by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
As one of my all-time favorite places for breakfast in Vero, I was really excited for the opportunity to review Baci again. Last year my friend and guest blogger, Eden Collona wrote the review and I was a bit jealous because the food and experience we had was so amazing. The items on the menu are truly unique and tend to have funky names and a story behind them. Getting to meet the owner, Karen Scott Fulchini was another highlight of my first visit. Her warm greeting makes you feel like you are family and dining in her own home. If you have an opportunity to sit down and dine with Karen, I highly recommend you do. Her stories alone are worth the time to have a meal with her.
Located in Downtown Vero just off 14th Avenue in a strip mall, Baci is in the corner between the new VB American Bar & Grill (review coming soon) and Carmine & Lucia’s (review). Parking is somewhat limited depending on the time of day you arrive, but there is street parking if you cannot find any spots in the parking lot. While the inside air-conditioned space is limited, they do have an outdoor patio that has lots of space. Even in the heat of summer, its shaded and lots of fans to keep the air moving. The inside is nicely decorated and Italian inspired. The staff does not seem to change that often, so it’s nice getting to know them and seeing them again each time you visit.
Now on to the food! Let’s jump right in and see what I had to eat!
Insalata Antipasti – ($13.00) – As someone who follows a very low carb diet at home, it’s nice to see a restaurant offer this as an option for someone like me. The antipasti platter includes shaved prosciutto, genoa salami, mortadella, fresh mozzarella, provolone, and fire roasted peppers. Portion size was large and quite the bargain for the quality of meats and cheeses served. Two of my favorites on the platter were the mortadella and the fresh mozzarella. They were both superb! The fire roasted peppers were soft, sweet, garlicky, and went perfectly with the taralli croutons served alongside.
Fried Polenta Fingers – ($8.00) – We got our first taste of these at the Bacon Festival and immediately fell in love with them. While these don’t have bacon in them, they do have parmesan cheese and are wonderful! They have a certain richness to them, and the more you eat, the better the flavor gets. You get two sauce options, either the tomato basil gravy or the spicy Italian pesto dipping sauce. We had the Italian pesto sauce and it was a perfect match with the polenta.
Shrimp Emanuela – ($13.00) – The polenta at Baci seems to be taking a starring role lately due to customer request. I know because I’m one of the customers that have requested it several times in other dishes and not just in the Primavera Benedict. This dish was the inspiration of Chef Amy and she insisted we try it even though we just had the polenta fingers. It contains two of the same polenta cakes that they use in the benedict and are topped with garlic butter shrimp, served over a bed of fresh spinach, and garnished with shaved parmesan cheese. Additional garlic butter sauce was served alongside. Such simple ingredients, yet they work so well together. It was so good!
Peasant Grits Pot – ($10.00) – If you are really hungry, then might I suggest you give this one a try? The pot is filled about a 1/3 of the way with their wonderful creamy grits, then topped with sautéed spinach, bacon, pimento cheese, two eggs cooked to order, and chopped chives as a garnish. I ordered my eggs sunny side up because I figured the runny yolk would further enhance this dish. The grits were nice and creamy, the bacon was crispy, and the eggs were perfectly cooked sunny side up. It was delicious!
Holy Cannoli Pancakes – ($10.00) – HOLY CANNOLI BATMAN!!! This right here is why I say that Baci is different. Where else can you find something like this on the menu in Vero? It’s made with 2 pancakes, with the top one folded back and stuffed with cannoli filling. It’s then topped with more filling, a strawberry then drizzled with some chocolate sauce, and dusted with powdered sugar. The pancakes were light and fluffy and I was surprised that it was not as rich as I thought it would be with all the cannoli filling. What does make it rich is the chocolate sauce, so they only put a little bit over the top for garnish and give you a side of it so you can add as much as you desire.
Why do I love Baci so much? Because it’s different, and in this case, different is good. While they do still have some classic Italian dishes on the menu, they also don’t follow the rules of what an Italian restaurant is expected to serve and have created some truly unique dishes. While spaghetti may have had a hand in building this place, stuffing it into a gigantic meatball and covering it with Sunday gravy is what keeps people coming back time and time again.
Have you tried Baci Trattoria? What has your experience been with them? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.
Atmosphere – 5 Forks
Service – 5 Forks
Food – 5 Forks
Rating Scale Legend:
1 to 5 Forks – 1 Bad to 5 Excellent
Address: 1918 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960
Open Daily from 7:00am – 3:00pm