There’s no shortage of Italian restaurants in the Destin area, so in order for one to stand out, it must be doing something special. And in order to last more than 30 years, you’ve got to be doing several something special. That’s the case when it comes to Guglielmo Ianni, the chef and owner of Tuscany Italian Bistro, located in the Miramar Beach area of Destin, FL. Ianni has been serving up Northern Italian dishes since 1976 and has been doing so here since 1991.
His take on Italian comfort food seamlessly blends fine dining with classic flavors, creating an environment and dining experience that is both comforting and impressive. The yellow standalone building with a small neon sign announcing its presence doesn’t quite do the big flavors found inside justice.
The menu is large, with options ranging from pasta to a variety of proteins. Appetizers highlight local seafood, including mussels, shrimp, and calamari, as well as familiar Italian favorites like fried ravioli, and a Caprese dish. Those looking to offset the hearty entrees with some greens can enjoy a house or Caesar salad before digging into the main course.
Pasta dishes are mostly familiar classics like spaghetti and meatballs, Fettucine alfredo, lasagna, ravioli, Bolognese, and carbonara. However, there are some unique and creative dishes mixed in as well, often featuring seafood. All pasta sauces are homemade from scratch, much of the produce is sourced from local farms, and quite a bit of the seafood is freshly caught right here in the Gulf.
In addition to pasta, there’s an ample offering of meat dishes, expertly featuring veal, chicken, ribeye, and filet mignon, and seafood dishes including salmon, grouper, and a rotating fish of the day.
Here are a few of our favorite bites from our recent visit:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
You can’t go wrong with a classic, as long as it’s done well, and in our opinion, this was expertly executed. The spaghetti was perfectly al dente, and the sauce was flavorful, light, and had the kind of complex flavor profile that can only be obtained by creating a sauce from scratch. A sprinkling of parmesan pulled the whole dish together.
For those looking for a slightly less traditional pasta dish, consider the ravioli Amalfi. Deliciously stuffed cheese ravioli are tossed in pink vodka sauce and finished with sauteed mushrooms and prosciutto. This entrée is a well-balanced combination of creamy, salty, earthy, and all-together delicious.
Seafood lovers, this one’s for you. This meal includes not one, but five different kinds of seafood: clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish. This delectable combination is served over a generous portion of linguine and mixed with garlic, olive oil, and flavorful crushed plum tomatoes. Diners have a choice of finishing it with either a red or white wine sauce – both complement the dish well.
Lamb Alla Toscana
And now one for the carnivores. This innovative dish features lamb chops that have been marinated with garlic and rosemary before being grilled and topped with a brown rosemary sauce. Order this medium or medium well and enjoy it with a rotating daily selection of vegetables.
This dish is a perfect example of how Tuscany Bistro utilizes local delicacies. It features Grouper that is caught nearby in the Gulf, fileted, and then pan-seared. It’s then combined with tender butterflied shrimp, bright capers, and a delicate lemon butter sauce. A must-try for Grouper lovers!
Whether you’re a pasta traditionalist, an Italian innovator, or a tried-and-true meat-lover, you’re bound to find something of interest on the Tuscany Bistro menu. Enjoy, and don’t forget to order the fresh rolls and dipping oil – trust us on this one – they’re divine!
-The restaurant does offer gluten-free pasta, as well as vegetarian options. Please speak to your server to see what they might be able to create to suit your dietary needs.
-There is ample parking in a dedicated parking lot, so don’t be afraid to drive and park here.
-There’s a children’s menu featuring a few varieties of pasta as well as chicken tenders.
-The restaurant can get busy during peak season and on holidays, so if you’re looking for a specific dining time, consider making a reservation in advance.