Pictured: Housemade Fettuccine with Lamb Bolognese, Mint, and Feta.
Building upon the phenomenal success of Buccan, Imoto, and The Sandwich Shop in Palm Beach, Chef Clay Conley has ventured across the bridge into West Palm to create a lively, fresh, flavorful “neighborhood” Italian restaurant, with his hallmark innovative twist to classic Italian cuisine, fresh pasta, and pizza. Grato (Italian for grateful) features a bustling bar and spacious dining room, creating a welcoming ambience for families of the surrounding historical neighborhoods to downtown professionals and foodies from all over South Florida, flocking for handmade pastas, brick oven pizzas and wood-grilled entrees. The open kitchen provides a look into the show within, with the wood-burning oven taking center stage–it’s like Buccan meets Italian!
Grato brings a needed dose of hip, happening, “big city” style and sophistication to the neighborhood just to the south of Okeechobee Blvd. along Dixie Highway. Conley brought a modern, sophisticated addition that transformed the dining scene on Palm Beach, making it younger, hipper, and cooler, while delivering very high standards of quality, service, and overall experience. It appears he has done the same in this area of West Palm. What was once a warehouse is now one of West Palm’s most talked about and enjoyable restaurants. Meet and mingle over drinks at two bars–one a traditional bar with televisions, craft cocktails, beer, and great wine list, and the other overlooking the wood-burning pizza oven. Enjoy friendly, accommodating service and an exciting array of small plates, freshly-made pastas, wood-fired pizza, and entrees to choose from. It is hip, casual, fun, cool, sophisticated, and tasty all in one!
For starters, we enjoyed the Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe Pesto over Polenta, and the AMAZING Fennel with Olives and Citrus Salad– so light, and healthy. It was love at first bite. In fact, it reminded me of a salad I enjoyed in Taormina, Sicily once.
We asked our server what her favorite cocktail was from a tantalizing list, and she immediately singled out the Moscow Mule. Admittedly, I had never had one, but felt adventurous. Once I tasted it in the frosted copper mug, I’m glad this was my first! I’ll be back!
If you are looking to “carbo-load,” this is definitely the place! So, if you are racing the next day, pasta at Grato should be on your list. They are made in-house, cooked properly “al dente,” and come with a variety of preparations that look as great as they taste. Call them “modern interpretations of classical Italian dishes.”
Paccheri with Sunday Gravy and Ricotta.
Bucatini Carbonara with Peas, Guanciale, and Egg.
Orecchiette with Olives and toasted breadcrumbs, was great! All pastas were homemade and were served hot and “al dente” as they should be.
For wine, the list offers something for everyone. I was impressed that Grato carried Wolffer Estate Summer Rosé from Long Island, a favorite summer wine in The Hamptons, from one of my inaugural Signature Members! Anyplace in South Florida, an area that hosts a lot of New York visitors and is home to a lot of New York transplants clearly knows what they are doing if they feature wines from Long Island! In fact, this wine typically sells out directly from the winery before summer is over! It was crisp, fruity, light, delicious, “summer in a bottle” I like to call it. Perfetto! Round of applause for featuring Wolffer! We also had to try the pizza, since I heard good things, it is great for sharing, and since they devote a large actively visible part of the restaurant to it, I felt we needed to at least sample it. The pizza was cooked to order, not overdone, the dough was good, not too thick, not too thin, a little chew and a little crunch, and toppings were enjoyable.
Pizza with Fontina, Broccoli Rabe, and Pepperoncini.
Entrees include Wood-Roasted Herb-Marinated Rotisserie Chicken, a Burger, a 12 oz. New York Strip, and Red Snapper with crispy potato cake, garlic spinach, and artichoke beurre blanc.
If you save room for dessert, definitely try the Panna Cotta!
Grato serves lunch and dinner daily, and a very popular Sunday Brunch with items including Ricotta Pancakes, Truffled Lobster Frittata, Ham and Fontina Crespelle (crepes), and Breakfast Pizza (ham, asparagus, fontina, and egg). Grato has been awarded the Fred Bollaci Enterprises Golden Palate® Certificate of Excellence and is definitely worth checking out!
1901 S. Dixie Hwy.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401