Photos by Jonathan Gatz

My husband Jonathan and I recently went to dinner at a family-owned southern Italian restaurant at the Ocean Manor Resort in the Galt Mile Fort Lauderdale Beach area.  Wow! I feel like my family (who are ‘Full-blooded Sicilian’) cooked, served and entertained us for two and a half hours.  

Casa Calabria is one of Fort Lauderdale’s most authentic Italian dining experiences. Founded on the Talerico family’s recipes, Chef Adriano Serra transports you to Italy with Southern Italian dishes like homemade Calamari Fritti, Ricotta Gnocchi and Branzino that is flown in fresh from the Mediterranean Sea.  It all culminates with their divine homemade Tiramisu.

We were greeted by Lina, and escorted to our table where we met our team of servers, who immediately brought us crispy Italian bread with a side of sugo (the Italian word for sauce) which is great for dunking this dense sliced bread. Of course, they still have imported EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) at every table too for those of you who like to dip instead of dunk.  The serving team continued to work like Mama would have when you bring friends over in order to make everyone feel like family.

Our friendly server quickly described the evening’s specials which included grilled lamb chops, a 16 oz. T-bone steak and swordfish filet topped with shellfish in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce.

To begin our special evening we ordered the Burrata Fatta a Mano, fresh mozzarella with a rich, creamy soft center ($18).  It was topped with fresh basil and artistically drizzled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh tomato. It tasted like the mozzarella was fresh made just for us.

As Jonathan and I were finishing this soft, creamy delicacy, Chef Adriano came out of the kitchen to visit us and every guest.  He joyfully bragged about his favorites which included his homemade gnocchi, lamb chops and the special swordfish filet. He made it sound so fresh and yummy, just like he caught it himself earlier in the day.

The final decision to select which of the main courses we wanted was upon us.  Jonathan chose the 8 Oz. Filet Mignon topped with creamy brandy gravy and green peppercorns ($45).  I went with one of the Chef’s favorites, the Swordfish and a side of fresh pasta (market price).

Both items were prepared perfectly.  My serving of Swordfish was more than enough to share. I also suggest that you try the Calabria Meat Sauce with Pasta.  The taste brought me back to southern Italy. This sauce includes slowly stewed chunks of beef in a delicious fresh tomato and basil sugo.

The main courses range in price from the $20’s to $40’s.  And all of the selections seem to include enough leftover for a tasty lunch the following day.

Italian families love their sweets.  So save room for Casa Calabria’s heavenly tiramisu ($10) and a fresh ground and prepared espresso ($2.50).  Our server stressed that their tiramisu is made with mascarpone cheese.  The authentic way to create this house specialty. I have enjoyed tiramisu from several different regions of Italy, and Casa Calabria’s ranks at the top with the best in Italy.  Don’t miss this specialty. For those of you who are more of a ‘chocoholic’, Casa Calabria’s chocolate cake with layers of sweet hazelnut cream ($10) is a perfect selection.

After dinner, we went and hung out in their popular piano bar where almost every Italian in the area seems to be regulars.  And in between sipping on their cocktails, they are singing along with live performers.

Casa Calabria is the fine dining attraction and lively piano bar at Galt Ocean Mile’s popular

Ocean Manor Resort.  The resort includes private poolside cabanas and a 200 foot private beach. There is also the world famous Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar which is known for having the best happy hour in South Florida.  And the luxurious OMm Salon & Spa.

Buon Appetito!!!

4040 Galt Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

(954) 982-2191 reservations are welcomed

Tuesday – Saturday 5pm till close
Sunday – 5pm till close
Monday – Closed