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Valentino’s Cucina Italiana

Valentino’s has landed on many best-restaurant lists in Fort Lauderdale over the years. But it also remained something of a secret, tucked away as it was in a Federal Highway strip mall. A move across the street will now also land it on a list of the city’s most beautiful locations, with a dining room dominated by stone and wood and an open kitchen that’s lit by studio-style lights. Chef and owner Giovanni Rocchio has cultivated a love-him-or-hate-him following, but many swear by his cooking, which includes a roasted beet salad, tortelli with butternut squash and crushed amaretto cookies, Sunday gravy with short ribs, and a veal chop stuffed with prosciutto. Rocchio worked his way up from washing dishes, and this new space could help define him as one of Fort Lauderdale’s premiere chefs.