four Fashion Cuisine restaurants owned by restaurateurs Juan Gando and Dustin Parfitt, has been serving its extraordinary fine dining to the Wellington community since 2011.

Parfitt, an accomplished chef, is always looking to bring new and innovative creations to the popular restaurant located on South Shore Blvd. in the heart of Wellington.

Last year, he said, a culinary trend was to use Brussels sprouts. This year, another vegetable is in style.

“Cauliflower is kind of in this year,” Parfitt explained. “This year, we’ve tried to do some fun things with cauliflower.”

As its signature dish, the Grille is featuring the 16-ounce Prime Ribeye.

“It features a cauliflower puree, pancetta, asparagus and a red wine reduction. I feel like it best represents the Grille,” Parfitt said. “Our theme for the restaurant, when we first opened here, was to have a Wellington steakhouse. Doing a steak as the signature dish says that.”

The Prime Ribeye, Parfitt’s favorite, comes from Bush Brothers’ Creekstone Farms. Under the steak is a white cauliflower puree, with roasted cauliflower, shaved asparagus and crispy pancetta in a red wine reduction, garnished with microgreens.

This unique meal is presented on a board, showing off the colors and texture of the masterpiece.

General Manager Amer Marukic takes great pride in the steak dishes offered at the Grille. “They’re the best in town,” Marukic said.

The Grille has expanded its offerings to cater to the community, Marukic said, but this dish brings it back to its roots.

Other popular steak dishes include the Filet Mignon, Grilled New York Strip and Teriyaki Wagyu Sirloin. The Grille also offers many other top-quality meals.

“One of our best-kept secrets is our gourmet pizza. You can’t get a gourmet pizza anywhere around here like the ones we have,” Parfitt said.

Popular pizzas include the Spicy Sausage Pizza with cherry peppers, mozzarella, pomodoro, kale, onion, parmigiano and basil; the Pesto Pizza with pistachio pesto, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted tomatoes and arugula; and the Wild Mushroom Pizza with arugula, fresh mozzarella, aged balsamic, parmigiano and truffle oil.

Always innovating, there are many new appetizers on the menu, including the Juan Tons, named as a play on words after co-owner Juan Gando. The dish features spiced chicken, avocado yogurt and pico de gallo. You will also want to try the Pimento Cheese Fritters with a Sriracha jam; the Tuna Cigars with ahi tuna, avocado puree and citrus soy; and the Crispy Duck Wings with a sweet and spicy glaze, pickled carrots and celery.

Salads, unique pasta dishes, seafood, steaks and other special dishes round out the menu.

The Grille isn’t just a fine eatery, Parfitt noted. It’s also a popular community hotspot. “One thing that the Grille is really well-known for in town is it is pretty much the number one club out here,” Parfitt said.

The restaurant transforms into a nightclub on Thursday night and throughout the weekend, Marukic said, noting that everyone knows him as “Prince Amer” — Amer means Prince in Arabic — and years ago, when Marukic held his birthday party at the restaurant, it became a nickname that stuck.

Frequently, when restaurants attempt to transition into nightclubs, they aren’t successful. However, the Grille has mastered the balance. There are bands, theme nights and special events. After Sunday polo, the Grille offers an after-party extension of the excitement of the day.

The Grille is part of the Fashion Cuisine family that includes Oli’s, the Seahorse and the White Horse Tavern. Each establishment has its own unique menu and atmosphere.

The Grille offers catering, takeout, online reservations, a private room for parties and more.

The Grille Fashion Cuisine is located at 12300 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 793-2110, e-mail or visit


Wide Array Of Cuisines Available At New Tokyo Bay Buffet On SR 7

Table-Tokyo Bay Buffet

Wide Array Of Cuisines Available At New Tokyo Bay Buffet On SR 7

Story and Photos by Julie Unger

Tokyo Bay Buffet opened this past spring in Royal Palm Beach offering more than 50 kinds of fresh sushi, hibachi, seafood, homemade desserts and more.

Manager Johnny Chen is excited about the new location, which complements another Tokyo Bay Buffet restaurant in Georgia. Tokyo Bay Buffet is special, Chen explained, because it is different from other Asian buffet restaurants.

His favorite dish on the vast multi-part buffet is the Thai Mango Shrimp.

“It’s peeled shrimp with fresh mango sauce and other vegetables,” Chen said. “It’s a little bit sweet, spicy, and it’s really nice. That’s why it’s my favorite.”

It’s also one of the most popular of Tokyo Bay Buffet’s many offerings.

Chen has eight years of experience in the industry and is proud of the unique offerings and style at Tokyo Bay Buffet.

“We serve sushi, hibachi, Asian food, Chinese food, seafood like snow crab, cocktail shrimp and oysters. We have homemade desserts as well, like crème brulee,” he said.

The dishes reflect many different cultures: sushi and hibachi are Japanese, the hot dishes are Asian, mostly Chinese and Thai, as well as the seafood. Some of the most popular seafood items are the snow crab and oysters.

The recipes are also very authentic, Chen explained. Chinese food in China is different from typical Chinese food in the United States, he explained, but Japanese food doesn’t change much, except for the addition of cream cheese in some items. In Japan, dairy isn’t common. “What you see here,” he said, “if you go to Japan, you’ll get these items as well.”

All of the sushi is made fresh on the premises. Every day, special orders of fish are flown in from a Japanese company that provides the freshest sushi-grade fish products. Seasonal fish are often featured, since when a particular fish is in season it has the best flavor, Chen added.

Looking at the vast array of sushi plates available, you may notice something interesting. Some of the sushi plates only have a few pieces out at a time. That’s intentional and by design.

“We serve a lot of different sushi. It’s fresh-made. It’s different from the other buffets. We have people behind the bar. We make it in little bits, and once it runs out, we refill it right away, so all the sushi is fresh,” Chen said. “When people take them and they finish, we make another one fresh.”

There are chefs at the ready by the sushi and hibachi areas, able to skillfully and artfully make whatever is running low. Typical sushi buffets, Chen added, may only have 10 types of sushi. At Tokyo Bay Buffet, they rotate more than 50 different types to keep the menu varied and customers interested as they try new flavors and enjoy their favorites.

Some of the sushi types available recently included: Rainbow Naturo, which is salmon, tuna, white tuna, avocado and cucumber; Philadelphia roll, with cream cheese, cucumber and crab; Mexican Roll, with spicy crab, tempura shrimp and asparagus; Tempura Shrimp, with shrimp, cucumber, asparagus and lettuce; the MVP roll, which has tempura shrimp, asparagus and avocado; the Hawaii Roll, with salmon skin, avocado and spicy salmon; the J&B Roll, with salmon, cream cheese and avocado; the Crazy Tuna, with pepper tuna, avocado and spicy tuna; the Dancing Ell Roll, with cream cheese, cucumber, masago, eel and avocado; the 7 West Roll, with cucumber, avocado, crab, asparagus, spicy tuna and spicy crab; and many more.

Everything is made fresh, and in small batches, including the hibachi station, which allows diners to create their own hibachi dish.

In addition, there are four soups (miso, hot and sour, wonton and seafood) to enjoy before heading to the fresh fruit and homemade desserts.

Catering and takeout are available. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner is available Monday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Dinner on Friday and Saturday is available from 5 to 10:30 p.m.

Tokyo Bay Buffet is located at 165 S. State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 753-5566 or visit


The Lobster Tacos Are A Tasty Treat At Oli’s Fashion Cuisine In Wellington

WellingtonTable (1)

The Lobster Tacos Are A Tasty Treat At Oli’s Fashion Cuisine In Wellington

Story and Photos by Julie Unger

One of the most popular items at Oli’s Fashion Cuisine in Wellington is its signature dish, Lobster Tacos.

Co-owner and Executive Chef Dustin Parfitt said that the dish is made with fresh Maine lobster, flown in live to the restaurant. When Florida lobster is in season, that is offered, as well.

Large pieces of lobster meat are cooked to perfection and sit nestled within a set of tacos filled with citrus quinoa, avocado, cilantro lime slaw and aja aioli.

“They’ve gone over really well,” Parfitt said. “On Tuesday nights, we have half-priced appetizers at Oli’s, so you can come try them for half the price.”

The poached Maine lobster is complimented by its accompaniments.

“We’ve always done mini tacos here,” Parfitt said. “There are four renditions of them, and they all have a different sauce and different ingredients. They’re fun.”

It’s a fun and special meal that pairs well with Oli’s other taco offerings — Tuna Tacos, Skirt Steak Tacos and Blackened Chicken Tacos — all of which are happy hour items.

People come in and order them all, Parfitt said, mixing and matching to get a unique blend of flavors.

Oli’s offers a fashionable, modern atmosphere with something for everyone. This month marks the sixth anniversary of the popular restaurant, named in honor of the community’s namesake, C. Oliver Wellington.

Eating at Oli’s is an experience, from the artwork along the walls, the chandeliers casting dancing shadows from the ceilings, the equestrian elements and the elegant bar.

“This was the first restaurant of many,” Parfitt said.

Parfitt’s company also operates the Grill Fashion Cuisine, the Seahorse Fashion Cuisine, White Horse Fashion Cuisine and Oli’s Oasis, their newly remodeled food truck at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Parfitt is working on a new menu for Oli’s Oasis, implementing healthy, organic foods, such as an on-the-go salads and other grab-and-go foods. “Whenever there’s a show, it’s open. If there are people out there practicing and doing things, it’s open,” he said.

Oli’s Fashion Cuisine offers an amazing brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a wide range of cuisines, from southern to Italian to traditional. There are benedicts, omelets, tapas, waffles, huevos rancheros, French toast, pancakes and more, all served up with Oli’s signature flair.

“We have homemade pancakes, a great French toast, a homemade biscuit benedict with poached egg and a southern-style sausage gravy,” Parfitt said.

Lunch offerings include savory treats like the Beer Cheese Soup, the taco offerings, specialty salads and flatbreads, along with sandwiches, gluten-free seafood dishes, Linguini & Clams, Fettuccini Bolognese and more. Later, for dinner, specialties include Short Rib Pappardelle, Cast Iron Filet Mignon, the Veal Chop, Bouillabaisse, and house specialties such as Chicken Saltimbocca and Buffalo Ricotta Ravioli.

After 4:30 p.m., a special four-course chef’s menu is available. The menu has grown since Parfitt first created it. Menu favorites remain, creating a sense of consistency, while special selections are offered and integrated. Italian, Latin and Asian influences can be seen in the menu.

“The food makes Oli’s special,” Parfitt said. “It’s unique. We have something for everybody here. Our staff is amazing, really friendly and attentive. There is a cool vibe in here, with the white table cloths, the clean décor and the equestrian pictures in the back.”

Photographs in the back of the restaurant are for sale, he pointed out.

Granite countertops, wooden accents and chandeliers all give notes of equestrian elegance to the atmosphere at Oli’s. Craft beers, wines and specialty drinks are available at the bar, which offers happy hour specials.

Oli’s is available for catering and special events, and offers takeout, as well as delivery through Delivery Dudes. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; and opens for brunch at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, closing at 11 p.m.

Oli’s Fashion Cuisine is located at 10610 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 20, in Wellington Green Square. For more info., call (561) 792-2220 or visit


The Acai Bowl At Voi-La Is An Exquisite Treat For The Senses


The Acai Bowl At Voi-La Is An Exquisite Treat For The Senses

Story and Photos by Julie Unger

There’s a new restaurant in Wellington with Venezuelan roots and a French name. It’s called Voi-La, which means “look there” or “there it is.”

“It’s the idea that when you have it, it’s easy, you take it and just grab it and go,” chef Andrea Larrazabal explained. “Even though we don’t have French food, we have a lot of things to take and go. It’s for busy people who don’t have the time to spend two hours at a restaurant.”

Both in the front of Voi-La and toward the back are grab-and-go options such as milanesas de pollo, milanesas de carne, milanesas de tilapia, milanesas de cerdo, chicken parmigiana, broccoli quiche, empanaditas de pollo, torta de platano Chiquita, arepitas, lasagna, fresh salads and other items to make a quick meal.

Voi-La is owned by Maria Fernanda Asuaje and professional Argentinian show jumper Ignacio Maurin. Asuaje is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef and equestrian, while Maurin’s wife, Larrazabal, is a trained chef from the Venezuelan Center of Gastronomic Training.

The restaurant opened in the beginning of August, but Larrazabal and Asuaje have been catering together since the fall of 2015. They were catering for friends, birthdays and other events and were encouraged to open their own local restaurant. Within a few months, Voi-La was born.

The signature dish at Voi-La, Larrazabal said, is the acai bowl. It comes with banana, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, granola, honey and coconut flakes, and customers can add almond butter.

“Acai, it’s fruit from the Amazon. You can find it in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and a lot of the South American countries. It has antioxidants, is very trendy, and is really good for you. We have it in a version that is a sorbet,” she explained. “It’s something that we really like, and it’s South American. We want to take advantage of what the acai is bringing and the properties.”

An acai bowl, or smoothie, is very popular right now, but Voi-La’s twist of making it a sorbet is unique. By adding fruit and almond butter, it adds another layer of nutrition and flavor. Teenagers are choosing the nutritious fruit bowl over chocolates and sweets, Asuaje said.

Granola, fruit and coconut are arranged over the acai sorbet and then drizzled with honey. Almond butter can come on the side. The acai bowl is an exquisite treat for the senses, with a variety of tastes and textures, while providing a nutritional powerhouse.

There are many Venezuelan treats on the menu, including tequeños, which are like mozzarella sticks; meat, chicken and cheese empanadas; spinach and feta croquettes; and baked brie with honey.

“There’s nothing like this around here,” Larrazabal said. “It’s a mix of a lot of things.”

Another special item on the menu is the cheese course. With more than a dozen cheese choices, ranging from robiola bosina, brie couronne, port salut, gruere, mahon, valdeon blue and more, customers are able to assemble a cheese plate with meats — including horzoiberico de bellota, prosciutto di parma, jamon iberico and smoked salmon — and accompaniments such as plum jam, mango chutney, pesto, truffle honey and more. This creates a plate that is perfect for gathering with friends and having a relaxed conversation while enjoying the music, Asuaje said.

Recently added to the menu are gourmet paninis, such as one with jamon iberico, manchego and sweet onion jam; one with mozzarella, tomato confit, basil pesto and a balsamic reduction; one with prosciutto, goat cheese and a fig spread; and a one with brie, bacon and honey.

Fresh smoothies, be it the Greenest Favorite Smoothie, the Carolina Smoothie, the Banana Blonde, Blue Grape or Blueberry Sunset, offer a fresh mix of fruits and vegetables to cool off and get nourished. The soup of the day varies, but is always made fresh. Specialty teas add another drink offering full of flavor.

Guests can custom make their own salads, allowing customers to pick their favorite greens, toppings and dressings to create a light and healthy meal.

The mission at Voi-La is to make delicious, high-quality food that is good for the body and soul, with an emphasis on hospitality, service, passion, creativity and never-ending improvement.

“It’s our dream come true,” Larrazabal said. “I never imagined having this.”

Voi-La is located at 13889 Wellington Trace, Suite A8, in the Wellington Marketplace near Walgreens, between Dunkin’ Donuts and Wellington Florist. Closed Monday, the restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (786) 281-1589.