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Fabio’s Antica Cucina

At Fabio’s Antica Cucina they know that dining out should be an experience, not just a meal. It has been said that you eat not only with your mouth but also with your eyes and Fabio’s has truly mastered this concept. I would dare to say that dining at Fabio’s is an experience that can be truly enjoyed by all five senses. When at Fabio’s you will hear the soft tone of conversation and laughter over the crackling fire of the wood brick oven. Your nose will be filled with the smells of the delicious cuisine, including fresh baked bread and pastries, all of which is made on site. You will feel the softness of the chairs and linens which are the perfect counter to the hardness of the wrought iron décor. Your eyes will be amazed by the impeccable décor teaming with attention to detail as well as the gorgeous and meticulous plating of each and every dish served. Lastly your taste buds will be overwhelmed by the intense and delightful flavors that make up every single bite. Fabio’s Antica Cucina is an authentic Italian restaurant and cocktail lounge located in Downtown Syracuse at 344 S. Warren Street at the street level of the Icon Tower. They are open daily, serving lunch (Monday through Friday), dinner, and take out. Be sure to stop in for the Grand Opening at the end of September.

Fabio’s Antica Cucina is the latest incarnation of Authentic Italian dining brought to you by a family that has been serving scrumptious cuisine to hungry Central New Yorker’s for decades.

Fabio’s is the latest incarnation of Authentic Italian dining brought to you by a family that has been serving scrumptious cuisine to hungry Central New Yorker’s for decades. The dream of bringing Italy to Syracuse started when Joseph “Sal” Zazzara was serving in the United States Armey during WWII. During this time he would write love letters to his soon to be wife dreaming about their future together and opening a restaurant when he returned from war. This dream became a reality in 1952 when Sal, Lucy, and their three children opened The Villa on Syracuse’s north side. Although the Villa was destroyed in a fire a few pieces of art survived, including a large mural named “Dante’s Inferno” and today those pieces can be found on display at Fabio’s. Fabio’s was opened earlier this year by Sal’s son Grazzi, his grandson Grazzi Jr., and Fabio Santalucia, a man who left Italy several years ago with a dream of opening an authentic Italian restaurant, much like Sal.  Today the team has once again brought Italy to Syracuse, paying homage to the old and embracing the new.

One of the cornerstones of authentic Italian cuisine is that some things must be made fresh, from scratch, on site. This idea has been completely embraced by Fabio’s. They make everything on site, from the freshly baked bread, to the light yet hearty pasta, to the decadent desserts. I believe that you could close your eyes and point to a menu item and you would not be disappointed –everything is absolutely mouthwatering. Every single dish is made fresh to order. Their lunch menu includes selections of salad, pasta, sandwiches, entrees, and pizza. Their dinner menu is more expansive with many wonderful options to choose from. Some of their unique appetizer include Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese, with fresh buffalo mozzarella and tomato dressed with Italian seasoning and  Polenta Trio  with three polenta waffles topped with broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, sausage and smoked provolone. As part of their grand opening you can try Fabio’s Signature Appetize -Reggiano Flambe- or “flaming cheese” for an unbeatable and enchanting dining experience brought right to your table! You can’t go wrong with a pasta dish, made fresh daily, you can choose from Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Linguini, Fettuccine (pappardelle), Taglierini, Whole wheat of the day or specialty pastas including  Priestchokers, Gnocchi, Ravioli. Some of their outstanding pasta dishes include Priestchokers with Pancetta and Broccoli Rabe, with homemade ricotta dough hand rolled short cut pasta sautéed with pancetta and broccoli rabe in a light San Marzano tomato sauce, topped with toasted parmigiano breadcrumbs, and Taglierini Cacio E Arugula with homemade taglierini sautéed with fresh arugula, radicchio and pecorino cheese in a lightly peppered garlic and oil sauce, and Seafood Linguini (Linguini ai frutti di mare) with Fresh scallops, clams, shrimp, black mussels, and calamari sautéed in marinara, Fra Diavolo or white wine, over homemade linguini. Their fantastic entrees include sections like Braciola with tender beef medallions, rolled with porcini mushrooms, pancetta, pine nuts and Italian herbs, braised with onions, celery and carrots in a tomato sauce and Lemon Chicken Primavera with fresh chicken breast lightly-floured, pan seared with a medley of vegetables of the day, in a butter lemon sauce. You can’t forget about their pizza with exceptional choices like Torre Icona (Icon Tower) “A Fabio’s Signature Pizza” a Bianca pizza topped with a heaping tower of Arugula salad, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a fresh squeeze of lemon, freshly ground black pepper, and finished with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, a dish that is perfect for sharing with the table, or Diavola with Tomato sauce, smoked provolone and soppressata (choice of spicy or sweet). Whatever you do be sure to save room for dessert!

The Linguini Shrimp Scampi (Linguini ai gamberetti) which isprepared in a creamy scampi sauce, served over homemade linguini. Loaded with shrimp, garlic, and flavor this dish was certainly a crowd pleaser!

Kyle and I arrived at Fabio’s on a sunny Thursday evening. We easily found parking on Warren Street. We were immediately greeted and seated by the friendly hostess Nya. Our friendly and knowledgeable servers Donna and Ivey answered all of our questions and made certain that our meal was nothing short of perfection. We began our meal with two appetizers: Eggplant Rolatini (Rolatini di melanzane) rolled eggplant stuffed with gorgonzola, ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella baked in marinara sauce and Calamari (Calamari fritti) delicious and tender calamari tossed in semolina flour and fried, finished with a pinch of salt and a twist of lemon, served with Fra’ Diavolo sauce and freshly baked bread with olive oil dipping sauce. We ate every bite! The eggplant was tender and perfectly stuffed with cheesy goodness. The calamari was light and flavorful and excellently pair with the Fra’ Diavolo sauce. I had a fresh and crisp Caesar salad while Kyle enjoyed ever last drop of the soup of the day, a lovely seafood primavera! Upon Donna’s recommendation I ordered the Stuffed Flounder (Platessa Ripiena) two fresh fillets stuffed with crab meat, scallops, shrimp, roasted red peppers and Italian seasoning, broiled in a citrus butter sauce accompanied by grilled artichoke hearts. This dish was not only colorful and beautiful, it was delectable! On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 100! Kyle ordered the Linguini Shrimp Scampi (Linguini ai gamberetti) which was prepared in a creamy scampi sauce, served over homemade linguini. This dish was a garlic lover’s dream! Loaded with shrimp, garlic, and flavor this dish was certainly a crowd pleaser! It should be noted that the pasta is light and heavenly and although the portion was generous it did not leave you with that “over stuffed” feeling. When we heard that the desserts were made on site we knew we would have to indulge. I ordered the light and creamy orange ricotta pie (topped with homemade candy oranges); it was light and fun and reminded me of my childhood! Kyle decided on the homemade cannoli, with a light and crispy shell overfilled with creamy filling with was the perfect way to end a meal!

The Calamari (Calamari fritti) delicious and tender calamari tossed in semolina flour and fried, finished with a pinch of salt and a twist of lemon, served with Fra’ Diavolo sauce.

Fabio’s is the perfect place for a cocktail and pizza with friends, a cozy date night, or even a family dinner. They also offer take out! Fabio’s is also the perfect place for your upcoming party, meeting, shower, or event with a private back room (that would be perfect for surprise parties!) They are also the ideal location for a cocktail party as they can serve you and your guests in the lobby of historic Icon Towers leaving plenty of space to walk around to mix and mingle. What really set’s Fabio’s apart is their attention to deal from the food to the décor and even the staff. Check them out on their website at www.fabiosdowntown.com, call for reservations or to book your upcoming event at 315-303-1630 or better yet stop by today!

Kerilyn Micale
Kerilyn E. Micale is a Cicero native.