At Sal’s Italian Ristorante in Delray Beach, expectations are met

Sal’s is just a few doors over from Aldi on Linton Boulevard.

One of a chain of eateries throughout South Florida operating under the Sal’s name, the menu is familiar at this Linton Boulevard location.


I’ve never been big on chains. But when it’s Monday in western Delray Beach, a day when many eateries are closed, the clock is approaching 8 p.m. and you’re starving, you’re less hesitant about dining in a place like Sal’s Italian Ristorante in the Aldi shopping center on Linton Boulevard.

Sal’s has been a fixture on the South Florida dining scene since its founding in 1990 by Salvatore Stellino, a Sicilian immigrant with no formal education and a self-made businessman, according to a published report.  After its founding, Sal’s expanded to 25 owner-operated stores. Today, 16 still are operating in the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade county areas, though Stellino no longer owns any of the individual restaurants. He is, however, the sole shareholder of a Coconut Creek-based corporation that oversees the chain.  Stellino, a serial entrepreneur who has been associated with 29 companies, according to public records, spent 33 months, beginning in March 2003, in a federal prison in Miami-Dade County for under-reporting business income by $11 million.

The Sal’s on Linton Boulevard has been owned since 1996 by Chris Vingiano, who once worked for Stellino. Vingiano also owns the Sal’s restaurant on Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach and is partners with another Sal’s operator, Nuno Beira, in Cucina Moderna restaurants in Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and in later this year in Miramar. In 2017, Biera and Vingiano sued the Coconut Creek company for $10 million, alleging that Sal’s induced them to “grossly overpay” for stores, supplies and fees without providing them information required on what are essentially franchises. The case was settled, but details have not been made public.

Inside Sal’s on Linton Boulevard.

The Linton Boulevard dining room resembles a Mediterranean villa with curved brick tile roofs extending over a portion of the two-level space. Table tops feature scenes from Waikiki, Hollywood, Times Square and Las Vegas. Outside, there’s seating for a dozen patrons.

My expectations were not high as we entered Sal’s. The menu has all the usual suspects found in area Italian restaurants: chicken, veal, shrimp, pasta and pizza in various incarnations. Prices are reasonable and portions are large.

After placing our orders, a complimentary basket of garlic knots arrived. Unfortunately, they were hard and topped with garlic bits that were raw.

Pasta fagioli soup, included with an entrée (salad is the other choice), was a flavorful, hearty bowl of mostly beans, a few bits of ditalini pasta tubes, plus carrots, celery and bacon. Minestrone soup, my usual go to, was not an option.

Veal parmigiana.

Chicken francese.

Veal parmigiana ($23.99), one of my Italian restaurant benchmarks, arrived alongside a helping of spaghetti bathed in a thick, sweet red sauce. The veal, not pounded thin as is often the case, was a tad chewy. The pasta was al dente.

Chicken francese ($21.99), my wife’s Italian eatery staple, was mostly tender and the sauce lemony and accompanied by a plateful of linguine.

Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken.

Sal’s New York-style pizza slices.

Our server, Paola, was accommodating to a fault. My adult daughter ordered the day’s special, chicken Florentine, and struggled to like the spinach-heavy dish. Paolo, noting her hesitation, offered to replace it with another dish, in this case fettuccine Alfredo with chicken ($24.99). The replacement plate was enjoyed. And we weren’t charged with the original order!

I returned on another occasion, this time for lunch to sample Sal’s pizza, which many on social media claim to enjoy. You can get two slices and a soda as a $7.99 express lunch. (Alas, no thick-crust Sicilian was available on the special.) The pizza is New York style. There were pools of grease on the thin, crisp, somewhat floppy slices. The outer crust was chewy and the topping had a good balance of cheese and sauce.   Unfortunately, it was overwhelmingly greasy.

Sal’s, I’m sure, draws customers from nearby Delray Medical Center – the nearest competition is about a mile away near Atlantic Avenue.  My wife’s friends recently chose it as their Lady’s Night Out destination. My wife said, “It was all right.” And that pretty much sums up Sal’s Italian Ristorante.

Sal’s Italian Ristorante

4801 Linton Blvd., No. 12A, Delray Beach, FL 33445


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  1. Joan Senator says:

    Have you tried Avellinos, in the same center as 3gs? We have been going there for the pizza, both lunch as slices, and whole pies, for years since they opened. It is the closest to NY pizza, in my opinion.

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