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Posted on: April 19, 2017

Popular South Florida Chef Opens Allegria Ristorante in Downtown Hollywood

Renowned local Chef Gianni Sposato's culinary journey has taken him from his native Italy to Canada to Fort Lauderdale and now to Downtown Hollywood, where he recently opened Allegria Ristorante with business partner Alain Pageau.

Allegria, which opened March 22 at 2009 Harrison Street, offers patrons a fine dining experience featuring authentic Italian cuisine.

"Everything is homemade the same day with the highest quality ingredients," said Cristina Falcone, Allegria's manager and Sposato's wife. "About 50 percent of our ingredients are imported from Italy."

Falcone said Allegria is already getting rave reviews – and repeat business – from diners who appreciate the excellent food as well as the chef who creates it.

"Gianni's very well known as a chef, and has a lot of followers," she said.

At 15 years old, Sposato was running a pizzeria in Italy, and then had his own Italian restaurant in Montreal. After relocating to Hollywood in 2009, Sposato worked for six years at a well-known Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, where he developed a successful concept that expanded to multiple locations, Falcone said.

"He started very young in Italy as a pizza maker. He has cooking in his blood," she said.

Allegria's entrée selections ($18 to $42) include Chilean sea bass oreganata, 12-oz. beef bone-in tenderloin, and veal ossobuco braised in a light tomato sauce.

Pasta dishes ($14 to $22) include rigatoni Bolognese, linguini with clams and white wine sauce, and orecchiette with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. Allegria also serves calzones ($12 to $14) and a variety of pizzas starting at $10. Gluten-free pasta and pizza are available upon request ($2 and $3 additional, respectively).

The menu also features appetizers ($9 to $14) including spinach- and ricotta cheese-stuffed eggplant rollatini and fried calamari with shrimp & zucchini; classic Caesar, caprese and other salads ($6 to $12); and minestrone soup, pasta e fagioli and lobster bisque ($6 to $10). The dessert selection ($5 to $7) includes tiramisu, cannoli and crème brulée.

Allegria offers a full liquor bar, a selection of red and white wines, and a variety of specialty coffees.

A Hollywood resident since 1998, Falcone said the city's historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district is the perfect location for Allegria, whose name translates to "joy and happiness."

"It's beautiful and we love it," Falcone said. "We can see so much happening. Increased foot traffic, new development and new businesses are opening. We are excited and proud to be part of the Downtown Hollywood business community."

Allegria Ristorante is open for dinner from 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Dinner reservations are recommended for groups of six people or more. The 4,100-square-foot restaurant is open at lunchtime for corporate luncheons or special events. Facility amenities include two huge screens for presentations.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Allegria Ristorante is scheduled for May 24. For more information, call 954-613-5502, visit AllegriaRistorante.com or email info@AllegriaRistorante.com.

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