Family-owned trattoria specializes in fresh seafood and handmade pasta

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Family-owned trattoria specializes in fresh seafood and handmade pasta

STONE HARBOR – The owners say fresh ingredients and simple preparations will be featured on the menu at Spiaggia Seafood Trattoria, a new family-owned restaurant that was set to open in Stone Harbor on Wednesday, May 9.

Spiaggia, meaning “beach” in Italian, will focus on fresh, local fish and other seafood. Owner Marco Tarantino, originally from Rome, says he did not envision Spiaggia as an Italian restaurant.

“People hear Italian and automatically think spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna, and that’s not our focus at Spiaggia” said Tarantino. “Our focus is on simplicity—three or four ingredients so that you don’t overwhelm a dish. We’ll grill the fish to really bring out the flavor, and we’ll filet it tableside. We’ll also be offering handmade pasta, which no one is doing on a regular basis in Stone Harbor.”

He said the menu at Spiaggia is a tribute to the simple Italian specialties from Tarantino’s childhood. He spent summers at the docks in the Italian coastal cities of Ladispoli and Civitavecchia. When the boats came in, Tarantino and his brothers chose their favorites. They learned to cook with their mother and grandmother.

But a career as a restaurateur was not on Tarantino’s horizon until he met his future wife.

“I really didn’t choose the business; the business chose me,” Tarantino said. “About 25 years ago, I went out on a date to an Italian restaurant, and ended up finding a wife and a job on the same night.”

He started work at that restaurant, and quickly embraced the business. He worked his way up the management chain in the industry, as he earned his bachelor of arts degree at St. Joseph’s University. After many years as a manager for La Collina in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., Tarantino was offered a partnership in the Newtown Grill, an Italian restaurant in Newtown Square, Pa. He remains a co-owner today.

Tarantino was also a partner in Sole’, located in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and in Stone Harbor. When the restaurant closed, he saw it as the ideal time to get the family more involved in the business. Tarantino chose the former site of Sole’ to open Spiaggia.

“My wife Analia and my mother-in-law will be making the handmade pasta,” he said. “My mother is coming over from Italy to stay for a few months and help with the restaurant. The kids, Alessandra, Daniel, and Cristina, will be involved. This is a true family business.”

Instead of offering dozens of choices, Spiaggia menu puts the focus on several key dishes that reflect the family’s heritage: nine appetizers, 12 entrees, five side dishes and six desserts, plus daily specials.

Marco’s wife is of Argentinian descent, and the menu also reflects her heritage.

Tarantino chose longtime colleague chef Jeff Staino to oversee the Spiaggia kitchen.

Staino graduated from the Academy of Culinary Arts (ACA) at Atlantic Cape Community College in 1995.

Spiaggia is a BYOB restaurant at 9800 3rd Ave. During the summer, the Trattoria will be open from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. For more information, see or call 609-368-9400.

Family-owned trattoria specializes in fresh seafood and handmade pasta

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