Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hollywood Vine & Cafe Volare

Trying to figure out dinner tonight. Carole stayed home from work, didn't feel well so I think the plan is to go out tonight. My plan was to take her to the Airport and have her cough on people and see how long it will take to start a global pandemic. She vetoed this so we decided to do something else.

It is Tuesday night so we decide to go to downtown Hollywood, yes we go here a lot. On Tuesday nights Hollywood Vine always has a free wine tasting. There are actually three wine bars in downtown Hollywood, all on Harrison Street. Harrison's Winebar, I have never been here. They wouldn't let me in one time because I was wearing shorts and flip flops in July in South Florida. Never tried it again. Vino, which happens to be next door to Winebar, this is one of those places that you put a card into a machine and it dispenses wine. I don't eat sandwiches out of an automat, so I don't drink wine out of one of these things either. Hollywood Vine is a great little wine bar that has a terrific selection of wines, beers, and spirits, plus cheese, olives, and other little tid-bits. This is one of those places that while Sam Malone isn't there and they don't actually know your name, you feel like they know who you are, and they know that you have visited their establishment on more than one occasion. The owner and bartender are very knowledgeable about wine, they know what they are pouring and can tell you about the grapes, the terroir, the vintage, whatever you want to know they have an answer.

Yes I look pretentious in the
bow-tie, but I like it.
The wine selection today was from the Napa region, the best was the Brassfield Eruption, a terrific meritage from the northern Napa area. After the tasting we grabbed a bottle of 2010 Predator Old Vine Zin from St. Helena and tried to figure out where to eat for dinner.

On recommendations from people drinking and working there we decided to go next door to Cafe Volare and order something and have them deliver it back to Hollywood Vine. Cafe Volare is a very small restaurant, only 4 or 5 tables inside. The owner, whose mother is Italian yet he hails from Ecuador, is warm and inviting. He tells me, "Don't look at the menu, tell me what you want to eat and I will make it for you." Carole orders an eggplant parm and he talks me into a bow-tie pasta with salmon in a pink sauce. He tells us to go and drink out wine and he will be over soon. I try to pay and he says no, pay later.

Within 15 or 20 minutes the owner and one employee walk in with plates, napkins, silverware, our dinner, and warm garlic mozzarella bread. I try to pay again and he tells me, "No you are now family, you pay when you are ready." Dinner was excellent and heavy, perfect for a cold Florida night. Mine was more food then I needed but I ate it, Carole brought half home. The eggplant parm came with a side of sauteed fennel and carrots that were amazing. When we were done, the server came and collected the plates and again I tried to pay, he hesitantly took my credit card still trying to sell a dessert or even another entree. Total was about $25.00 plus tip.

End of the night we paid for our bottle of wine and I stopped back into Cafe Volare just to thank the owner, and tell him how wonderful we found his food. He said again, "You are Family now, whatever you want I will make it for you. You need something catered I am your man."

I have no problems or complaints with any of tonight. Hollywood Vine is so consistent, I know what I am getting and I am always happy when I leave. Cafe Volare is now one of my favorite little Hollywood gems. Hope it sticks around!

Hollywood Vine on Urbanspoon
Cafe Volare on Urbanspoon


  1. My family had a reservation for a birthday breakfast one Sunday morning and to our surprise the restaurant we had reservations with had closed that morning, it was for 9:30am. So, we decided to go to Cafe Volare at 10:00am when we all finally settled and with eight (8) of us. The owner, Chef Manolo was so nice and gave us a breakfast surprise. It included a plate of fruit salad, proscuitto, cappucinos, egg frittata and orange juice. All this without looking at the menu. My family had a chance to talk and chat. The food was served family style and we felt like we were at home. It was just the type of place we were always looking for. Glad we popped in on him and boy, they were busy that morning. I give it 100% because you just ask what you want and they will make it for you....

  2. I like to add that Cafe Volare also served us empanadas made fresh that morning for the birthday breakfast. What a delightful place.