Tartini, the “Pizza & Spaghetteria” in the unofficially designated SoSoDo district, near Belle Isle on South Orange Avenue, has gone through several changes in its nine years, including ownership and, at one point in 2016, a closing.
But today, Tartini is back and serving some of the best Italian food around, and not just in this culinarily starved part of town but in all of Orlando.
The Pizza & Spaghetteria part of its name doesn’t quite give a full accounting of the menu here, though pizza is still a forte, as it always was, thanks to its unique oven that rotates and lifts the pies through the wood-fired heat to create a perfect pizza in under two minutes.
This weekend – May 20, to be exact – marks the 10th anniversary of Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in Maitland, and chef/owner Francesco Aiello plans to celebrate a decade of success. On Friday and Saturday, the popular restaurant will feature live music, much food and toasts to those who have supported Aiello and his crew over the years.
Brazas Chicken, the SoDo restaurant that recently opened a second location in the Marketplace at Avalon Park, is moving to a larger space, in Avalon Park’s Downtown II building. Brazas originally opened in 2006 in what was then known as the Fort Gatlin Shopping Center. That complex is now home to Gatlin Hall Brewing, Frenchie’s Wood-fired Pizza, Willy’s Original, Buttercrust Pizza, The Porch South Orange and most recently That Wing Spot.
Brazas Chicken’s owner, Franco Del Solar, lives in Avalon Park and was one of the opening vendors of the Marketplace. He’ll move his popular Peruvian poultry to the new space, with 1,769 square feet, next month.
Chefs and restaurateurs in Orlando, Miami and Tampa will learn June 9 whether they’ve made the cut for the first Florida Michelin Guide. The announcements will be made at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lake at 6:30 p.m.
Representatives of the fabled guide will reveal which restaurants earned one, two or the ultimate three stars or a Bib Gourmand designation, sort of a Miss Congeniality category for restaurants not quite up to star status. (The Bib Gourmand award is named for the puffy Michelin Man mascot, whose official name is Bibendum. Who knew?)
Also at the June 9 ceremony, the Sommelier of the Year and Exceptional Cocktails Awards will be presented.
Spoleto Italian Kitchen, the Brazilian franchise that entered the U.S. market in 2015 with a location near UCF then closed all Central Florida shops early in the pandemic, is returning with a restaurant at the Marketplace at Avalon Park. It is expected to start assembling pasta dishes in July. Since October, Spoleto has been working out of the Dollins Food Hall ghost kitchen.
The chain – originally known as Spoleto – My Italian Kitchen – was started in 1999 in Rio de Janeiro and opened its first restaurant in the United States in Orlando in 2015 on University Boulevard. It was an assemblage concept that had the customer choose the type of pasta, sauces and other ingredients to be added to a bowl by a staff member behind the line.
The Avalon restaurant will be the chain’s 344th location.
Padrino’s, the upscale Cuban cafe that opened in the Hunters Creek area in 2009, has closed that location. Five other locations remain in South Florida, from whence it came.