I hadn’t been to Antonia’s in about five and a half years. Why? Last time I was there it was only okay, and was quite expensive, so it never seemed like a good idea to go back. Several months ago it was bought and taken over by one of the partners in Blackfin Bistro, an awesome restaurant with great breakfasts, burgers, fish and more. We were optimistic that Antonia’s would once again be good, and we were not disappointed.
I have a friend that will disagree with me on this, but I like the dark, cave-like atmosphere, with tables a little too close together. It’s not
terribly Keys-y, but it is cozy. I like it. One of my big complaints from years ago was that when we ordered a bottle of red wine it came, not at room temperature (which in Florida is already too warm) but hot. Like it was kept in an attic, or over the stove, hot. Now they have an actual wine cooler. I am not sure if the entire, extensive, and very good wine list is stored in there, but certainly the better bottles are. We went with friends that are not really wine drinkers, but can be convinced to have a glass (or bottle or two) of a nice fruity white, so we went with a Verdicchio (at a reasonable $35 on the list).
My diet was completely blown over the holidays, so we took advantage and ordered a pasta for the table, as well as a couple of appetizers. The pasta, made in house, is fabulous. This one had marinara sauce and Key West pink shrimp, and was perfectly executed. We also had the goat cheese souffle, which was wonderful. Warm goat cheese in a souffle format should not be bad under any circumstances, but this was really, really good. FKGuy and I may have argued over the last couple of bites.
The night we were there they were out of yellowtail – both the menu version, and the special of the night. We got there at 7:30, but it was New Years Day, and it was mobbed, and these things happen. The grouper was terrific, with a porcini mushroom cream sauce. We also had the veal scallopini, sauteed in white wine, lemon and capers. The whole meal was very, very good. Food and service were both excellent.
We were too full for dessert (and they were out of key lime pie, anyway), but were brought a plate of cookies to finish off the evening. Overall, it was a good dinner, and I am looking forward to a return visit. Mostly, I am glad that Antonia’s is good again and can be added into the rotation.