foodWelcome to Scott Joseph's Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

The Foodsters are an ongoing program to recognize and celebrate culinary excellence in Central Florida. The Foodsters are open to any business with three or fewer locations -- no chains.

Winners are chosen by you, with your vote. Make your selection in each category carefully -- only one vote is allowed per person.

You may nominate a restaurant for an appropriate category, but make sure it isn't already in the list of nominees. And remember: independent restaurants only.

Best Italian 2018

on on .

La Luce logo

La Luce, the Hilton at Bonnet Creek restaurant created by the late Donna Scala, has been voted Best Italian in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.

Stefano’s Trattoria in Winter Springs took second place and Maitland’s Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria was third. Only two votes separated those two restaurants.

Nancy Brundage wrote, “La Luce has a fantastic wine list, awesome pizza, great salad choices and appetizers, delicious entrees that taste as great as they are beautiful and decadent desserts all in an\ casually elegant atmosphere. The service staff is very knowledgeable and eager to make your experience a memorable one. I’d give it 3 thumbs up but I only have 2 thumbs.”

In placing her vote, Tina Raditz said, “Stefano's Trattoria is my favorite all time restaurant.” And Vance Maiorana wrote, “Stefano’s, best food, best atmosphere, best people.”

“Francesco’s,” Marcy Birnberg Kast wrote, “is consistently excellent. The food is delicious, the portions are generous, the presentation is lovely, the atmosphere is warm, the servers, hosts and Francesco himself are friendly and accommodating, and the prices are reasonable. Bottom line, Francesco’s checks all the boxes!”

This category proved to be a popular one, and many voters left passionate notes about their choices. Some particularly heated exchanges dealt with Stefano’s and its relationship to Nonno’s in Longwood, which came in fourth in the poll. Stefano’s Trattoria was previously owned by Stefano LaCommare, who is now with Nonno’s. Some commenters wondered if voters knew that the ownership of the Winter Springs restaurant had changed. Others said they knew but still preferred Stefano’s.

But the outcome has one positive note: Central Florida has a lot of very good Italian Restaurants.

Don’t forget to nominate your favorite restaurant for Best Burger here.


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