Antonio’s on Sand Lake

Originally posted on Blogger on June 27, 2011

My littlest sisters (twins) graduated high school a couple of weeks ago. They are ten years younger than I am, so of course, this means I am officially old. They also graduated from a huge high school, and that means that their graduation ceremony was insanely long. However, one of them was a valedictorian and the other was in the honors program, so their names were called fairly early and, as sad as this is to admit to those whose last names begin with Y, I somewhat tuned out the second half of the ceremony. Oops. What was I thinking about instead? The celebratory meal that we were going to have after the ceremony, of course!

The twins’ chose Antonio’s, an Italian restaurant in the Restaurant Row area of Dr. Phillips, for us to have dinner at following their graduation. A few members of my family, including myself, had been there once before several years ago, and I was looking forward to returning. C and I got there before the rest of the family (we were a party of nine total, including C and myself, my three sisters and parents, my aunt, and a friend), so we decided to go up and have a drink while we waited.

Antonio’s is located on the second floor of a shopping plaza full of delectable eateries and adorable shops. The entrance way (via staircase or elevator) is slightly hidden in an alcove between two storefronts. When you step into the restaurant, you are greeted by low, warm lighting and rich dark woodwork. The bar area is cozy and comfortable, with both seats at the bar itself and at tables just next to it. Just beyond the bar is the main restaurant area. Antonio’s has an open kitchen and is decorated in rich tones with gorgeous wood floors. There are also cozy one-sided booths that would make for a wonderful romantic meal.

The bar area at Antonio’s

Once the rest of the group arrived, we were seated promptly and greeted by our server, who took our drink orders and brought us bread and olive oil. There is something about dipping crusty bread with a soft center in olive oil that is so much more delicious when out at a restaurant than the bread and butter that is found at so many places. Light and flavorful.

We ordered a few different appetizers for the table to share bites of, and each of them was very good. The best of them by far, however, was the calamari dorati. It was a simple battered and fried calamari, but it was executed perfectly. The coating was light and crisp, the calamari itself was tender and almost buttery, and the dipping sauce was intensely flavorful without overpowering the calamari. So good.

Antonio’s Calamari Dorati
Antonio’s Antipasto Misto
Antonio’s Portabello Ripieno

For the main courses, our table made a wide array of choices, choosing everything from the traditional Italian American pasta dishes to the daily specials. My father ordered the Filet special, which came to the table perfectly cooked and resting on top of a gorgonzola polenta that was creamy and delicious. C ordered the swordfish special and enjoyed every bite of it (and this is a man who claims to detest Italian food! He cleaned his plate!). I had the linguine alla vongole, which was a bit too salty and a little gritty due to the clams, one of the twins had the spaghetti al pomodoro con polpette (which she loved), and my aunt ordered the veal chop. I did not try the veal, but she said it was also delicious and perfectly cooked. The star entree of the night, at least out of the ones that I tasted, however, was my other sister’s choice. She had the pappardelle al salmone con piselli e mascarpone. First of all, I adore pappardelle pasta when it is cooked well, and these thick ribbons of pasta were cooked perfectly. The chunks of salmon throughout were tender and not over-cooked, and the creamy mascarpone sauce made a perfect complement to the fish.

Antonio’s filet special
Antonio’s linguine alla vongole
Antonio’s swordfish special
Antonio’s pappardelle al salmone con piselli e mascarpone

And of course, even though most of us were full by the time we’d completed our entrees, we had to order a few desserts to share around the table. This was a celebration, after all! We ordered several of the dessert options, and everyone that sampled them deemed the torta al cioccolato (a ginormous slice of chocolate cake!) the sure winner. A cup of cappucino for all, and we left the restaurant full and satisfied. If you have not tried Antonio’s Ristorante on Sand Lake or haven’t been recently, I highly recommend trying it out for a special occasion or a romantic evening out.

Antonio’s cappucino
Antonio’s tartufo
Antonio’s tiramisu
Antonio’s torta al cioccolato – so good I wasn’t able
to snap a photo until several bites had been taken!

Antonio's on Urbanspoon

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Please forgive my dark and sometimes not-so-flattering photos for this post and do not let them sway you against trying this restaurant out; the lighting at Antonio’s is quite dim, and I was taking photos with my phone that night.

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