La Dolce Vita in Wildwood N.J.

By W. A. Muller

Give the La Dolce Vita lifestyle at Little Italy in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.  If you're ever in the mood for mouthwatering Italian delicacies then look no further than this beloved establishment. Owned and operated by Chef Giovanni Sanzone and his wife Sandy, the restaurant has been serving customers for over two decades. Little Italy is the next best thing to actually being in Italia.

Just like his homeland (Giovanni was born in Switzerland and raised in Sicily), the restaurant is formulated on the idea of the piazza – open-air spaces where one visits different vendors and markets, relaxes in the delightful atmosphere and watches people going about their business – Little Italy is a 3-dimensional experience that offers customers the chance to go to a bakery, fish market or café. It is simultaneously a visual and culinary feast.

With freshly baked bread made on site, fresh seafood combinations and masterfully conceived creations made by Sanzone like penne alla Giovanni – a creamy white sauce with garlic, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli, red peppers and grilled chicken atop penne pasta – Little Italy will leave you begging for more!

There are also aromatic steak options (try the Italian Surf & Turf – 6oz Filet mignon broiled to your liking and shrimp scampi sautéed in butter, fresh garlic and fresh herbs) and chicken dishes that will make you demand more. The chicken (you can also have veal) Saltimbocca is a particular standout. Here it is sautéed in butter, topped with imported ham and melted mozzarella cheese in a light brown sauce.

In the seafood category, the pesce spada alla Siciliana with fresh Swordfish, crabmeat and seasoned with Italian herbs, bread crumbs and broiled to perfection is a must have! The fish is flaky and moist while the breadcrumbs add texture and the herbs needed flavor. It's one of the most balanced dishes on the entire menu.

To bring the dolce in La Dolce Vita, all of the desserts are imported directly from Miliano. With options like classic Tiramisu, Coppa Caffe and invigorating sorbets, these delicious desserts are sure to be the perfect ending to an authentic Italian meal.

It's not often that restaurants manage to delight every sense and nothing to be desired. When Giovanni first envisioned his restaurant, he sought a transporting experience, which would introduce Italy to his neighbors in Wildwood. It is a safe bet to say he's done just that (and much more)! •

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