Anthony’s Runway 84, An Old School Italian Restaurant

rigatoni with cauliflower

Do you have a favorite restaurant where you know what you are ordering before you walk through the door? If dining at Anthony’s Runway 84, an old school Italian restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, there are go-to dishes you should order every time you visit the famous restaurant.

Our family lives in South Florida and whenever we head south to visit, we enjoy taking them to dinner at Anthony’s Runway 84. It serves Italian-American comfort food and has been a family favorite for over thirty years. Anthony Bruno, who also owns the Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza chain, and Vincenzo, who is the restaurant’s Maitre’D, have seen our children and grandchildren grow up and even hosted our youngest daughter’s wedding reception at the restaurant. When my husband calls for a Sunday dinner reservation for at least 10 or more of our family, Vinny is a magician and always makes it happen even though the restaurant is a Ft. Lauderdale hotspot with loyal customers and tourists from across the country.

Anthony's runway 84
Anthony’s Runway 84, Fort Lauderdale, Florida photo: Anthony’s Runway 84

Runway 84 gets its name from its proximity to the Ft. Lauderdale airport and that influenced the aviation theme inside. Enter the restaurant through a hallway lined with photos of celebrities to the host’s stand where you will be warmly greeted by Vinny. If your table isn’t ready, head to the lounge for a cocktail. Black booths have airplane style windows lit with images of a nighttime landing. A large model plane hangs over the crowded center bar. Sip a cocktail or a glass of wine and people watch as it is a very diverse mix of both young and old. You might even spot Dan Marino, who is a regular, pass through with a group of his friends or family. The bar can be a madhouse if you happen to go on Thursday when a young happening crowd comes for the popular Martini and Meatball event.

Click on any photo courtesy of Anthony’s Runway 84 to enlarge and see a slide show.

When your table is ready, Vinny will show you into the main dining room. The aviation theme continues with huge airplanes painted in Italian flag colors along the walls. The room is filled with red chairs surrounding tables laid with white linens . Once you are seated, your waiter will take your drink order and give you a chance to peruse the menu while listening to Sinatra or Dean Martin music in the background. After you order, a basket of amazing crusty hot bread arrives along with a dish of garlic infused olive oil sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. You could make a meal on the bread but don’t.

Knowing the portions are large, the waiters suggest ordering a few different items and share family style. We always order two seafood antipasto platters loaded with crunchy fried calamari, clams baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, as well as other shellfish. We also order cold antipasto platters that will feed the table that come loaded with salami, provolone, roasted red peppers, olives, anchovies and Sicilan peppers stuffed with breadcrumbs, capers, olives, anchovies and cheese. The cold stuffed peppers are so good that I made my own version when we lived in New Hampshire and couldn’t go to Anthony’s. Delicious baked artichokes with a similar stuffing that is topped with a butter sauce are a must. A house salad and mussels accompany all entrees so keep that in mind when ordering.

When going to an Italian restaurant, you must order pasta and Runway 84 is famous for their rigatoni and cauliflower dish…cooked rigatoni with freshly grated parmesan cheese and sautéed cauliflower topped it with buttered bread crumbs and broiled. It is then topped with more sautéed cauliflower. Our children were a little hesitant about this Sicilian dish the first time we suggested it but now it is a family favorite.

Click on any photo courtesy of Anthony’s Runway 84 to enlarge and see a slide show.

After clearing our plates and filling glasses, we are asked if we want a main dish and recites the nightly specials. Of course everyone is full but that doesn’t stop some, if not all of us, from ordering, “a little something” to share. How could you pass up meatballs with a dollop of ricotta, spicy Civolata sausage with broccoli rabe and roasted peppers, veal Parmigiana or fresh Yellow tail snapper oreganata, my personal favorite.

After all that feasting, the waiter comes by with a tray of desserts. Each of us moans about how full we are but there has never been a time when a couple of sweets aren’t shared around the table. I know what you are thinking…how can they possibly eat all that food and the answer is we don’t. After each course is done, a little food is usually left and someone at the table asks for it to be boxed up to take home. No cooking the next day for a lucky few.

If you are ever in the Ft. Lauderdale area and like old school Italian food served in big portions by friendly waiters, call and make a reservation at Anthony’s Runway 84. Just go hungry, share a couple of dishes and have a great time. If you happen to be Italian, the restaurant and the food will take you back in time and remind you of Sunday dinners that your Nona made.

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Once we can safely travel, we will be heading south to visit with our children who we haven’t see in more than a year. You can count on us having Sunday dinner at Anthony’s Runway 84, it is our family tradition. Perhaps someday you will have a chance to make it your family tradition as many others have.

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77 thoughts on “Anthony’s Runway 84, An Old School Italian Restaurant

    1. Hi Kay, the restaurant is definitely a great place for family gatherings. It is a restaurant your family would enjoy…especially your grandchildren. They are made to feel very welcomed.

  1. This sounds like such a fun restaurant Karen! I love the airplane style windows in the lounge! So smart to order a variety of things and share, plus take home~ what a wonderful classic restaurant that is a family tradition, I hope Covid hasn’t affected them too much…
    Jenna

    1. Hi Jenna, Isn’t the lounge fun with the airplane windows. Sharing the delicious food family style works so well when we get together with our family.

  2. Anthony’s Runway 84 sounds like a charming place to celebrate a special occasion or get together with family or friends. The shared platters sound delicious! I would be stuffed after sampling some of the seafood and antipasto items. Hoping you get to travel soon and enjoy some more memories with your family!

    1. Hi Jan, When we have gone to Runway on Sundays, there are many big tables where you know friends and family have gathered for birthdays or just a traditional Italian Sunday family meal together. Hopefully later in the year, we will be able to enjoy gathering with our family there later in the year. Thank you for your nice comment.

  3. That sounds a delightful place to go. Since February 2020 we have not eaten anywhere other than at home and I have to say the joy of cooking has totally worn off. Even more annoying we had planned to tour Italy in June, I now wonder if that will ever happen!!
    Keep well and stay safe. Cheers, Diane

    1. Hi Diane, There is no doubt that our world has changed. Not only with travel but our daily lives. Hopefully things will get better now that we have a vaccine becoming available. Hang in there. 😘

    1. Hi Darlene, Perhaps Italian is the favorite when it comes to restaurants around the world. Yes, it will surely be good when we can once again spend time with children, family and friends.

  4. That cauliflower dish sounds like magic! Simple sauteed cauliflower (in olive oil and butter) is magic all by itself. In fact I never much liked cauliflower until I tasted it prepared that way. And it must be magic combined with pasta and cheese. Sounds like a wonderful restaurant. Terrific review — thanks.

    1. You are right about the pasta with cauliflower John. I created my own version when we lived in New England and served it to friends. I need to share it here soon. I appreciate your nice compliment as always, thank you.

  5. That rigatoni dish looks delicious. Do you think it could be as simple as boiling rigatoni, sautéed or maybe roasting some cauliflower, sprinkling Parmesan and buttered bread crumbs over it, and finishing with a short broil? I’ll bet there some garlic and olive oil in there somewhere.

    1. Hi Jeff, The pasta is very good but I know what you mean…I’ve made my own version of the pasta and cauliflower and I definitely use garlic and olive oil. 😊

    1. Hi Judy, I’m hoping that later in the year we will be able to make a trip and not only see our family but get to take them to our favorite restaurant. Thank you for your kind thought. 😘

    1. Larry, I do think you would enjoy the restaurant…large portions of well prepared Italian dishes as well as delicious fresh fish are our favorites.

  6. We have been through Fort Lauderdale many time to get on cruise ships but we have never been to this restaurant. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Anting would be better than sitting at that airport while it is under construction.

    1. Hi Geri, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. When the cruise ships start again and you head to Ft. Lauderdale, definitely try to visit Runway 84. It has been our family’s favorite Italian restaurant for years.

    1. Hi Gary, Runway 84 is fun and we love the food. Hopefully we will be able to return sometime later in the year or the beginning of the next to see our family and share a meal at the restaurant.

    1. Hi Suzanne, As far as I know Runway 84 was never in Miami. I believe that you are thinking about 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant that overlooks the runway at the Miami airport. Whenever you are in the Ft. Lauderdale area, you two should definitely try Runway. 😊

    1. Hi Pam, thank you for your wish. We are looking forward to when we can travel south and see our children but unfortunately I don’t believe it will be any time soon. One thing I know, when we can head that way, we will be taking them all to Runway.

  7. Oh I loved this post! Yes I always order the same thing if I love it. But like you we have started sharing our entrees. It’s the best way to try lots of deliciousness.
    I hope you can get to see your kids this year! Praying for you my friend!
    Happy Day to you!

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers Nancy. I know millions of people are going through the same thing but hopefully by the end of the year or the first part of next families will be able to be together again. I’m glad that Nice to know someone else who knows what they are ordering before they walk through the front door of their favorite restaurants. 😁

  8. I can’t wait to dine in my favorite restaurants. Your Italian place looks great . Some of our chefs here in town sell fully cooked meals at the farmers market just to make a living. Tomorrow I going to have cassoulet.

    1. It is nice that some of the chefs have found ways to try and keep their business afloat. Cassoulet is a great dish, I’m sure yours was delicious. I still remember the first time I had cassoulet in a small restaurant in Rocamadour, France.

  9. We are going down to Florida next week, stopping by Ft. Lauderdale to visit family and friends then down to Miami to do the same. We look forward to trying this restaurant, thanks Karen!

    1. Hi Anna and Liz, I do hope you have a chance to try Runway 84. Knowing how you enjoy Italian food, I do believe that you will like the restaurant. Have a great time but be safe.

  10. Happy New Year!!….good to know about that restaurant!….If we go to Ft.Lauderdale, then we will try it!…..take care!!…….Abrazotes, Marcela

  11. Yup I have a favourite one, everytime I am driving there my mind is stuck with P09, a menu item that I love. Everytime I dine in, I thought of having a different one but P09 will always be my final order. Your favourite one looks good BTW

  12. Oh man, this is my kinda restaurant for sure, Karen! We have plenty of old school Italian restaurants up here in our area, but none with an airplane theme. I love that! It really does look like a place that would’ve been frequented by Sinatra or Dean Martin. We rarely go down to south Florida, but I can assure you that we will be stopping there!!

    1. Hi David, I don’t think that there are many restaurants quite like Runway 84 when it comes to the decor…especially an Italian one. If you ever make it to South Florida, it should be on your bucket list. I know you would really enjoy it.

  13. It gives me such hope to know that old-school places like this still exist! You just can’t build restaurants with such character from scratch. May they continue to thrive through many more generations!

    1. Hi Hannah, There are lots of new trendy restaurants in South Florida but when we go down to visit our children, we all want to go to Runway 84. I hope it stays in business a long time.

  14. Sounds like a good restaurant and love those windows in it! We haven’t eaten in a restaurant since March, do order take out but that’s not the same. I can think of so many great restaurants to go to now, and Italian restaurants are at the top!

  15. Good Lord- you could really think you’re in an airplane with all the videos surrounding you! I’m normally afraid of flying, but not at this restaurant! Happy New Year to you!

    1. Hi Fran, The lounge really does have the feel of being in an airplane when you look at those windows. You certainly could manage your fear of flying having dinner at Runway 84. 😁

  16. This fabulous place should definitely be put on the “must visit while in Florida list” Karen! The food and service are both amazing. I’m so excited to hear your family has enjoyed this spot for years. It’s such a special treat! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Hi CoCo, I really do think this should be on anyones “must do” list if they are going to be in the Ft. Lauderdale area. I’m looking forward to seeing our children and eating at our favorite restaurant in South Florida, it will be so nice. That will mean life is returning to normal and that will be wonderful.

  17. Hi Inger, I’m looking forward to when we can once again travel too. If you are ever in Ft. Lauderdale, I think you would enjoy a meal at Runway 84.

  18. What a wonderful place! The food and ambiance sound wonderful. You know, I don’t love eating out because – probably like you – we can make food that equals what we get out. With less noise! (I don’t mind the cots…) But I really can’t wait to go out and eat in a restaurant. I know it will will be a long time in coming – but, when it does, I hope I can find a place like Anthony’s!

  19. You gave me a chuckle about making food that equals what we can get out. I told my husband that since we have been eating our own good meals that I realized we often eat mediocre food just to socialize with our friends at restaurants. 😁 Thank goodness Runway 84 is a good one and I can’t wait to when we can take our family there again.

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