The bar: Il Bellagio, CityPlace, West Palm Beach
The scene:Tutta bella, Il Bellagio. A five-month renovation of CityPlace’s original anchor restaurant has banished its former rustic Italiano look in favor of sleek, modern style with yellow walls and big, red glass light fixtures that hover above like suspended works of art. If you’d like a special someone to see you in your best light, sit at the new onyx bar after sunset, when its interior LED lights impart a golden glow. The restaurant’s newest iteration, which re-opened in December, takes full advantage of its premier site at the edge of the fountain plaza with a wall of folding doors that fully open to the outside.
The drink: Italian lemon drop martini, Happy Hour priced at $5. Not too sweet, not too tart, this limoncello-laced concoction is the right compliment to one of the luscious cheese-filled Happy Hour appetizers, like risotto balls stuffed with an ooze of fresh mozzarella.
The bar bites: In a word, divine. Il Bellagio grinds its own meat, cures its own beef for carpaccio and makes its own fresh sauces, which shows up in homemade flavors. Plus, several appetizers, including the chicken Milanese, meatball sliders and the crespolini, a light crepe filled with spinach, chicken and ricotta in a bechamel sauce approached entree-size portions.
The deals: Nine appetizers and 14 cocktails plus house wine are $5 each during Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, from 3 to 7 p.m.
Info: Il Bellagio, 600 S. Rosemary Ave. (at CityPlace’s main plaza, by the fountain), West Palm Beach; 561-659-6160; IlBellagioCityPlace.com.
C O C K T A I L
Italian Lemon Drop Martini
In a shaker of ice, pour:
3 ounces Sobieski Vodka Cytron
3 ounces limoncello
A splash of 7-Up or Sprite
Shake, then strain into a martini glass with a sugared rim.