Food Porn: Santasiero’s

Alli has been in the mood for some good old fashioned red sauce Italian food for a while now, so last week we decided to take a short drive down Niagara St. to visit Santasiero’s.  We’ve read some good reviews online, so instead of driving back to the southtowns to visit Alli’s favorite red sauce Italian (Tina’s in Hamburg), we decided to try something new and trust a restaurant that’s been around for 90 years.

Quick Info

  • Restaurant Type: Casual
  • Location: West Side
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Price: Almost everything is under $10

Don’t plan on visiting Santasiero’s for the ambiance or their take on rustic and authentic Italian dishes.  Their menu is very simple red sauce Italian that Western New Yorkers know very well.  The building itself will remind you of an old house, there’s even a kitchen sink in the dining room. The menu is a large billboard on the dining room wall, they only take cash and the tables are simple metal chairs and tables with vinyl table clothes.

Every town has their own red sauce place where families can go to share a bite to eat, in fact on our visit there was a large table of 15 that were sitting down for a family meal.  Like other familiar Italian restaurants, the portions were pretty large and the prices were very affordable.  We started our meal with some Garlic Bread topped with Mozzerella Cheese.  The pieces of bread were incredibly thick and fresh. I don’t remember getting a strong garlic flavor but I can’t really critique bread covered with cheese all that much.

I ordered the Pasta Fasoola due to 2 foursquare tips and a tweet from one of our followers.  I’ve only had Pasta Fasoola a couple times in my life but I can’t say I’ve ever been blown away.  Santasiero’s pretty much followed the formula I’ve seen before and the dish was loaded with chickpeas, noodles and onions.  The broth was surprisingly thick and had hints of tomato flavor.  I ended up throwing the grilled banana peppers that were served on the side into my broth to give it a much needed kick.  I ordered a small and had enough left over to feed myself the following day for lunch.  My expectations might have been a little high, due to the recommendations, but I can’t say anything about this was really different.  But it wasn’t bad either and if you are a Pasta Fasoola fan in general, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Alli ordered the Spaghetti Parm, a dish she is definitely familiar with.  A large amount of bubbly mozzarella cheese melted over pasta and sweet and smooth red sauce, while nothing outstanding, satisfied Alli’s craving for the time being.  Again, the portion was large; even though she ordered a half portion, she had more than half left over for lunch the next day.

Overall, we were full and satisfied with our meal at Santasiero’s.  I can see why this place would have a soft place in people’s hearts that have grown up nearby.  Our server was incredibly friendly and made us feel like we were one of the regulars, which is sometimes the fear for us when we enter a neighborhood restaurant that we aren’t familiar with.  The menu isn’t dramatically different than any other red sauce restaurant, except for the only unique standout dish of Peas and Macaroni (which our server highly recommended).  Considering their incredibly affordable prices and low-key atmosphere, we wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying them out, just don’t plan to be blown away (which, sometimes, is OK).

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