Steps away from Fort Lauderdale’s salt-spritzing Atlantic lies Hotel Maren’s Riviera by Fabio Viviani. Inspired by Italy’s coastlines, this new 200-seat restaurant blends the country’s seafood-inspired dishes with an innovative beverage program. Florence-born chef Fabio Viviani (of Top Chef fame) guarantees all ingredients are made fresh in-house or purchased within a 100-mile radius. “We are targeting an Italian palate with an international flair,” says Viviani. “Our food is meant to be eaten, and it also makes for a pretty picture.”
Of note are specialties such as the charred octopus with crispy potatoes and the tuna poke with toasted sesame, avocado crème, and sriracha. Heartier options arrive in the form of braised lamb shanks with whipped feta, topped with charred grapes and a fregola and pistachio gremolata. Then there’s the not-to-be-missed squid ink lumache: Shell-shaped pasta mingles with frutti di mare (mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari) in a light broth of heirloom tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and polpa di ricci (sea urchin roe). You’ll want to save room for the decadent, three-layer pistachio cake complete with meringue and a white chocolate crunch.