If you’ve lived in the Boca Raton area anytime from 1983 to now in 2023, you’ve probably dined at or heard of the remarkable restaurant called Arturo’s at 6750 North Federal Highway in Boca. The restaurant is celebrating its 40th year in business and has become a most noted landmark in town. The charming owners Rosaria and Vincenzo Gismondi, both from Rome, Italy, had owned a restaurant in New York, and are proud to show photos of the dusty, empty lot of land they bought when Federal Highway had only one lane in 1979. With the help of Vincenzo’s brother, Joe and his family, they built a 3 level, 12,000 square foot, free-standing building that Rosaria described as architecture to resemble “a Tuscan villa.”
The Gismondi’s have five beautiful daughters, with two of them working at the restaurant. Elisa, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, with her husband, Enzo have created a private label Elisa’s Creamoncello which is a cream based liquor that comes in 3 varieties, lemon, coconut and cappuccino. These fabulous flavors became so popular that they are now sold in many restaurants and liquor stores. Another daughter, Giuila, works in the office and is also there to greet you with a friendly smile and warm welcome. Claudia, Roberta, and Sabrina (the remaining 3 daughters) are not physically present in the restaurant any longer but they contribute with Personal Relations and Marketing. Besides her adult children, Rosaria was delighted to tell about her 13 grandchildren (with one that was born on her husband Vincenzo’s birthday) and a 14th baby due in May.
Vincenzo proudly remarked that the restaurant was named after his father, Arturo, who came to the U.S. in 1955 from Sora, a small town of 28,000 in Italy. Unable to speak English at first, he did dishes in a restaurant but in time opened his own eatery in Queens, and then in Nassau County, called Arturo’s. At the age of 12, Vincenzo came to the U.S. and followed in his father’s footsteps, working in the kitchen. He pursued a college education in business. Then he returned to the restaurant and rened it into a fine dining establishment. He saw an opportunity since all great restaurants in Manhattan were focusing on luxury dining but none on Long Island. “It’s a lot of pressure,” he said, “since an owner must deal with everything, even plumbing and electrical issues, not just food.” Vincenzo’s passion for his work is obvious. “I only buy what I, myself, want to eat; it must be fresh.” He also said that he still goes to Italy, for ideas.
Arturo’s certainly reflects the charming and elegant family who have built it. There is not much need for advertising since its reputation for fine food and service has endured for 40 years, mostly spread by word of mouth from loyal and happy customers for decades. Their menu has evolved over time updating new culinary trends in the industry.
One of Arturo’s most popular appetizers is “Torta Primavera” made with several layers of crepes that are filled with vegetables, cheese and Italian meats. Also noted for their homemade pasta, another special dish is their “Spaghetti alla Gismondi” created by and labeled with the owners’ namesake. It is noted on the menu that it is “Prepared Tableside” which is an extraordinary and entertaining opportunity for guests to watch how their dish is made while comfortably seated at their own table. We were so pleased to see how our server, Francisco, had his ingredients prepped and organized. Little mounds of chopped smoked salmon, minced onion, sizzling bacon and fresh marinara were sautéed and flambéed with vodka in a flawless manner and topped o with a touch of cream to make an exquisite presentation. For those who enjoy watching the chef’s step-by-step creation, the Caesar Salad is also made tableside, which was common years ago but more of a rarity now. Rosaria explained, “It’s a new generation and few of them today want to learn to make it.”
There have been many other changes since 1983 when Arturo’s opened. Forty years ago, the restaurant had brought the same top quality menu with them from Long Island but the ingredients were difficult to find here. For example, veal, prosciutto and San Marzano tomatoes had to be imported to Florida. Also, formality in attire has changed. Years ago, men were required to wear jackets. Today the dress code has toned down nowadays to “Business or Country Club Casual.”
Arturo’s has about 50 employees with Rosaria’s son-in-law, Enzo, helping to run the dining room. Their Chef Mussolini and his Sous Chef Adolfo are the creative forces behind the culinary masterpieces that generally include Le Paste (pasta), I Pesci (fish), Le Carni (meat), and, of course, Le Insalate e Le Minestre (salad and soups). I Dolce (desserts) are prepared by, Elisa, who as been creating sweets and delights for over 20 years. They even make a specialty bread from Italy called “Ciambella Sorana” that is warm and crispy, and served with house-made pesto. This past January, Arturo’s welcomed back guest chefs who brought new ideas to share from Italy. Chef Michele Zambanini and Sous Chefs Stefano Ballarino and Nicola Campanella from Grand Hotel Villa D’Este on Lake Como delighted patrons with masterful creations for two special days with a special featured menu. It was a great success and wonderful learning experience.
When dining at Arturo’s, choices will be difficult to make, because everything is enticing. We opted for the Snapper al Vino Bianco, a let served in a white wine sauce made of garlic, rosemary, lemon and butter. It was generous yet delicate and the sauce was light and delicious. The other dish was Scaloppine di Vitello alla Marsala con Funghi, veal sautéed with Marsala wine and mushrooms. You’re going to love this sauce, also, and want to try to scoop up every drop. Both dishes came with fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli) and tasty roasted potatoes. How special to dine in “the piano room” overlooking the sunny outdoor patio while listening to Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli so appropriately singing the song “Perfect Symphony.” (You can also hear live music every night as you dine and, especially make a note that on March 19 singer Tony Sands will make you believe that Frank Sinatra is there in person serenading you. Rosaria added, “We were the first to offer live singers during dining. This and our tableside preparations truly distinguish us from other restaurants.”
But wait, you can’t leave yet without trying Arturo’s authentic and outrageous “Zabaglione” for dessert. We watched our server, Antonio from Napoli (Naples, Italy) as he cracked eggs, separated out the yolks, added other magical ingredients and enthusiastically whisked a hot, creamy Marsala custard to mingle with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. You will be in dessert heaven.
Remember to choose Arturo’s for a special occasion when you want to indulge in a memorable and luscious dinner in a classic setting, complete with crisp, white tablecloths, fresh flowers and live music or enjoy any day since you deserve every day to be beautiful, delicious and exceptional. As Rosaria said, “I believe the best thing about this business is the people, especially when they celebrate.”
Arturo’s is just that: an outstanding celebration and better than a long plane ride to Italy since we have Italy right here in Boca’s backyard.
Arturo’s Ristorante Italiano 6750 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33487 arturosrestaurant.com Phone: 561-997-7373