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FLorentine's Grill Anchors DTF

Story & Photos by Ashley Haley/CSUF Comm 334 -- 

As the sun seeps lower into the horizon, high-heels clack against the concrete sidewalk and friends chuckle at inside jokes. Florentine’s Grill sits firmly on the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, adding to the vibrant nightlife of Downtown Fullerton.

The walls of the restaurant are dark burgundy and an exposed brick wall serves as the background for Florentine’s Grill. Chandeliers and wall lamps provide most of the lighting. 

To my surprise, there was no hostess waiting to lead my parents and I to our table, or even a “seat yourself” sign. We weren’t sure what to do so we resorted to standing awkwardly in the middle of the restaurant until a waiter told us to seat ourselves. 

Guests have many seating options, the bar, a booth, a high-table-chair combination, and regular tables and chair on a platform. 

We chose the all-familiar booth and I sat facing the bar instead of Harbor Boulevard.

The restaurant has a musky, cologne scent that can be strong at first, but the scent doesn’t overpower the smell of American-Italian cuisine. 

A tall, handsome waiter sporting a gray restaurant t-shirt and a black apron tied around his waist greeted us and handed out one-page menus.

The menu offered shared plates (appetizers), entrée salads, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and dessert. Guests can pair their meal with a glass of wine, draft beer, or a specialty cocktail. 

We settled on the Downtown Salad ($11.00), the Stuffed Jalapeno Jack Burger ($12.00), and the Maple Soaked Bacon Cheddar Burger ($12.00).

Yes! They’re as good as they sound.

After about a 15-minute wait, our food was delivered to our booth. The corners of my mouth curved. I knew this was a meal that I was going to enjoy. 

The Downtown Salad was aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. The deep purple of cranberries and the diced pears, mixed with the lettuce created a colorful plate. The light, lime vinaigrette dressing tasted sweet, almost like the syrup you would spread on your pancake. Candied walnuts added a slight crunch that the salad might have been lacking otherwise. We substituted grilled chicken with grilled shrimp. The shrimp, although slightly burnt, was full of a buttery sauce, which only added to the flavor.

Burgers are served with a knife because the patty is so thick it has to be cut in order to take a bite. Though big-mouthed eaters might be up for the challenge, I wasn’t. Burgers and sandwiches are all served with your choice of onion rings, hand-cut fries, curly fries, tater tots, and sweet potato fries.

The Stuffed Jalapeno Jack Burger is far spicier than I expected. The combination of jalapenos and the spicy mayonnaise had me reaching for water after every bite. The spiciness dominated the entire burger, which made it hard to concentrate on the taste of the other elements. The beef patty, although very thick, was cooked well done.

The Maple Soaked Bacon Cheddar Burger is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The abundance of bacon strips complimented the burger, adding a sweet, smoky flavor. Aside from the bacon, the burger tasted like a traditional all-American burger. 

I managed to finish about 75 percent of my burger before I gave up. Our waiter presented a dessert platter consisting of carrot and cheesecakes, brittle, and crème brulee. We turned it away of course, too full to slide out of our booth. 

The restaurant is definitely a place to enjoy with a group of friends if you’re looking to catch a game, a drink, and a hearty meal.

“We should come back here in the summer,” my mother said. “I like it!”

Dad and I nodded in agreement.

Florentine’s Grill is the perfect combination of a bar and grill. The flavor of each plate gets as much attention as the alcoholic beverages, and that’s always a good thing.

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Florentine’s Grill

Where: 102 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832

When: Monday-Friday, 4 p.m.- 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m.- 2 a.m.

Don’t miss: Happy Hour 4 p.m.- 9 p.m. for reduced prices on all food items

Cost: ranges from $8.00 to $25.00, not including alcoholic drinks

Contact: (714) 879-7570 or www.florentinesgrill.com

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