With New Piccola Cucina Estiatorio, Restaurateur Brings Mediterranean Charm and Authenticity to SoHo with Fresh Seafood, Handmade Pastas and Thoughtful Italian Wines
This month, Sicilian-born chef and restaurateur Philip Guardione of Piccola Cucina Group opens his fourth restaurant, Piccola Cucina Estiatorio, in SoHo. Piccola Cucina Estiatorio is a seafood-focused restaurant highlighting the ingredients and flavors of Sicily and Greece.
Guardione also owns Piccola Cucina Enoteca and Piccola Cucina Osteria in New York City, and operates Piccola Cucina Ibiza in Calle Marina Botafoch, Ibiza, Spain. Guardione’s cooking is rooted in tradition, but reinvented for the modern diner. His goal is to deliver an authentic experience and genuine hospitality through cuisine, service and ambiance.
The menu at this rustic Mediterranean seafood restaurant is centered around an array of fresh fish that is imported daily from Sicily and displayed atop a bed of ice in a bright blue, vintage Piaggio ‘Ape’ vehicle. Priced by weight and served whole, the daily selection may include options like Branzino, Red Snapper, Dorado, Swordfish, or Bluefin Tuna, among others. Guests can hand-select their fish, choose a style of preparation (broiled, grilled, or fried), as well as an accompanying side (lemon potatoes, sautéed spinach, or grilled vegetables).
Other offerings include an assortment of crudo, such as Tartare di Tonno (Tuna Tartare with celery and bottarga) and Gamberoni di Mazara (Mazara Prawns with spritz granita), as well as shareable antipasti like Polpette di Cinghiale (Wild Boar Meatballs with Mt. Etna Porcini and black truffles), Arancino Catanese (Sicilian Rice Balls), and Insalata Finocchi e Arance (Fennel and Orange Salad). Not to be missed are Guardione’s fresh, handmade pastas – which are famously served at the table in an aluminum pan. Standouts include Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare (Spaghetti with Sea Urchin), Maccheroni al Ragù di Carne e Finocchietto Selvatico (Maccheroni with meat ragù and wild fennel), Gnocchetti Porcini e Gamberi (Gnocchetti with shrimp and Porcini), and Ravioli alla Norma (Eggplant-stuffed Ravioli with tomato sauce and ricotta). Guests may also opt for entrées such as the Costolette D’agnello (Lamb Chops) or Lombatello di Manzo alla Griglia (Grilled Skirt Steak), in addition to a selection of Italian desserts to end the meal.
The wine list, curated by beverage team Monica Monfasani and Alfio Scrivano, focuses predominately on small-production Italian wines from Sicily, such as Frank Cornelissen and Passopisciaro S.R.L. available by the glass or bottle. Peroni is also available by the bottle, as well as a selection of soft drinks.
Designed by husband-wife duo Philip Guardione and Monica Monfasani, the 55-seat restaurant evokes the cool tranquility of the Mediterranean and the coziness of a European taverna. The 900 square foot space, outfitted throughout with distressed wood, warm brick accents and draped nautical roping, welcomes natural light by way of floor-to-ceiling windows that line the restaurant’s storefront. Custom-made in Italy, the mixed-wood tabletops glow under varied pendent light fixtures, which hang from a Cycladic-inspired whitewashed ceiling. Along one wall, guests will find built-in shelving lined with dried pastas, olive oils, and other imported products from Italy, while the other features more decorative nautical roping entwined with bottles of wine.
In the coming weeks following the opening, Piccola Cucina Estiatorio will launch lunch service.
Piccola Cucina Estiatorio is located at 75 Thompson Street, between Spring and Broome Streets, in SoHo. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 5:00PM to 11:00PM, and Friday & Saturday from 5:00PM to 12:00AM. Reservations can be made via OpenTable, and walk-ins are welcome. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For more information, please call 646-781-9183, email email@example.com, or visit their website.