Peter and Susan Migliaccio sold their restaurant of ten years, Café Gabbiano on Siesta Key, opting for smaller downtown venue. They are opening Casa Antica (1213 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, 366-1840, casa-antica-restaurant.com) November 9 in a quaint historic home that will seat about half the diners they accommodated at their former restaurant.
“Opening this place is about passion rather than business,” said Peter, who still owns Mamma Lucia in New York, which won a New York Times Mimi Sheraton award for excellence. “And since this new location has been many restaurants (Zwiwwel, Aria, Zak’s Steakhouse, Noah, Carmichael’s), I find the venture a real challenge.”
The small, two-story home, built in 1926, has been renovated to provide intimate dining spaces with traditional antiques blended with mid-century modern accents. Alfresco dining is available on the refurbished, charming patio. Peter, who grew up in Ischia near the Isle of Capri, likes the fact that the remodeled kitchen is twice the size of Gabbiano’s kitchen yet he will be cooking for a whole lot less people.
According to the owners, Casa Antica will be upscale in cuisine with real attention to detail, but moderately priced. Table linens, crystal and candlelight will provide a gracious ambiance for fine dining.
The menu will include both Southern and Northern Italian selections with dishes like a bone-in veal chop with truffle oil, fresh porcini mushrooms and brandy cream sauce and sea bass in rock salt or a classic meuniere presentation. His award-winning Veal Mamma Lucia will be on the menu as well as house-made pasta choices (fettuccini alfredo, spaghetti carbonara, and more).
Tira misu, sorbets and New York-style cheesecake made in the kitchen will satisfy sweet cravings.
Peter is reducing the extensive wine list from his former location to about 200 California and Italian varieties such as Amarones, Barolos and Brunellos. “The wine list will be limited but interesting,” he added.