Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cas'Antica: Classic Southern Italian Cuisine

Cas'Antica is the perfect description of this charming Italian culinary landmark located on Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota. As you step into this elegant historic home, you're immediately immersed in Cas'Antica’s seductive charm. Host and Master Chef Pietro Migliaccio’s desire was to reproduce a familiar atmosphere bringing him back to the beginning of his career, when he learned to cook at home with his mother, Lucia. Pietro and his wife Susan sold their critically acclaimed restaurant, Café Gabbiano on Siesta Key, a number of years ago, opting for a smaller downtown venue in Sarasota. “Opening this place was about passion rather than business,” said Pietro, who still owns Mamma Lucia in New York, which won the New York Times Mimi Sheraton award for excellence. “And since this new location has been many restaurants — Zwiwwel, Aria, Zak’s Steakhouse, Noah, and Carmichael’s — we found the venture a real challenge.”

The beautiful outdoor bar at Cas'Antica

Pietro Migliaccio is co-owner of Cas'Antica, with his wife Susan (not shown)

The small, two-story home built in 1926, was renovated to provide intimate dining spaces with traditional antiques blended with classic modern accents. Comprised of six small rooms, the atmosphere is warm and inviting with a picturesque front patio for those who like to dine under the stars, and a fireplace in the front dining room for romantic evenings on cooler Sarasota nights. The restaurant is absolutely charming and full of character, with exquisite attention to detail. Table linens, crystal and candlelight provide a gracious ambiance for fine dining. The extensive menu features both Southern and Northern Italian dishes such as bone-in veal chop with truffle oil, fresh porcini mushrooms and brandy cream sauce and sea bass in rock salt or classic meuniere presentation. His award-winning Veal Mamma Lucia is also on the menu as well as house-made pasta choices including Fettuccini Alfredo, Spaghetti Carbonara, Linguine con Vongole, Linguini Cas'Antica with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari in a light tomato sauce and much more. For a delightful evening of excellent Italian cuisine and exceptional service, Cas'Antica is one of the most romantic choices for sophisticated dining in Sarasota.

Our table beside the wine nook and wood panelled indoor bar at Cas'Antica

Warm chewy baguette arrived with a plate of fragrant olive and oil and balsamic vinegar

Garnished with pesto, grated Parmigiano cheese, chopped tomato and carrot, 
the olive and balsamic vinegar was a step ahead of any others I've tried

We began our evening with a glass of Prosecco

The Cas'Antica menu 

We started with the Bonta' d'Italia, a custom selection of antipasti selected by the chef

La Berne vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a bloody brilliant rich dark-berried Sangiovese

Linguine con Vongole with clams, white wine, garlic, olive oil and herbs

...good to the last empty shell

Linguini Cas'Antica with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari in a light tomato sauce

Scalloppine Nonna Lucia, pounded veal scalloppine cooked in a Sicilian wine reduction with 
wild mushrooms and Pietro’s secret spices engulfed in fresh mozzarella 

The veal came with steaming bowl of penne in a thick Marinara sauce

Crisp table linens, crystal and excellent service provides a gracious ambiance for fine dining

Peach Sorbet served in a frozen peach and drizzled with aged balsamico

Sweet and exploding with flavour, the Peach Sorbet was outstanding


Buona notte tutti!

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