Colleoni’s Eatery and Bakery is a restaurant serving Italian cuisine in Fort Myers, FL. The bakery is a bit of a misnomer, as there really is no bakery besides that which serves the restaurant. However, with an advance request, they will bake you anything asked of them with sufficient notice.
The chef de cuisine, Barbara Storci, is an extremely talented chef who moved here from Italy about 2 years ago. Her grandfather was in the restaurant business in Rome for many years and she grew up learning her craft from a very early age.
I had heard very good things about this establishment, so my dining companion and I decided to take a peek. The interior of Colleoni’s is intimate, probably accommodating 40 diners. We did not have reservations, mid-week in the middle of April, but no problem, they could accommodate us.
They have a very “nice” Menu. The offerings looked delicious, and I could not wait to sample them.
At first sight simplistic, we were brought some ciabatta and focaccia pieces to mop up the seasoned olive oil that was brought to the table. The quality of olive oil and the bread was delicious, and a harbinger of things to come.
We tried the antipasto Toscano. It was very good, and featured bresaola and salami, seasoned olives, spinach with balsamic glaze and these exceptional pieces of focaccia bread with sautéed leeks and parmesan cheese. The leeks and focaccia bread were brilliant in their simplicity and a taste until then unknown to me. The plate was served with in house made cornetto bread, which is an Italian variation of the French croissant. Highly recommended.
Seeing me maniacally taking photographs for this blog post, the owners were kind enough to provide a little lagniappe before moving onto our mains. The first was a delicious caponata. This was an excellent and very traditional rendering of that classic Italian starter with eggplant, olives, capers, celery and sweetened balsamic vinegar. We were also served a very unique off the menu item of cornetto filled with ham and fontina cheese. Both of these dishes are highly recommended.
I have been searching locally for a good ragu so we decided to try the fettuccine with Bolognese sauce. Traditionally, this sauce involves a mixture (soffritto) of onion, celery and carrot and finely ground meats, in this case beef. Milk, wine and tomatoes are added, and the mixture slowly cooked to produce a very viscous sauce. Barbara told us this was her grandmother’s recipe. I prefer a more complex ragu with a mixture of meats like beef top round, pork sausage and pork shoulder, but this was very good and recommended.
The restaurant has a weekly special menu featuring cuisine for one of the 20 regions of Italy. When we were there their menu had a Tuscan bent.
We opted for the scaloppini di Vitello al funghi porcini, which was veal scaloppini with porcini mushrooms. This was cooked apparently in a “Tuscan style” which is different than one would find perhaps in Rome. It was absolutely delicious, and featured veal scaloppini in a sauce of sage, pancetta, wine, porcini mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes. With scaloppini dishes, the meat serves as the foil or vehicle for the sauce. This dish was exceptional, and perfectly executed as a scaloppini dish. Most highly recommended.
My dining companion has a very sweet tooth and inquired about their desserts. The tiramisu was suggested by our server. After tasting this, I could see why. This was a very good, and perfectly prepared tiramisu, the richness of the coffee and chocolate flavors perfectly complementing the sweetened cooked egg and mascarpone cheese mixture. I am not a dessert person but thought this dessert delicious.
The food at Colleoni’s is traditional, but very good. Most of what you are served is made in house, and it shows. This is very much a family run business and they take great pride in serving you quality Italian cuisine. Highly recommended.