Wild Pacific Salmon Filet, Zuppa Di Pesce, Penne Short Rib, Skirt Steak, Tagliolini Shrimp & Clams, Penne Alla Vodka, Chicken Marsala, Risotto, Lasagna, Lemon Chicken, Prosciuto Mozzerella, Meatball Parmagiana and More

Cinque Terre's unassuming setting on Nova Drive in Davie belies the talents of chef Aldo Marcon.

Born and trained in Italy, he worked in New York and then New Orleans, where the storied restaurant he bought into, La Riviera in Metairie, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He left Louisiana for Miami, where he cheffed at several Italian spots, including Quattro Gastronomia Italiana on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. It was there that he met future wife Luisa Betancur, who was waitressing at Quattro's next-door pizzeria.

Aldo, Luisa and her brother, Daniel, opened Cinque Terre 17 months ago in a plaza that is about as far from Lincoln Road as you can get. What they brought with them is a sophisticated Italian menu mixed with friendly hospitality, the kind not so easily found in South Beach

Cinque Terre Maitre d' and owner Daniel Betancur, sous chef Rigoberto Montufar, chef-owner Aldo Marcon and general manager-owner Luisa Betancur toast their Davie restaurant, Cinque Terre. (Taimy Alvarez/Sun Sentinel)
The 73-seat dining room is decorated with amazing chalk murals by Daniel Betancurand paintings by customers who've participated in art parties at the restaurant. It was named after the famous Italian city of Cinque Terre, "the Five Lands" on the Italian Riviera, because it's an area of Italy known for its seafood, Luisa Betancur explains.

Wild Pacific salmon filet ($19) is topped with house-made pesto and served over a bed of vegetables, a nice reprieve from carb-laden pasta or risotto most often served as a side dishes in Italian restaurants. I wish I'd asked for the salmon to be cooked rare, because it was just a little too dry for my tastes.

Chicken Marsala ($17), however, was moist and tender. The chicken is organic. The sauce is classic Marsala with wild mushrooms. The accompaniment is mashed potatoes.

Desserts ($8) are made in-house and include a wonderful deconstructed tiramisu with still-crunchy ladyfingers and mascarpone mousse served with a shot of espresso and Kahlua. Lemoncello sponge cake is frosted with mascarpone mousse and covered with white-chocolate shavings. Triple-chocolate cake gets Kahlua frosting.

The crowd at Cinque Terre includes families, couples out for date night and groups celebrating big life events. That said, it's a neighborhood restaurant with wait staff in T-shirts and many guests in shorts.

The three-course price depends on which entrée you order, with five priced at $16, four priced at $19 and three at $25. All the best stuff from the regular menu is included. Yes, the beef tortellini is among the $25 offerings. It's a deal you can't beat, especially since it's also available for takeout.

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