Anyone who knows me knows that the most dangerous thing you can do is give me caffeine. I am so energetic and bubbly that I have legitimately been asked if I am on drugs (don’t let your mind go anywhere with that one, I’m certainly not. I live the fry life, not the high life). So the whole coffee scene has never been my thing. Which is a huge shame, because I’ve been missing out of Saquella Café. Saquella, in Boca Raton, and their sister restaurant with a similar menu, Prosecco in Palm Beach Gardens, are a neighborhood go to for the finest coffee accompanied by freshly basked pastries and gourmet breakfast. But what many people have failed to realize is that both restaurants have insanely exquisite dinner items as well. I recently was invited to sit with the owner, Avi Sekerel, for dinner, wine and dessert, and was treated to some of the best dishes I have had in Boca Raton.
Before I even got a chance to study the menu, a gorgeous basket of my soulmate, carbs, was placed in front of me. Saquella’s bread is baked freshly in-house every 2 hours, stating roughly at 5:30am, which really shows their dedication because the only time I see 5:30am is when I stay up all night for it. There is the French bread, which is really doughy with almost a sweet flavor in it, like you can tell the love was baked in. The whole wheat bread is a great option for those looking for a healthier choice. The Semolina cheese bread is just as doughy as had cheese baked right in to it, so enough said. But my favorite – which is also the crowd favorite – is Muesli bread. As Avi told me, they can barely keep this bread on the shelves, and I could taste why! Sweet, nutty, doughy, fluffy – I had to keep myself from devouring a whole loaf worth! It’s not often you go to a restaurant and have so much to say about just the bread even before you get to the meal, but that is definitely the case here!
To be honest, I’m not usually drawn to Mediterranean Platters. I find them to be about as exciting as the first two hours of the Oscars, plus they typically have tons of olives, a huge turnoff for me. But I was assured that this Med platter was different, and boy was it! Of course there was the traditional hummus and pita (although I will definitely argue that this hummus was smoother and creamier and tastier than most!), but I was surprised to see hearty roasted vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper. I enjoyed how well the fresh vegetables were cooked, but the best part of them was the sweet tangy lavender dijon sauce. It was perhaps one of the most interesting sauces I have ever had in my life, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was ready to drink it like a milkshake. But I figured that would be weird and perhaps a bit offensive to Avi since Saquella has so many great, meant-to-be-drank drinks there. But trust me, you’ll understand when you try this sauce.
The second appetizer we shared is the one that immediately jumped off the menu at me: Goat Cheese Croquette & Fig Jam: A Pan Seared Croquette served with Homemade Fig Jam and Ciabatta Croutons. You know that warm feeling that some people get upon hearing a baby’s laughter? Well I prefer silence, and the fuzzy feeling that I get upon slicing into that croquette patty, and seeing the goat cheese just ooze out. The melty cheese on top of the sweet jam and crunchy bread is pure flavor bud heaven.
Saquella has a great selection of sandwiches served on their fresh baked bread, such as the Chicken Caprese or the Buffalo Burger. What caught my eye was the Salmon Burger, as it is something I don’t often eat, and I loved the sound of the toppings and description: and 8oz Baja Style Salmon Burger with Avocado, Fresh Arugula, and Grilled Artichoke-Lime Aioli, on a Grilled Challah Bun. It’s a very hearty burger and extremely tender with vibrant flavor. Make no mistake, you WILL get a little messy trying to gobble it down, but it’s so good, there’s not chance you’ll care (unless you’re on a first date with Ryan Gosling, in which case I’d knife-and-fork this one).
I begged to try something from the breakfast menu, because my love affair with eggs is insatiable. On recommendation, I was served the Tuscan Omelet Challah Bun, which comes with a Pesto-Herbed One-Egg Omelet, Caramelized Onions, and Brie Cheese. Much more elevated than the Bacon McGriddles I usually settle for. One bite and I was experiencing breakfast nirvana. Seriously, this sandwich is so good it could turn Dracula in to a morning person.
It was the final course, however, that made me realize just how special Saquella’s dinner experience truly is. The Asparagus Risotto with Short Rib – A Lemon Zest Infused Risotto, mixed with Asiago, Seared Asparagus topped with a generous portion of 6 Hour Short Rib. Have you ever eaten something where you can just taste the love that the Chef pours in to his creations? For me, this dish was it. If you’ve ever watched “Top Chef,” you’ve probably seen a lot of contestants go home for poorly cooked risotto. So when I get a good risotto, I take notice, and with every bite I could tell that Chef Dave, busy as he was, dedicated himself to making sure it was exactly right. Combine that with the slow-cooked short rib (side note, diners also have the option of adding Shrimp Scampi or going sans meat/fish) and this is a dish that could easily win any competition. When Saquella says it is much more than your first cup of coffee, they aren’t kidding!
Saquella is of course also known for their scratch bakery, and because I was feeling fruity, I opted for the Blueberry Pear Tart and topped it with Vanilla Gelato. Although there are blueberries in the pastry, the star of this dessert is the sweet pear, which keeps the dessert from being too tart. A delicious choice, served warm so that the gelato can melt on top for a perfect bite every time.
And of course, you can’t finish a meal at Saquella without their famous Tiramisu. My favorite part about it was how light and creamy it was – almost like a mousse. A sweet pillow of heavenly espresso soaked flavor that I definitely wanted to rest my head on, because between the flowing wine and the food coma, I was spent. Luckily, you’ll never be tired at Saquella, because even though they are MUCH more than your first cup of coffee, there’s still always more than enough gourmet caffeine to go around.
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.