We have lived in Florida for 12 years, eat out regularly, and know and love good food. This is the best restaurant we know of in Florida. We've been to Cafe Ponte twice. The food, presentation and service are all exceptional. Don't let the mall setting fool you. That's Florida. Inside it is a different world. On both visits our waiters were amiable, knowledgeable, and forthcoming, but not obsequious or intrusive. There were four in the party each time my wife and I were there, and each time we all had the $36 three-course, fixed-price option, which is clearly the way to go if you can get there between 5:30 and 6:30, the time it is offered. Unlike many places, you can order anything from the appetizer and entree menu as well as specials (upcharge on five or six items) and you have a choice of three desserts. The meal starts with a tiny cup of a delicious mushroom bisque for everyone. My shrimp cocktail appetizer had four gigantic shrimp with two distinctive dipping sauces. No bottled cocktail sauce here. Others' crab and asparagus salads were very generous and pronounced exceptional. The stand out entree was a tempura fried butterfish, but everything was excellent, perhaps with the exception of one person's boulllabaisse, in which the fish was described as a bit "fishy". All three desserts were chosen and all got raves, though the winner was the beautifully presented quartet of sorbets. The pacing of presentation was perfect. I won't comment on the wine list because I am no expert, but our modestly priced chardonnay was very nice. A complimentary chocolate completed a perfect evening. The place was mostly full on a summer weeknight, but not at all noisy. Bravo! I've already got my selections for the next trip picked out.
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