Big winner at the Oscars: Schindler's List. Back in 1993 that is, which is when the Argentinean Cea family debuted Café Prima Pasta on 71st Street in North Beach. It has always been a family affair. Papa Arturo was the opening executive chef, and still is. Son Geraldo Cea, along with siblings Fabian and Marcela oversee the 140-seater, while their mother, Carla, orchestrates production of the homemade desserts. Chef Arturo's got a new sous chef, Carlos Belon, and a slew of new additions to the menu to mark the upcoming 19-year anniversary.
But let's first get to the ice cold Peroni Nastro Azzurro served on tap for $2 Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
OK, back to the menu additions.
New appetizers include:
- Polpo alla Toscana ($12.95) -- sauteed octopus and roasted potatoes with cannelini beans.
- Salmon Tokyo ($14.95) -- blackened salmon infused with lemon and "oriental infused sauce" over arugula and crisp apples.
- Tuna Osaka ($14.95) - tuna tartare over spring greens with lemon and soy sauce.
Café Prima Pasta will also be changing its name to Café Prima Asian Seafood.
New entrees include gluten-free pastas, more vegetarian options, and dishes like these:
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- Garganelli lamb ragu ($16.95) - over homemade penne pasta and fresh ricotta.
- Fiocchi Rapera ($18.95) - made-to-order ravioli stuffed with fontina cheese and sweet pear, topped with roasted prosciutto in a creamy truffle sauce.
- Branziono alla Caccia ($23.95) - branzino baked with lemon, herbs, fennel, and roasted cherry tomatoes.
Upon settling into their seat, diners will also be privy to a complimentary Bellini cocktail. And perhaps they'll be able to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. Photos on the restaurant walls include autographed photos of past guests such as Matt Damon, Iggy Pop, Jessica Simpson, Michael Jordan, Janet Jackson, John Travolta, Lenny Kravitz, and Shakira.
Café Prima Pasta is setting the bar in other new ways: A renovated bar; a fresh-squeezed juice bar; and a dessert/cappuccino bar, to name a few. A privately labeled Café Prima Pasta olive oil is new too. Did I mention the $2 Peroni on tap?