by Thomas Miller – Food Blogger / Restaurant Critic for Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie
For my next Tasting Experience, I head over to the island and to the Pomodoro Grill! Having just reviewed Johnny D’s Market & Bistro, and knowing this restaurant is run by the same family, I knew I was in for a treat. Owner Joseph (Peppe), opened this restaurant in the mid-90’s. The siblings have been working in the restaurant industry for what seems like their whole lives, thanks in part to their family who has been operating restaurants in the area since the 1970’s. As they grew up, they decided to continue the family tradition and open their own restaurants, and thus Johnny D’s and Scampi Grill were born. Is this place as amazing as I imagined it would be? Keep reading below to find out!
Located on Cardinal Drive, just one block west of Ocean Drive, it’s on the first floor of the Atrium building. Parking on the island can be somewhat limited, but not here. They don’t open till 5:00 pm, when most of the other businesses in the Atrium building close, so they have the entire parking lot at their disposal for their customers. As you walk up to the restaurant, you enter through a gate into a courtyard where they have outdoor seating for al fresco dining. As you head inside, you are warmly greeted by the hostess and the wonderful aroma of their freshly baked garlic knots. The interior was decorated in a Tuscan trattoria style with burnt orange and tan walls, along with hand painted artwork by the owner himself. The dining room is long and narrow but did not feel cramped. We took our seats and were greeted by Amedeo, Joesph’s son who helps run the restaurant when his dad is not there. The menu is quite extensive, with lots of great options to choose from. They do offer a summer pre-fixe menu, but I believe that was ending soon.
Now let’s dive right in and see what this place has to offer and what I had to eat!
Bruschetta – ($9.95) – This is one of the most beautiful presentations of the dish I’ve seen at any restaurant in town. It’s made with slices of grilled house-made bread and topped with diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and drizzled with an EVOO basil pesto sauce. Everything was so fresh. The bread had a slight crunch on the edges, the tomatoes were sweet, the mozzarella was soft and easy to bite through, and the basil pesto added a zesty, yet somewhat nutty flavor to the dish.
Garlic Knots – These are included with your meal and are the BEST garlic knots I’ve tasted anywhere in Vero. I know that’s a bold statement, but these were perfectly baked to a golden brown and topped with parmesan cheese and lots of fresh garlic. They had a little crust, yet were light and fluffy on the inside. I can’t wait to go back and have these again!
House Salad – A house salad or soup is also included with your meal. We opted for the salad. It was made with romaine lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, and red onion. It was crisp and very fresh. You have your choice of their two house dressings, a tangy tomato basil vinaigrette, or the creamy Vidalia onion dressing. The Vidalia onion dressing was a table favorite and it’s also the same recipe used over at Johnny D’s.
Create Your Own Pizza – ($15.95) – While the size is not listed on the menu, if I had to guess, it was at least 14 – 15″ in diameter. The crust was nice and thin so it would bake quickly in their brick oven and it came out nice and crispy, just the way I like it. They have a nice selection of different cheeses, meats, grilled vegetables, and a few other specialty items to choose from.
Penne Oscar – (24.95) – We were given the option to select a few of the dinner menu items that looked most interesting and this is one that piqued our interest. Made with sauteed sea scallops, shrimp, and crab meat tossed with penne pasta and finished in a fire-roasted bell pepper puree lobster base basil cream sauce. The pasta was cooked al dente, the seafood was plentiful, and the sauce was flavorful with a slight smokiness from the fire-roasted bell pepper puree.
Angel Hair “Vidalia” – ($16.95) – We selected this one because I’ve never heard of it or seen it on any menus before. I’m not a big fan of angel hair pasta, but I was curious how the “Vidalia” onions would be incorporated into a pasta dish. It’s made with angel hair pasta and topped with sauteed Vidalia onions, sweet peas, basil, and plum tomatoes finished in a light Romano cheese broth. The pasta was cooked al dente, and the onions, while visible in the sauce, only added a subtle flavor to the dish. The sauce had a sweeter finish than I thought from the onions, peas, and the tomatoes.
Tiramisu – A true classic Italian dessert! This is the same type of dessert that I was served at my review over at Johnny D’s, so now I was curious as to which one was better. While they were both very good, Pomodoro Grill’s version was just a little bit better. They are both have coffee soaked ladyfingers layered in a glass, but Pomodoro Grill’s cream filling was a little bit sweeter, which gave it the edge in my opinion. Have you tried this dessert at both restaurants? Which one do you like better? Let me know in the comments below if you have.
I always enjoy looking back at my photos and reminiscing about the wonderful smells and the flavors I tasted at the review. When I’m at the restaurant, I’m in work mode and making sure I get the perfect shot for the article and sometimes I forget to slow down and enjoy the full experience. Everything we tasted was wonderful and so fresh. You can feel the love they put into each expertly crafted dish. From the atmosphere, the fabulous food, this is one Italian experience I highly recommend you try, because I know you won’t be disappointed!
Have you tried Pomodoro Grill in Vero Beach? 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.
Address: 3055 Cardinal Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963
Hours of Operation: Monday – Saturday, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, closed on Sunday