Antonioni’s releases a cool, “I can’t believe I haven’t been here yet vibe” as soon as you step through the door. You can see the whole room in just one glance which is full of hot, leather banquettes seated with romantic parties of two and wild, fun parties of four. The wallpaper, yes wallpaper, is orange with circus animals and all of the tables sit close enough to where you feel like you are at a party but still allowing you to have your own personal space. It’s sexy for a date yet loud and intriguing enough for a single crew’s pre-dinner out. Luckily, the food matches the scene and is affordable and just right for every night of the week. Red sauce Italian options are endless in the pasta and pizza department and if you are looking for something else, they have a long list of salads, entrees and the typical, shareable Bruschetta, Rice Balls and Meatballs.
The Eggplant Rolatini appetizer is a delicious version of an eggplant parm but a little more lady like and easy to share. The eggplant is rolled up and topped with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. As one of my favorite dishes of the night, be sure to ask for a spoon so you can scoop the excess tomato sauce onto your plate. You don’t see this vegetable prepared like this on the appetizer side regularly, so hats of to Antonioni’s for this. We tried the (baby) meatballs because you just can’t ever skip this dish these days. However, you can skip them here. They are pretty standard but won’t blow your mind like the eggplant appetizer or other dishes. There are so many pastas to choose from and most are around $15 which is a steal. The Pappardelle Sausage and Fennel with chili flakes, parmesan and lemon zest is one of the heartiest, magical and most memorable pastas I’ve had in a while. You just can’t let these sheets of pasta go untouched. It’s amazing how flavorful it is and it certainly pairs all the right ingredients for a successful dish. Other pasta options inclue: Chitarra Pesto, Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli, Taglierini Seafood, Vegetable Lasagne, etc.
For an entree, I loved the Fisherman’s Stew. It comes close to my favorite which is at Bianca, with a tomato broth and cod, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, fennel and saffron. It’s light and not as rich and buttery as those at Dirty French and Balthazar. The grilled bread with some kind of aioli on top is an added treat. It’s light, warming, fresh and packed with a fantastic amount of seafood. We skipped dessert and headed down the street to Morgenstern’s Ice Cream shop before we popped to share a scoop of my favorite salted caramel pretzel ice cream.
Antonioni’s makes you feel alive. The upbeat feeling you receive while inside carries over with you for the rest of your night giving you that surge of energy and happiness that you crave from restaurants in New York City. The food just so happens to be an added bonus.
***In addition, Antonioni just launched brunch with the classics like French Toast, three kinds of omelettes, pizza, smoked salmon sandwich, egg bacon tomato and lemon mayo sandwich, etc.