La Fuga, a new coastal Italian restaurant led by locally-celebrated Chef Michael Mayer, celebrates its official grand opening in Fort Lauderdale Beach at the new Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Upon entry, guests are immersed into Chef Mayer’s modern approach to coastal Italian cuisine, offering a comforting sense of home, which is reminiscent of a traditional Italian kitchen with a contemporary twist.
La Fuga translates to “the escape,” which is the original name of the property that opened in Fort Lauderdale in 1949. Taking up residence at the art deco boutique property, the destination restaurant serves a sumptuous menu of authentic Italian dishes including handmade pastas, locally-sourced seafood, wood-fired pizzas and salads accented with fresh herbs.
Every item on La Fuga’s menu is made in-house by Chef Mayer and his dedicated team utilizing local, fresh produce and seafood sourced straight from the sea to the plate. Chef Mayer carries an impressive resume of culinary experience, having the opportunity to cook alongside renowned chefs at fine dining establishments across the country.
“Developing La Fuga’s menu allowed me to tap into my creative side and play with expressive flavors to curate dishes that spoke to Fort Lauderdale’s love for the sea while staying true to the authenticity of classic Italian dishes,” says Mayer, who previously received rave reviews as executive chef of neighboring restaurant Lona Cocina Tequileria. “Each menu item at La Fuga is focused on authentic techniques, whether we are making pastas by hand, tossing our homemade pizza dough before baking in a high temperature oven or preparing all of our own sauces, reductions and stocks daily. Our focus is based on traditional methods and high-level ingredients in every dish.”
The restaurant introduces a wide selection of antipasti dishes such as Polpo Alla Griglia, grilled octopus paired with cannellini beans and a savory cracked olive salad; Tartare Di Tonno, made with Yellowfin tuna, capers, fresh oven-roasted tomatoes and pepper oil; Cozze e Calamari Alla Piastra, a flavorful combination of PEI mussels and calamari made with lemon butter, Gremolata and Calabrian pepper for a kick; and Polpette Di Vitello, with veal meatballs and creamy mascarpone polenta with puttanesca and Parmigiano.
For the main course, meat, seafood and vegetable selections include Tortellini In Brodo, a mix of mortadella, Parma ham and Reggiano with tortellini in a capon broth with basil pesto; Gnocchi Della Casa, with slow-roasted pork sugo and sweet butternut squash topped with fennel; and Tagliatelle Al Ragù Bolognese, housemade tagliatelle pasta in a classic Bolognese sauce with Italian San Marzano tomatoes. Visitors can also savor the Ravioloni All’aragosta Fra Diavolo, a lobster and ricotta ravioli served with a spiny lobster tail in spicy tomato cream, or the Risotto Cacio e Pepe All’OssoBuco, featuring oxtail and Parmesan Reggiano in a Barolo reduction.
Pizza lovers can retreat to La Fuga for delicious hand-tossed pies including Margherita Napoletana, topped spicy buffalo mozzarella, with marinara sauce, fresh basil and olive oil; Prosciutto e Fichi, a tasty pesto and Parma ham pizza topped with sweet fig, pine nuts, goat cheese and rocket, an arugula-like green; and Amanti Della Carne, a meat lovers pie made with veal meatballs, pepperoni, pancetta, marinara sauce, cheesy mozzarella and Calabrian peppers. The restaurant will also offer a selection of salads including traditional favorites such as Caesar and Caprese, alongside Radicchio e Rucola, arugula salad topped with vine-ripe tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Pecorino Romano cheese; and a Tuscan Kale, tossed with moscato pears, Gorgonzola cheese, spiced walnuts and a white balsamic vinaigrette as a dressing.
Beautifully paired with its unique plates, is an extensive selection of hand-crafted cocktails including a Botanic Tonic, made with The Botanist gin, fresh cucumber, mint and Fever-Tree tonic; The Suz, an electrifying mix of Tanteo jalapeño tequila, lime, sweet agave and salt; Caffè Martini, shaken with Brugal Añejo, Caffè Borghetti Liqueur and a fresh shot of espresso; The 1949, mixed with a sensational High West Double Rye, Sorel liqueur and orange essence for a citrusy component, and Always Sunny In Paradise, a blend of St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, fresh pears, sweet honey, ginger and lemon topped with ginger beer. La Fuga also offers a collection of local beer and wine by the glass or bottle. One of La Fuga’s not-to-miss delicacies is the house-infused Limoncello, a sweet citrus liqueur to be enjoyed after a meal.
“We are thrilled to make our mark in South Florida’s buzzing culinary scene by offering guests an experience that is unlike any other through our hand-crafted menu and welcoming ambiance,” says General Manager of Food & Beverage Marco Zaccariotto. “La Fuga is a place for everyone - where friends become family - as we strive to deliver the utmost quality of service to the local community as well as visitors to the area.”
As guests enter the space, they are greeted with a U-shaped bar and vintage artwork paying homage to the coast of Italy. La Fuga’s mid century-modern design features a warm navy blue finish and a color palette incorporating tones of yellow, green, salmon and neutral hues through its contemporary wood structures and furniture. The restaurant’s open layout offers indoor and outdoor seating and flows throughout the outdoor courtyard where guests can revel in the artistic talents of local muralist, Colette Pisut. The courtyard also provides access to the rooftop pool overlooking Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway. La Fuga houses a private dining room that can fit up to 30 people, providing a unique space for meetings, intimate dinners and events.
To commemorate the grand opening, the restaurant will host regular promotions and special events, starting with Break Beat Wednesdays from 7-10 p.m., with live vinyl DJ beats and 50 percent off on select bottles of wine, and La Fuga Fridays from 7-10 p.m., with live performances by acoustic guitarists.
La Fuga is open Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5-11 p.m. Happy hour specials are available Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m.
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