If it’s fair to generalize that everyone loves Italian food, then it would follow that everyone loves truly superb Italian food even more. This is where Novello Restaurant & Bar comes in.They just seem to be doing everything right. Beginning at the parking lot (easy, spacious, free) to the breezy covered outside patio (so highly desired during the pandemic), to the warm and personal greeting at the entrance by the owner, Marco Turano, to the comfortably decorated restaurant interior, it’s all good so far, and we haven’t even sat down yet. Inside, the pretty wall sconces emit a low light that helps make everyone look good. There is no seating at the bar at this time due to Covid, but the bar is there, on the left side of the room looking inviting and well-stocked. Tables are spread out at least six feet apart, good for social distancing and private conversations, and all ready to greet hungry guests. With the addition of separate private dining rooms o to the side, Marco has cleverly achieved the creation of an intimate ambiance. Though events are on hold at this time due to the virus. it’s easy to see that Novello would make a lovely place for a party, wine-tasting gathering or wedding.
“Novello” (which means “new” in Italian), lives up to its name having opened about five years ago as well as offering a NEW and exciting venture into old world tastes mixed with new world flavors. The moment we are seated, our waiter, Gene, staved o our hunger by presenting a complimentary “bruschetta’ and a basket of garlic bread. The bruschetta was made of crisp toasted bread rounds topped with freshly diced tomatoes, that were marinated with garlic, olive oil and oregano. The garlic bread was a good entry to the meal, too, with a taste of butter but not overly saturated in it, and herbs sprinkled and baked onto the nice crispy top. We’ve heard that people say, “it’s the best garlic bread they’ve had.” We agreed and couldn’t resist asking for more. You’ll probably want to, too.
In our effort to slow down and relax, we ordered martinis to compliment the bruschetta hors d’oeuvre. They came promptly, perfectly chilled, and with all the James Bond-ish pomp and flair hype (“shaken, not stirred.”) Next, our waiter, Gene, suggested a couple of appetizer specials, Prince Edward Island Mussels in either a tomato sauce or a white sauce of garlic, wine and butter, and grilled “Polipo” (octopus.) They both sounded enticing but we opted instead for the Eggplant Rollatini whose preparation was an unexpected and delightful surprise. It was served in a square pan that was charred around the edges and bubbling on top, proof that the dish had gone right from oven to table. The bottom layer of eggplant, in no way squishy or rubbery, boasted the next layer of the most delicious red sauce that was then topped with a very generous third layer of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Be forewarned, you will not be able to hold o from devouring it all, much as your sensibility tells you to save room for dinner.
Next, we hit the jackpot by taking Gene’s advice to order the Veal Chop and The Linguini with Shrimp for the main courses. The Veal Chop was to-die-for, cooked just right so it was pink inside and decorated with a drizzle of brown sauce that contained slivers of porcini mushrooms. At about an inch thick, the chop offered plenty of meat and a bone that you’ll want to pick up in your fingers when no one is looking in order to savor every last morsel. Just as pleasing, the Linguine Scampi included 4 jumbo shrimp that had hints of garlic, lemon and butter resting on a bed of linguine cooked ”al dente” (“to the tooth” in Italian), recognized as the ideal firm consistency for pasta.
It goes without saying that nothing enhances an Italian meal better than a fine wine and, even more comforting is the wise expression: “Amici e vini sono meglio vecchi“ (Friends and Wines Improve With Age.) Deciding to conform to tradition, we paired a white wine with the pasta and a red wine with the veal. The excellent “Conundrum” California white wine from Caymus winery made by the well known favorite winemaker, Chuck Wagoner, was crisp and refreshing. For the veal chop we selected “Poggio Alto” a Super Tuscan red wine, grown in the countryside (in Tuscany) that’s as well known for its organic olive oils as its 100% family-owned, organically-farmed and hand-harvested wines.
Wait, don’t leave yet—Novello has some exquisite after-dinner offerings, so sit back, relax and good luck making the difficult choice from its authentic Italian desserts such as Tiramisu, Cannoli, Tartufo, Gelato and Ricotta Cheesecake. Tough decision but we went with the classic coffee-flavored Tiramisu. Its gorgeous presentation looked too pretty to touch, but we managed. The top of the square cake was dusted with cocoa powder with a fresh strawberry propped on each side like bookends. The plate decoration looked like a chain but made of alternating strawberry and chocolate sauce. Owner Marco generously poured a homemade Lemoncello liqueur after-dinner drink as our grand finale.
If you want to experience true Italian cuisine with the added perks of mouth-watering sauces, attentive service, relaxing ambience whether inside or al fresco, an excellent wine list, and consistently delectable food, this restaurant hits it out of the park.
5999 N. Federal Highway #4 Boca Raton, FL 33487 561-994-3495 novelloboca.com