Last Update: Nov 14th, 2019
Bravo Closed

Bravo Italiano Ristorante

1515 SE 17th St
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33316
(954) 523-9441
Overall Rating
Last Review


Hours: M-Th 11:30-10pm, Fri 11:30-11pm, Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 5-10pm
Attire: Neat Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outside Dining: Yes
Reservations: Yes
Delivery: No


Nice, Casual Dining Room
Good Lunch Prices


Chain Quality Food Preparation
Clunky Service

Critic's Review

Review 11/9/15

Bravo Fort Lauderdale

I was going to try Hemmingway's today, but when I got there and found out it was an Italian restaurant, I changed my mind. So naturally I ended up at Bravo on my way home.

Bravo is Carrabba's with a more traditional menu. Bravo was opened in 1998 by a couple of investors from Dallas; local Russell Dixon took it over in 2010. I wonder if he anticipated that Carrabba's would be opening across the street? In case you were wondering, this place is NOT part of the Bravo! Brio chain, which is owned by a Middle Eastern guy.

On a perfect 85 degree day, the outside space is empty. It's not the best patio in the city with the resin furniture.

Bravo Italiano Patio

A few years ago, you couldn't get in here at lunch time, particular with the boat show still in town. Today, it's an afterthought. Carrabba's has build a nice, new restaurant across the street. Everyone knows what Carrabba's is; and nobody knows what Bravo is.

My first time here I sat at the bar. Today the place was dead empty at 2pm.

Bravo Italiano Bar

They have mini-booths; it's really a pretty nice dining room. Sort of like Carrabba's. Carrabba's originated in Texas, before Outback bought the brand. Coincidence?

Bravo Italiano Interior

They gave me a menu when I sat down, but the prices seemed higher than my recollection. "Is there a lunch menu", I asked. "That is the lunch menu". Prices are up $1 to $3 since my last visit. Things look more expensive in double digits.

My server racked off a bunch of specials without the prices; WHEN are restaurants going to learn to include the price when they tell you the specials? They used to have a $7.95 special, but who knows if they still do? What's the used of having a special if you don't tell people the details. Hence, the empty dining room.

I just ordered a tea and scanned the extensive lunch menu. I asked for extra lemon, but the enormous cup was delivered with one mini-wedge. Even if I didn't ask for extra, is this really the right size lemon for a 24oz cup?

Bravo Italiano Iced Tea

I ordered the Eggplant, because I hadn't had it here since my first visit many years ago. It comes with a soup or salad; one of the soup choices was "Chipotle Clam Chowder". Really? I wonder whose idea that was. I ordered a salad.

Strangely, they don't have straight Italian dressing. I had to get creamy italian, because the other choices had balsamic. The salad came out in a few minutes.

Bravo Italiano Lunch Side Salad

A pretty lame salad. 1 grape tomato, 1 black olive, unsliced, and 1/2 slice of cucumber. A salad by a restaurant that has stopped trying.

Garlic rolls are included with lunch. I tasted them but they were uninteresting. I've never quite gotten the garlic roll thing; they're big with people who don't eat out much.

Bravo Italiano Garlic Rolls

Music here makes no sense: MG Beat followed by Soul Groove's "Papa was a rolling stone". Minnie Ripperton. #Ridiculous

The eggplant came out in 15 minutes.

Bravo Italiano Lunch Eggplant

They made the eggplant in a big pan here, the same way they did in 2009. With the spaghetti and the salad and the rolls, It's plenty of food for $13.95.

The sauce had sort of a dairy taste, like a cream or vodka sauce might have; it didn't taste like a marinara or tomato basil; rendering the spaghetti a waste of calories. The eggplant was find; well constructed without seeds or skin, but no flavors really popping at me.

Bravo Italiano Eggplant Parmesan

When you make eggplant in a loaf it doesn't absorb the garlic and the oil that can give this dish it's great flavors. Eggplant parm is all over the spectrum; this was fine but nothing I'd rush back to have again.

As happened last time I was here, servers were singing the 70s tunes, so it was time to cash out. No refill on the iced tea but with the Giant Cup that's acceptable.

A pleasant $17 lunch on par with Carrabba's.


Frankly, I wonder how Bravo survives. Not because it's that bad, but because it's right across the street for the better marketed and better priced Carrabba's. Tourist who might have wandered in here in yesteryear are now more likely to go to the more familiar Carrabba's. The recipes here are more traditional, but the food is prepared with chain restaurant quality. It's just not good enough to lure me in from Carrabba's who have a nice bar, better TVs and bread, and a better overall ambiance.


Bravo is like a chain restaurant that isn't really a chain. The thing is, there's only one of them; but it has all of the properties of a chain. With a chain, usually it's the bean counters eroding away all of the things that were good about a place (think Timpano's); here it's just age. The owners probably just don't care anymore.

The first thing I didn't like is that after the lunch rush, they seem to seat everyone in the front corner by the door, as if they don't want to mess up the rest of the restaurant. The point of eating a late lunch is to get some privacy and to not get stuffed at a bad table; so in a big empty restaurant they seat everyone at bad tables without any privacy. Convenient for them, which is the way most restaurants operate, unfortunately.

Bravo Bar

But you do get a full meal here for about $10 at lunch time, so at least it's a good deal. They have a fish special for $7.95, but I had that the last time. I also had the eggplant way back when, and I didn't care for that. So I decided to try the Chicken Scarpariello; go bold I thought. I ordered some iced tea; it comes with soup or salad and a side; I got cream of broccoli and steamed vegetables.

Bravo Tea and Rolls

I asked for extra lemon but I guess he didn't hear me. I asked again and he brought me some ends that didn't have much juice. The guy had no real interest in serving me. I continue to not be impressed with garlic rolls; these were as good as any other, but not worth the blood sugar effect to me. The soup came out immediately.

Bravo Cream of Broccoli

I'm sorry, but pureed broccoli is not cream of broccoli. Not terrible, but not very good either.

Ambiance here was strained mainly because of the lady at the table next to me talking on her phone, servers singing along with the music and people yelling at each other in Italian across the room.

Before I could check the latest on A-Rod, the chicken was placed in front of me.

Bravo chicken scarpariello

There are a lot of variations of this dish; the menu says that it has black olives but I didn't anticipate gaeta olives; I don't like them. They use boneless chicken which is fine with me, but the dish was largely flavorless. The server warned me that it was spicy, but it wasn't. The sausage didn't even taste like sausage. No noticeable garlic. Just a bunch of stuff in a bland sauce.

It comes with a bowl of steamed vegetables; very benign stuff. I had to ask for butter. Like the soup, not terrible but not very good either.

Bravo Vegetables Side

Another ho-hum lunch in Fort Lauderdale.

Review 11/18/2011

From the outside, Bravo looks like a fancy restaurant, but its really not. The rustic decor reminds of me of Carrabbas. There's a bar in the back with a TV and about 8 chairs, and wooden tables throughout the fairly large space. The interior is pretty nice; there are big murals on the wall that give the place a nice feel.

Bravo inside

On my first visit here a couple of years ago, I sat at the bar and had the eggplant parmesan, and I wasn't too impressed. It was cut from a loaf and just not that good. The garlic rolls here are all the chatter; but I didn't find them as good as described. They're very garlicky and cheesy, but I can't get excited about food that I'm not really supposed to eat.

Bravo rolls

I decided to get the whole dining experience this time and sit at a table; I usually dine late to avoid the crowds, but I was out early today so I got here about 12:30. The place was mobbed, with groups of people waiting outside for tables. Luckily they had a small table available. I ordered a sparkling water (they have Sole here) and took a peek at the menu. My server informed me that the Catch of the Day was Flounder and Salmon; I've been thinking about why restaurants serve crappy, expensive grouper instead of flounder lately; and it was only $7.95.

I had seen a menu previously and decided that I wanted the grilled calamari appetizer; I ordered that and the Flounder special. The fish includes soup or salad; I opted for the Pasta fagioli.

Bravo soup

The soup is mostly beans, which is fine with me. There were only little bits of pasta in it. It wasn't particularly tasty; sort of like a cup of beans in broth. Beans fit my diet so I ate them with a purpose.

Things were a bit slow between courses; there were a lot of people having leisurely lunches like they didn't have to be back at work at any particular time. I don't think I'd come here if I was in a hurry.

The calamari came out and I was surprised by both the portion size, and the preparation.

Bravo calamari

This sort of preparation is much "healthier" than the fried kind, but I expected more of a tomato sauce. This was more like it was just grilled and then tossed in with some peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. I never think of pairing calamari with mushrooms or peppers. There was also some stringy stuff that I wasn't sure whether it was edible or garnish. They also gave me a lemon that wouldn't have fit in this dish at all. I ended up eating about half of it and I took the rest home; I'll throw it in a spicy tomato sauce and it will be better.

After another 5 minutes or so, the fish was served.

Bravo flounder

I was wondering if I was going to get a minuscule portion for only $7.95, but this was fine. If I was eating the pasta it would have been a lot of food. I tasted the pasta; eh. But the vegetables were cooked just right and the fish was nicely seasoned so that I didn't have to add any salt or pepper. Considering it comes with soup and rolls, it's a pretty darn good value.

What I like about Bravo is that their menu is extensive and it's filled with classic italian dishes, unlike Carrabba's and Brio that try to get fancy with their own creations. They also have a lunch thats 20% or more less expensive than dinner, and they give you plenty of food. It's not the best Italian restaurant in town, but it's a comfortable place to eat and enjoy some decent food.

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