On the nights when she takes a small respite at the hostess stand, Antonella Lancione’s favorite music is the symphony of “ooh”s, “aah”s, and “wow”s that involuntarily escape from the lips of patron after patron as they cross the threshold into the newly christened, Alessia’s Trattoria. What was previously the local institution, Chef Antonio’s, for nearly four decades, has now transformed into a chic Manhattan-esque eatery with eye-catching art and beckoning banquettes. After nearly a year of working on the buildout, the reactions are gratifying. “We took our time and carefully thought out every single detail to make sure it was perfect,” says Lancione.
The name may ring a Pavlovian bell to you — the husband-and-wife duo of Anthony and Antonella are also owners of Antonio’s Trattoria, a beacon of good conversation and better food nestled between Belmont and Crescent. The pair is now tasked with the mission of bringing that beloved, old school Bronx way of life into their own neighborhood.
Dedicated to fostering a community wherever they go, flourishes of Arthur Ave are woven throughout the restaurant’s menu. Perhaps one of the most enticing is placed at the table the moment you take your seat: fresh pane di casa from Addeo & Sons Bakery. Coupled with cheese from the line-causing Casa Della Mozzarella, you’ll never have to weave in and out of the Bronx looking for parking again.
The menu echoes the rush of excitement usually reserved for the smell of Sunday sauce. Dive into the hearty and perfectly layered lasagna with fresh sheets from Borgatti’s, light-as-air house-made gnocchi alla bosciola, sautéed with plum tomatoes, onions, and sweet sausage, or the fork-defiant short ribs Toscana: Beef short ribs braised, roasted, and served with spinach and a reduced vegetable wine sauce that might as well come with a straw. Don’t turn a blind eye to the creative brick-oven-fired pizza menu with pies like the classic Margherita or the creative rapini pie of fresh Casa mozz, broccoli rabe, and crumbled sausage.
The sweeping wine selection is impressive in range and presentation, with nearly 1,000 bottles on hand. Serving as a focal point of the dining room, the glass-encased vino elevates the vibe and the libations, pulling together the atmosphere of the experience.
The Lanciones’ philosophy is simple: You should feel like you’re walking into your family’s house. With smiles and enthusiastic hellos from every corner of the room, the welcoming warmth is served tableside. “We want this to feel like a special place for people,” says Lancione. “Meals that are home away from home.” And you wouldn’t think twice about someone’s grandma being the culinary mastermind in the back.
551 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.315.4799; alessiastrattoria.com