An authentic experience of Italy no longer requires a transatlantic flight. Rather, experience the unique personality of the boot-shaped nation’s sights, sounds, smells, and tastes with Giovanni and Sandy Sanzone at Little Italy of Wildwood Crest. Little Italy’s interior is designed in the warm terracotta and tile characteristic of Italian streets and features it very own 3-dimensional piazzas. Home to several vendors and markets, Italians sip their morning cappuccino, purchase fish for dinner, and browse the baker’s selection of cannolis all within their favorite piazza. Each piazza bears the name of a Sanzone family member, reflecting just how much Giovanni wishes to share his family heritage with diners. Little Italy offers a virtual experience of the Meditteranean nation. The meal is just as much visual as culinary.
Giovanni Sanzone has, in his own words, “all his life, grown up in a kitchen.” Born in Switzerland and raised in Sicily, Giovanni moved to Wildwood with his family in 1985 and worked at his family’s pizzeria until May of 1996. He then decided to embark upon his own business venture, sharing his Sicilian heritage and extensive culinary knowledge with the Wildwood community with Little Italy restaurant. Proud of his Italian roots, Giovanni entertains diners with his carefully selected mix of Italian tunes from a range of eras to make their authentic experience an audio one as well.
Giovanni, wife Sandy, and Giovanni’s best friend and longtime dining room manager Michael Schultz have perfected the Italian-style dining experience. Michael, now celebrating his 15th season with Little Italy, ensures that the dining room ambiance remains perfectly “Italy” while also ensuring that diners enjoy the best service and great-value specials. Giovanni and sous chef Silvio Piftoia are responsible for the creation and approval of each delicious and authentic dish served and constantly design Little Italy exclusives, making this dining experience truly one-of-a-kind. For example, the Penne Alla Giovanni features white creamy sauce with broccoli, red pepper, garlic, sun dried tomato, and grilled chicken over penne and remains a Little Italy favorite and true taste of Sicily.
From fresh bread baked daily in the restaurant to traditional Bruschetta, and Antipasto Alla Little Italy to Cozze All’Italiana, Little Italy offers a range of appetizers to start your authentic Italian meal right. Its nearly endless menu of pasta possibilities includes a choice of five of the freshest pastas and twelve sauce and toppings options from classic Marinara to Italian specialty Agilo e Olio Broccoli & Chicken. When the shore atmosphere has you craving cuisine of the sea, Little Italy offers ultra-fresh seafood combination platters featuring local catches of flounder, scallops, shrimp, crab cake, and clams casino topped lightly with breadcrumbs and baked to perfection. For the best of the seafood and pasta worlds, opt for one of Little Italy’s ten pasta with seafood dishes such as Shrimp Alla Panna or Carne Di Granchi Al Pomidoro, lump crabmeat in marinara over a bed of pasta. The steak and chicken dishes are innovative, delectable, and truly reminiscent of classic Mediterranean flavors. All Little Italy beef is prepared in their wood fired grill, giving it a unique savory taste. As a father of three boys, Giovanni has ensured that Little Italy’s kids’ menu keeps kids and families happy with excellent choices from a hamburger platter to pizza bread.
Directly imported from Milan, desserts at Little Italy could not get any more Italian. Diner favorites include the classic Tiramisu, the Coppa Caffe gelato, and refreshing lemon, peach, and coconut sorbets served in fresh fruit shells. Complement any of these delicious dessert choices with Little Italy’s high-quality espresso and close your meal as you would on a true Italian summer evening.
Walk over the beautifully marble tiled floor, experience the unique music and ambiance, and enjoy a generous portion of Little Italy’s always delicious, high-quality yet affordable food. Giovanni, Sandy, and the Little Italy family invite your family to join the throngs of Little Italy regulars who remain ever satisfied after their venture into Mediterranean culture.
5401 Atlantic Avenue , Wildwood Crest, NJ, 08260, 609-523-0999
By Megan Kummer