The Dish: Val+tino 

The new Fort Lauderdale restaurant deftly blends Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

WHERE: 620 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale

PHONE: (954) 451-1200

WEBSITE: Valandtino.com

1. RUNNING IT BACK: If the Val+tino name and location sound familiar, there’s a perfectly good explanation. The first celebrated version—Valentino Cucina Italiana—was housed in the same building that now hosts Canyon and Rio’s Tequila Bar just south of the New River Tunnel. The new Val+tino can seat about 100 diners in an elegantly reconfigured layout with Canyon and Rio’s Tequila Bar on one side and Val+tino on the other. The restaurant’s new moniker and menu are part of Mike Linder’s SFL Hospitality Group, an extensive collection of restaurants that also includes South Bar & Kitchen in Pompano Beach, YOT in Fort Lauderdale, and Jet Runway Café at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

2. FIVE-STAR DINING: Fans of Valentino Cucina Italiana will surely be pleased with how Val+tino takes the fine dining concept to a whole new level with a delicious five-course tasting menu curated by Chef de Cuisine Jake Abbott that rotates quarterly. It allows guests to taste and experience the most popular dishes on the à la carte menu, with each dish perfectly complementing each other. “We want to create a dining experience rivaling what is in New York and Miami, but do it at a level that I don’t think anyone is doing here in Fort Lauderdale,” Linder says. “It’s been a huge hit and success and we just want to continue to elevate and perfect everything with the entire dining experience.”

3. ELEVATING FORT LAUDERDALE’S RESTAURANT SCENE: As Abbott began crafting the five-course tasting menu, he set out to raise the standard of dining in the area to rival the finest dining in the country. One bite into the first course, and it was clear he delivered on the goal with a perfect fusion of Italian and Mediterranean flavors oozing out of the multiple-restaurant venue. Combining SFL Hospitality Group’s commitment to service, food and location with Abbott’s extensive experience in New York City’s Michelin-starred restaurants made for a fine-dining experience not easily replicated in Fort Lauderdale. From the impeccable service to the exquisite flavors and presentation, every aspect of the meal exceeds expectations, making Val+tino a genuine Fort Lauderdale gem in the culinary world.

4. FIVE-COURSE DELIVERY: The first course featured a tender Amberjack fish paired beautifully with a tangy sweetness that set the standard for a night of Fort Lauderdale’s finest dining. The second course offered a mouthwatering tortelli with brown butter and sage for a genuine masterpiece concoction. The pasta nearly melted with each bite for a heavenly combination. The next item was a crisp and flaky grouper topped with a rich “Billi Bi” curry sauce that provided a spicy touch. The fourth course featured a succulent duck breast that was expertly cooked to tender perfection. A sweet potato puree and tangy soy glaze brought a distinct flavor. Finally, the coconut dessert was the perfect ending to an unforgettable meal. The refreshing pineapple and pavana sorbet provided a sweet and satisfying conclusion to an evening filled with culinary delights. 

5. WINE AND DINE: As if the culinary tasting couldn’t get any better, each bite was perfectly complemented by an extensive wine list selected by Stephan Cole, a veteran sommelier. With over 125 bottles to choose from, the skilled and knowledgeable sommelier on the floor made the selection process simple, which enhanced the night’s offerings. 


  • If you’re not in the mood for a full five-course meal, Val+tino’s extensive à la carte menu has plenty of options. The foie gras with huckleberry, pistachio and violet is a must-try dish from the appetizer section. The entree selection includes creative pasta dishes and various fish and meat options.
  • Val+tino is open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 
  • Along with an extensive wine list, the cocktail menu features six distinct concoctions and three mocktails for non-alcohol drinkers.

Photo credit: Schneider Photography & Film

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