Asti Caffe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: May 7, 2014

What's the four-one-one on Asti Caffe?  It's their address – 411 North Salina Street in Syracuse.  Not quite in the "heart of downtown," but darn close.

On a recent sunny (but not really warm) weekday, a friend of mine joined me for lunch at Asti.  Neither of us had ever been before.  I have to say that parking on a weekday at noon was tough, but available.  We wound up parking at a meter across on a tiny side street and walking over.  Walking up to the front door, you're greeted by a warm, red brick facade.  The recessed door is reached after you walk under a wrought iron arch.  There's construction work going on nearby, but I was struck by how fresh and clean the front looked.

DSCF0249Part of the sidewalk is blocked off behind a low partition.  Given the tables and chairs out there, I assume that in good weather, seating is available out there for dining al fresco.  We entered the front door and were greeted promptly.  There's a small seating area of booths right in front, with a small, friendly looking bar off to your right.  We were taken back and to the left into a larger, more open dining area.


Canale’s Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian, Take-away
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Published on: April 4, 2014

Canale’s of Oswego, a restaurant going back over 50 years, opened a simple take-out place in Liverpool a few years back.  It’s on Rt 57, in the Glenn Crossing Plaza.  There are a few other ethnic restaurants here, so it seemed like a good choice.  The space was small, meant only for cooking, with a small waiting area for patrons who were picking up their food.


Nope.  The patrons would have none of that!  These folks wanted to sit down and actually eat what they’d ordered on premises.  So Canale’s immediately obliged.  The place got so popular that they even build a little area in the warm months, where people can sit outside and be served.  True, the atmosphere out there can be a little. . . smoggy, but what the heck, you’re eating outside!


Basil Leaf Ristorante

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: April 2, 2014

Basil Leaf moved last year. It was this tiny hole-in-the-wall place in North Syracuse. Last fall, they moved down the road to the corner of Rt 11 and Taft Rd, into the old Fresno’s building. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be the same.

Basil Leaf used to be a very romantic place.  A grotto, if you will, where parties of two could talk in low tones, music in the background.  Sure, you’d get larger parties, but the small, intimate space and dark interior was custom made for dates.  The food and service were spectacular.  Attentive but not intrusive staff.  Delicious entrees seasoned just right.  Even the bread was delicious!



Categories: Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: March 21, 2014

To conclude my Downtown Restaurant Week experience, a friend and I went to Pastabilities. Just for a little background information, the Syracuse Downtown Dining Week is an event where participating downtown restaurants serve a three-course meal for the price of $25. And for restaurants such as Pastabilities, this is a pretty good deal.

It’s pretty hard to screw up pasta in general, so I was counting on a good meal. I had also been to the restaurant on a few other occasions, and always left full and satisfied, though with my wallet a little lighter.

My friend and I went on a cloudy Monday night around 8 o’clock, meaning there was no battle to find a parking spot downtown, and no wait in the restaurant. The restaurant was relatively quiet, but inviting with its warm, red décor and dark wood. The bar was not large, but had an ample selection of beers and wines, and if there had been a line to wait, I wouldn’t have minded hanging out there till a table was ready.


Santangelo’s in Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Fancy, Italian
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Published on: March 10, 2014

Santangelo’s has been around for over 25 years.  It’s on Old Liverpool Road, just past the stoplight at the end of Electronics Parkway.  Unless you’re new to CNY, or you simply don’t like Italian food, you’ve probably been to Santangelo’s.

The parking lot is large, but so is the interior.  Many nights I’ve seen cars parked on the grass, or in some other place the owner felt they could wedge in.  Reservations are accepted, and I encourage them, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.


Carmella’s Cafe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: October 17, 2010

New Hartford is the original Carmella’s Cafe location. My fiancé recalls when there was a Carmella’s in North Syracuse, but it has since closed down. The website mentioned it was created as a chain. This restaurant is trying to hard to be an old time Italian restaurant, but it doesn’t have the authentic look and feel. They had classic music playing similar to Frank Sinatra and tables covered with red and white or green and white checkered table clothes. In the back of the restaurant the workers make the pasta fresh by hand; that’s about the only authentic feel this place has.

We were led to the back of the restaurant and seated right next to the computers the servers use to cash people out. It was somewhat awkward because there was always someone right behind us at the computers. I should have requested a different table, but there weren’t too many in this back section available. It seemed like they really wanted to keep the front of the store empty it seemed.


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