Housed in a former 1925 Ybor City macaroni factory, Casa Santo Stefano pays fond tribute to Sicilian food. Richard Gonzmart 4th generation caretaker of the Columbia Restaurant Group knew he wanted to share the food he grew up eating at childhood friends’ homes. Those Nana-cooked meals provide the inspiration for the pastas, sauces and seafood featured at Casa Santo Stefano. Not just Sicilian, but Tampa Sicilian! The menu pays tribute to the wave of Sicilian immigrants who – along with the Cubans and Spanish – helped build Tampa and Ybor City after coming to America looking for a better life. Specifically, 60 percent of the Sicilians in Tampa came from Santo Stefano Quisquina.
Each of the items we tried transported us to Italy and it is evident how this newest project was a labor of love. Casa Santo Stefano is sure to give locals and tourist alike a reason to visit Ybor City. This new restaurant in Tampa is sure to become another popular favorite!
Much of the food served here – from the wines in your glass to the cheese on your plate and even the extra-virgin olive oil and the salt on your food are imported from family businesses in Sicily.
The hand-painted, colorful backsplashes, tabletops and countertops were ordered from a family in Caltagirone, Sicily. The vintage pictures artfully scattered around the restaurant represent many of the founding Sicilian families in Tampa, generously shared by their proud descendants.
We begin our meal with an addictive bread that is unlike any we have ever had.
Santo Stefano’s Sfinciune bread, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, Pecorino and caciocavallo cheese
My dining companion (hubby) was born and raised in Tampa and he is in for a trip down memory lane. He fondly remembers Pardo’s Market’s sausage as a treat his dad would grill up.
SALSICCIA GRIGLIA PARDO Grilled Pardo Family Italian sausage with lemon
Husband gushes like a school girl when he gets to meet Chef Enzo Pardo and share with him how dear the memories of his family market are to him.
VONGOLE AL FORNO Oven-baked stuffed middle neck clams with seasoned muddica, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, white wine, with roasted grape tomato, lemon
LASAGNA Baked layers of fresh pasta, garlic ricotta, mozzarella and Grana Padano cheese, mix of Italian sausage and Bolognese meat, with tomato sauce
SEPPIA GRIGLIATA Chargrilled, marinated cuttlefish with fresh black ink spaghetti, spicy “Aglio Olio e Peperoncino” sauce
We regret not saving room for dessert which gives us the perfect excuse to return. Casa Santo Stefano is open daily and we genuinely can’t wait to dine with them again.
If we made you hungry check out our local food tours in downtown Tampa, St. Pete and Dunedin.