With so many restaurants coming onto the scene, the question of the moment appears to be “What’s your favorite?” When I am asked that question, I usually hesitate, and start to go through all of the places that I enjoy (and there are many). But in the end, I usually end up talking about certain dishes from certain restaurants – dishes that I could not live without. That being said, I figure that I would throw out one of my top favorite dishes in Buffalo – one that my wife and I eat once a week… sometimes for lunch, and sometimes for dinner.
For us, the pasta fasoola (their spelling) at Santasiero’s is a dish that we crave. We’ve been going to Santasiero’s for years, and while there are some other dishes that are pretty good, there’s nothing like the pasta fasoola. The giant bowl of brothy pasta and beans comes with a side of hot peppers that will knock your socks off on the right day. I always ask for a side plate so that I can mince up the peppers before pouring them onto the pasta and stirring around. By the time I am done preparing, each bite incorporates a little bit of the pepper. A couple of pinches of salt, a dusting of black pepper, and some parmesan cheese, and the dish is ready for eating. My wife opts for chili flakes over the hot peppers.
My wife opts to get the gluten free penne pasta as a substitute for the ditalini pasta. Due to the large portion of the dish, she feels less bogged down (she also takes half the dish home with her to eat later). I’ll take being bogged down because I’m a big fan of the way that the house prepares it. Regardless of the type of pasta, this is one of the most comforting dishes in all of Buffalo. The dish is very consistent, which is something that we also like. We never have to worry about an off day. Plus, it’s a fairly inexpensive meal that comes out super quick. The pasta is already cooked off and only needs to be reheated (upon ordering). The sauce is kept warm and is always ready to be poured. This dish is so good, that we also eat it in the middle of summer, despite the heat.
Half the time we eat pasta fasoola we get take out. The other half we sit at a table. Not long ago, Santasiero’s updated (after water damage) their restaurant by adding oversized silver and white tin panels to the ceilings and the walls. For a while their giant menu board was missing, but now it’s back. The restaurant is one of our favorite places to go on Sunday morning, when (for some reason) we are not heading off to brunch. But beware… Santasiero’s does NOT serve coffee – never did, never will apparently. So you might want to bring your own cup with you if you need some caffeine. The place is also “cash only”. And if that’s not quirky enough for you, the only phone in the establishment is a pay phone!
Now that you know one of my favorite dishes in Buffalo, I would love to hear yours. We’re always on the hunt for the best meals around. We have come to the realization that (in our eyes), there is no best restaurant… only best dishes. That said, we would love to have a few more “can’t live without” recommendations to add to our dining repertoire.
Santasiero’s 1329 Niagara Street | Buffalo, New York | (716) 886-9197