By Stacey Bomser
Zona Blu just celebrated its second anniversary with a “Cena Sarda”, a seven-course Sardinian dinner with perfectly paired wines. While the party may be over, the Sardinian-style Italian restaurant remains the toast of the town, continually racking up awards and accolades. Although still in its infancy when you consider the region it’s from is known for longevity, Zona Blu has garnered quite a reputation in two short years.
“It was a huge honor to be named one of the top five new restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties by City & Shore magazine last year,” states Deborah Marras Bautista, who co-owns Zona Blu with her sister, Sheila Marras David, and Executive Chef Andrea Fadda. “In addition, we are a two-time Our City Weston Best of Weston winner, named Best Italian Restaurant in Weston for 2017. We also recently earned the coveted Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for 2017.”
Bautista says what’s most rewarding is the praise they get from patrons. Zona Blu has developed a culinary cult following since it opened, with diners coming from all over to sample the Sardinian-style specialties.
“Chef Fadda takes great pride in creating dishes that are not typically known outside of Sardinia, such as Fregola, a broth-based, saffron-infused soup with Sardinian couscous and mixed seafood,” explains Bautista. “Our best-selling dish is Spaghetti al Cartoccio. This features spaghetti mixed with seafood in a fresh tomato sauce covered with a thin layer of pizza dough and baked to perfection in our wood-burning oven.”
If you really want to tempt your taste buds, Bautista recommends trying Zona Blu’s newest dinner entrée, Coniglio alla Contadina. It’s a natural domestic rabbit marinated 24-hours in Sardinian Cannonau wine, roasted and then baked in a rustic tomato sauce and served with a side of roasted potatoes.
Another one of the house specialties is the Spaghetti alla Ruota, although you won’t find this one on the menu. “Well known among our regulars, this special dish can be ordered upon request,” shares Bautista. “It features a giant wheel of hollowed-out Parmiagiano Reggiano cheese, aged 36 months and imported from Italy. The server prepares the featured pasta of the day table-side inside the scraped-out cheese round, tossing it until the pasta is absorbed by the cheese. One taste and you’ll see why we can’t keep this a secret!”
All of these dishes pair deliciously with Zona Blu’s extensive wine list. Bautista says it boasts more than 100 varietals from all regions, with a focus on Italy, California, and of course, Sardinia.
“Our signature selections are two wines from Sardinia – the Cannonau red and Vermentino white. We’re also really excited about our new Coravin serving system, which allows us to pour a selection of higher end wines by the glass, while perfectly preserving the rest of the bottle. It’s a great option for diners to enjoy a glass of expensive wine, without committing to purchasing an entire bottle.”
Customer convenience is also evident in Zona Blu’s Executive and Super Executive lunch options, which feature a selection of starters and entrees perfectly paired for a quick and delicious midday meal. The prices are an exceptional value at $13.99 or $15.99. For those seeking a lighter bite, why not try one of the new lunch salad options including the Mediterranean Zona Blu Salad, the Tropical Zona Blu Salad, or the Super Healthy Zona Blu Salad; all three can be made with grilled certified organic chicken or shrimp.
Freshness is one of the standards of Sardinian cuisine. “Sardinia is a Blue Region, one of the few places on earth where people often live to be over 100 years old, and the cuisine is often cited as playing a part in their longevity,” notes Bautista. “Our restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients, organic whenever possible, with daily deliveries of meat, seafood, produce and dry goods. We earned the prestigious Ospitalita Italiana (Quality Approved) seal, signifying that our Italian cuisine is authentic, made with real Italian imported ingredients of the highest quality.”
All dishes are prepared by Zona Blu’s creative culinary team of Executive Chef and Co-owner Andrea Fadda and Executive Chef and General Manager Marco De Simone. Both are graduates of prestigious Italian cooking schools and have traveled the world perfecting their craft. Their passions for fine food are evident in everything they prepare.
This passion extends to the private functions Zona Blu hosts. Bautista says the upscale yet intimate restaurant is the perfect place to host a special event. “From wedding receptions and birthday parties to holiday and corporate functions, our chefs can customize a menu for any party from ten to over 70 guests.” It also offers extensive catering options.
“Whether it be in your home or our restaurant, the hallmark of Sardinian hospitality is welcoming people to the table,” states Bautista. “At Zona Blu, we strive to make every guest feel as if he or she stepped into a quaint restaurant in Italy to join friends and family for a rustic, authentic meal. So, please, join us, sit down and enjoy a meal and toast: A Kent Annos!, to 100 years!”
Zona Blu is located in the Shoppes on the Green at 189 Weston Road, behind Walgreens. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30am to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:30am to 11pm. To make a reservation for parties of 6 or more, please call 954-617-7999. To learn more or to view the menu