Ask longtime residents about Bravissimo (the one on Shine), or the Terramia restaurants in Altamonte Springs and Lake Mary, or the delightful Allegria in Winter Park, and watch for the expression of joy that accompanies a fond memory. All were the work of Rosario Spagnolo, who has been cooking since he was an 11-year-old in his father’s restaurant in Naples, Italy, and has been a true practitioner of Neapolitan cooking in Orlando since 1989.
The antipasti selection that was my favorite meal at Allegria returns at Maestro Cucina Napoletana on Park Avenue in Winter Park, where Spagnolo and his old friend, chef Antonio Martino, are offering a savory platter of meats, cheeses and vegetables worthy of return visits.
The restaurant’s kitchen fills the intimate space, which opened last November, with dishes like tender chicken in mushroom sauce, whole Italian sea bass and exactingly cooked pastas. Martino surveyed the local dining scene when he first arrived and said, “Nobody makes pizza here the way I do, so we make pizza!” With an 800-degree wood oven firing at full blast, Martino covers the leopard-charred crusts of his fine pizzas with fresh, almost sweet pomodoro, sturdy mozzarella cheese and a small but appealing selection of toppings. maestrocucina-napoletana.com