Where to go for fine dining and dancing

Two upscale dining and dancing bistros, Timpano Italian Chophouse and Samba Room, are among the most fancy, comfortable, tasty, fun, and always-kicking restaurant-bars in South Florida. Located side-by-side at 450 E. Las Olas Blvd., just east of Riverfront, the two are owned by Carlson’s Restaurants Worldwide, the same proprietor as Friday’s.

They both offer Ladies’ Nights every Wednesday featuring two-for-one cocktails all evening. Since opening in the spring of 2000, Timpano hosts about 50 people or so on a weeknight.

Radiating a chic presence, Timpano and Samba Room are among the finest dining establishments for college students to check out.

Their stylish cigar bar has suede sofas and random periodicals, as well as an exclusive wine list with bottles priced at over $1000. The Timpano lounge consists of multiple mirrors and lamps on every table. There is a giant painting of Frank Sinatra above the mantle. Guests can relax with the silky pillows, magazines and televisions hanging in the corners. There are private rooms for 15 to 20 customers. They can pull a curtain around for an evening’s worth of privacy. One room seats 15, another holds 30 guests.

Executive Chef Vincent Sciarrotta makes sure the food quality is consistently high at Timpano. Homemade lasagna, handpicked lobsters, filet mignon, veil chops and fusilli, and wild mushrooms with Gorgonzola are menu favorites in the Italian joint.

“Pound for pound, our black-skillet roasted mussels is considered the signature dish, the best plate in the house,” said Dennis Germaske, head chef.

Every Friday and Saturday night, patrons can work off their meals on the small dance floor with the help of the “Jazz Trio.” A true jazz session is occasionally put on for the petite yet lucky crowd inside Timpano.

Next door on the east side sits the Samba Room. It possesses a private, romantic ambiance. The laid-back atmosphere includes 4000-foot Chiffon curtains and tiki torches outside. There is live salsa and merengue. The Friday nights there are insane, according to Manager Ray Ramos.

The little Cuban hideaway serves “entraí±a,” an Argentinean-style skirt steak garnished with tuna and plantains. Guests often order sangria and key lime margaritas by the pitcher. Their “Chocolate Cake” shots are exhilarating, the Mexican brew, Dos Equis, is the finest, and the Room’s signature drink, known around Fort Lauderdale, is the “Mojito.”

Students need not pass up an opportunity to wine, dine and feast in two of Fort Lauderdale’s finest establishments. Timpano and Samba Room, especially on a Wednesday evening, are among the best spots for college students to check out.