Bona Italian Restaurant & Pizza has occupied the rotund storefront on the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 11th Avenue since 1979. Current owners Glen Weinzimer and Mark Byrd purchased the restaurant in 2015, investing blood, sweat and tears into this thriving business.
One visit to Bona brings up childhood memories of those old-school, family-run Italian restaurants your parents used to drag you to for dinner as a kid. The menu may be old-school Italian, but Glen and Mark have certainly brought it into the new millennium with great service and a modern, chic décor. From delicious appetizers, to Bona’s house specialties, baked classics to pizza and subs…there is a little bit of everything for everybody!
The theme at Bona is “Giving Back” and it really shows in their corporate culture. Glen is highly regarded as the creator of the SMART Ride charity, a yearly bike ride from Miami to Key West, that has raised over $10 million helping people in Florida affected by and at risk for HIV/AIDS. Bona also continues its giving theme with “Give Back Mondays,” donating 10% of the sales that day to various local revolving charities.
Now for the food…I’ve been to Bona on numerous occasions and the food and service are always outstanding. This trip was no exception! I popped in on a Wednesday evening for this review, when they offer a complimentary glass of wine with the purchase of every entrée…what a deal! Once we ordered and the wine was served, a basket of those beautiful, warm pesto-garlic butter knots was brought out, piping hot, to our table. It is hard to eat just one, but I managed since I knew there was a lot more to come!
Bona offers an ever changing “soup of the day” as well as the classic Italian chili Pasta Fagioli, a play on the traditional Caprese salad made with beets instead of tomatoes, Eggplant Rollatini, Mozzarella Sticks, Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Mussels Marinara among others as appetizer selections. After some serious contemplation, my dinner companion and I shared a half dozen stuffed Clams Oregantao ($11.95), seasoned and baked with a garlic oil sauce and the lightly breaded and Fried Calamari ($11.95), served with delicious homemade marinara sauce…both a treat!
For our main courses, both Glen and our waitress suggested the Chicken Cyriac ($20.95) …spicy blackened chicken with a decadent garlic cream sauce and roasted almonds, so we gave it a whirl! We also ordered the Veal Saltimbocca ($21.95) and I have to say it was one of the best veal dishes I’ve ever had! Tender veal lightly battered and topped with prosciutto and melted, gooey mozzarella and that delicious homemade marinara. Both were great and served over pasta with a choice of a complimentary house salad or cup of soup. I really have a new favorite in the veal dish!
Also recommend by the staff is the Fazzoletti ($21.95): bitesize pasta filled with Fontina cheese and Prosciutto in a Carbonaro sauce with bacon, onion and peas. It must be very popular since they had run out by the time we ordered. I’ll be back again soon to sample one of the many pizzas, calzones, Stromboli and hot subs!
Although we had no room, you should feel free to top off your meal with one of four indulgent desserts: Tiramisu, NY-Style Cheesecake, Chocolate Mousse or Cannoli (all $6.95 each).
Thursdays are “Thirsty Thursdays” and bring half-off bottles of wine from a list of 30 plus selections. Bona also uses ten-inch pasta “straws” instead of those horrible environmentally friendly paper versions (did someone say ten inches?). After sipping on my water from it all evening, the inside became a little soft and it made a great treat to nibble on at the end of the meal…genius!
Bona is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays and Sundays. Dine in, takeout and catering are all available. Bona Italian Restaurant and Pizza is located at 2648 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, Florida. Reservations are highly recommended, especially on the weekends and available at 954-565-7222. Visit their website at Bonaitalian.com for more information on the menu and their philanthropy.