Friday, June 13, 2008

Is Europa in Europe?

I had lunch with a co-worker today at Cafe Europa on Las Olas Boulevard. This staple of "The Boulevard" has been around for a number of years. The location is par excellence. Right on the main drag of Las Olas and perfectly positioned to people watch while enjoying your meal. It also has the reputation of being a reasonably priced restaurant for this area.

The lunch menu was limited but the regular menu was available. We were offered to sit outside in the ninety degree heat at high noon, which we politely declined. Inside the place was bustling. The atmosphere was a bit chaotic and loud.

On the menu today was a Meatball Parmigiana Panini, and a Meat Stromboli paired with some iced tea for the heat. The meatballs were firm, small and tasty. The bread was fresh, toasted perfectly, and slathered with mozzarella. This was drenched in their house marinara sauce which was simply scrumptious. The sandwich was good on it's own merits but come on, it's a meatball sub, right? Adding their marinara sauce made the difference pushing it over the edge from an average sandwich to a masterpiece. The stromboli was also very good, the ingredients fresh and the dough thin and not filling. On the side was served a generous portion of that magic sauce. The stromboli didn't need it. The peppers, onion, sausage, and cheese were blended nicely into a not-too-filling gastronomic experience.

The service was adequate, nothing to write home about, but not bad. The rest of menu looked good and the pizza looked like it was worth a mention. The prices were reasonable for The Boulevard, $9 for a Panini, and $10 for a Stromboli. They tag you with an 18% gratuity, so don't over tip.

Normally, this place is a people watching mecca for the cost conscious. The view, the food, the aura of Las Olas. It's nice to see Cafe Europa keeping up with the quality of the food. Good job Cafe Europa. I will be back.

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