Alice Eats: Cucina Antica | Bite Club

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alice Eats: Cucina Antica

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 12:41 PM

43 Shelburne Shopping Park, Shelburne, 985-1117

It was one of those restaurant spaces that always seemed to have something good. Remember Fibonacci's with its pizzas topped according to the mathematical principle? Somehow, though, I still hadn't made it to Cucina Antica in its more than half-decade of life.

I liked it immediately, right down to the tablecloths decorated with turn-of-last-century ads. Remember the table tops at Wendy's in the '80s? This was a similar blast from the past, but this time I was old enough to read and appreciate the promised wonders of the "Princess Bust Developer."

Things got even better when a wood bowl filled with warm, crusty bread arrived. The oil that waited on the table to be poured for dipping was beautifully muddled  with Italian herbs and garlic.

My first impression of the menu: This place is lobster central. There were salads, sandwiches, pastas and pizza all filled with knuckles and claws. Since I was trying to keep things thrifty, none of them made it to my table, but I was impressed.

I was excited for the Greek food. Greek plate? Yes, please. I started by digging into the spanakopita, which was chock-full of feta, perhaps a little too much so. Though the phyllo crust was crisp top and bottom, the pie was somewhat dry overall and lacking a certain something.

There were tons of feta on the Greek salad, too. The very fresh mesclun mix and cherry tomatoes were nice but didn't really telegraph the Mediterranean to me. The dressing, mostly olive oil with some herbs floating in it, lacked the necessary tang, as well.

When I saw that the plate included skewered lamb or chicken, I was surprised that both options cost the same amount. That's because the lamb turned out to be gyro meat. I should have figured that out, but I was a little disappointed nonetheless. Once I tasted it, though, I was perfectly happy. The loaf was sliced thicker than gyro meat usually is, leaving it nice and moist. The seasoning was pretty ideal: salty, garlicky and savory. Stuffed into a chunk of chewy pita and dipped in creamy tzatziki, it was a true pleasure.

The pizza we tried was good, too. It was hard to choose from among all the appealing specialties. We settled on the "Camel's Hump," a pesto base topped with roasted chicken, pine nuts, super-sweet caramelized onions and even more cherry tomatoes. The shipment must have just come in.

The pie was flavorful but topped somewhat unevenly. Chicken and tomatoes were in fine supply, but the onions were distributed sparingly.

We nearly skipped dessert, but I'm glad we didn't. We eschewed the three regular options (tiramisu, cannoli and lemon cake) in favor of a rich chocolate special.

First of all, I loved the Sweeney Todd-style plate decoration. The raspberry coulis was sparse enough that it didn't add much flavor, but the style points were through the roof. The cake itself was an orgy of chocolate pleasures: cake, mousse, ganache and chocolate chunks. I hope it becomes more than a visitor to the menu.

That's because I will return. With more money to burn next time, I look forward to trying a fresh pasta dish or a more left-field pizza. Either way, I'm assuming lobster will make an appearance.

 Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to


Tags: ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact

About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

More By This Author

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Bite Club

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation