1. That’s Italian: The recently opened restaurant at The Atlantic overlooks Fort Lauderdale Beach, but expect to be transported to the Amalfi Coast by executive chef Rocco Honig’s Italian/Mediterranean creations. The graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale has infused the menus with several seafood-inspired twists on Italian dishes.
2. Something’s fishy: In addition to swordfish meatballs and a hearty cioppino (clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and calamari in a thin broth) served over spaghetti, the seafood thread extends to an Italian specialty—Milanese—prepared with swordfish or lobster, and served with Parmesan, tomato and shaved onion.
3. Rocco’s world: The Brooklyn-born Honig, who most recently helmed the kitchen at Vic & Angelo’s in Delray Beach, says the men in his family all knew their way around a cutting board. “My father worked on the railroads in New York, but when he was off work, man, did he love to cook,” Honig recalls.
4. Put a cork in it: The grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes and green beans draws its sweet and savory balance from red wine vinegar and melted butter—and its tenderness from an old wives’ tale. Honig braises the octopus for two hours with the help of red wine corks. “Don’t ask me why it works, but I’ve always cooked octopus tender that way.”
5. Don’t miss: In addition to an impressive wine list, Coastal offers a semi-frozen mix of Elouan rosé, simple syrup, fresh lime juice and ice called Frosé; the restaurant’s sharing menu ($80 a person) includes homestyle meatballs, chicken Milanese, sautéed yellowtail snapper, cannoli, mini tiramisu and much more; the bananas Foster French toast, available at breakfast or Sunday brunch, is to die for.
Where: The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.