Mambo Italiano at 15 South by Napule

Good Bite

The Torta Ricotta E Pistacchio from 15 South by Napule. Photo by Laura Paquette.

Local restauranteur Alessandro Di Ferdinando is on a mission to breathe new life into the building that once housed the former 15 South Ristorante Enoteca. He used to own Made in Italy in Venice and Napulé with former business partner Giuseppe Del Sole. Today he owns Napulé and the new 15 South by Napulé. In April, Di Ferdinando officially opened 15 South by Napulé on St. Armands, where he has combined his passion for Italian cuisine, music and dancing to create an exciting dining destination.

Di Ferdinando has partnered with his longtime friend and Executive Chef Giancarlo Cosmo Di and Pizza Chef Antonio Mancini for this project. The two-story restaurant is rustic and understated, with a few glitzy touches, like a gold-tiled wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy. The open kitchen gives diners an up-close view of Pizza Chef Mancini at work. Upstairs, guests will find a bar, club and dance floor.

The menu offers guests a variety of Italian delights. To start, Di Ferdinando recommends the Meat and Cheese Board which features imported products from top Italian brands. “We decided to add some vegetables too, so you can get meat, cheese and vegetables, like grilled zucchini, grilled artichokes and red peppers roasted and marinated in parsley and garlic. It can be a small one for two or a big one for four people,” he adds. “With that, you’ll be able to eat our homemade bread that we bake every morning in the wood-burning oven. It’s ‘Grandma-style.’ They used to cook this way hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with an oven and fire.”

For the main event, pizza and pasta are equally good choices. The Ravioli Cacio E Pepe All’Amatriciana combines two classic Italian sauces into one dish. The ravioli are bursting with the cheesy and peppery filling which contrasts well with the spicy tomato sauce. “The pizza is amazing,” adds Di Ferdinando. “It takes 90 seconds to cook. It’s thin-crusted and Neapolitan style. The wood fire oven goes anywhere from 750 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Those who save room for dessert are in for a sweet surprise. The Torta Ricotta E Pistacchio, a layered pistachio cake, is a light and flavorful end to any meal as well as a feast for the eyes. In the near future, 15 South by Napulé will launch more new menu items, like Fried Calamari and Zucchini and a Pappardelle Pasta with saffron cream sauce, homemade sausage and zucchini. Whether guests are in the mood for a sweet treat or mouthwatering pasta, they should look no further than 15 South by Napulé.

15 South by Napulé, 15 South Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-867-8081, 15south.net.

The Torta Ricotta E Pistacchio from 15 South by Napule. Photo by Laura Paquette.

15 South by Napule

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