Antonello Ristorante Asks Public to Help Make 40th Anniversary Picture Perfect

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Antonello Ristorante, one of Southern California’s most venerable upscale Italian dining establishments, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a call to patrons to share photos of themselves taken inside the restaurant.  Whether you were celebrating a birthday, anniversary, romantic dinner for two or lunch with friends, staff are requesting printed photos from those occasions and will assemble them into a collage and display them in the foyer.  Those participating will receive a complimentary bottle of Hello Kitty Pinot Bianco wine to take home (limit one bottle per table/family).

Chef/owner Antonio Cagnolo, who hails from Piedmont, Italy, opened Antonello at South Coast Plaza Village in 1979.  He was discovered by the shopping center’s founder Henry Segerstrom who offered him the opportunity to open his own restaurant.  From the moment it opened its doors, Antonello Ristorante was an instant success and the handsome owner became a local celebrity known not only for serving Orange County’s best Italian food, but as a humanitarian who has supported countless nonprofits over the years.  His involvement in various charity fundraisers has generated tens of millions of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Marconi Foundation for Kids, CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County), the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which named him “Man of the Year.”

Throughout his career, Cagnolo racked up countless positive reviews for elevating Orange County’s dining scene.  His many awards include the prestigious Circle of Fame Awards, Golden Scepter Awards and being named “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association.  He also has been recognized as a culinary trendsetter.  For instance, Antonello is one of the only restaurants in OC to prepare flambé dishes table-side and Cagnolo introduced the “sea to table” concept, where fishermen catch fresh sea bass, halibut, rock fish, calamari and other indigenous fish, each to be served that same day.

He began his culinary career after attending hotel and restaurant management schools in Germany.  Immediately following graduation, he was appointed to oversee food and beverage operations for the Royal Garden Hotel in London and, later, was involved in managing the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.  He opened Antonello Ristorante in 1979 and also owns Quattro and Antonello Espresso Bar, both located at South Coast Plaza.

Antonello has long been a favorite dining destination of top entertainers, politicians, captains of industry and sports figures including Magic Johnson, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna and Prime Minister of Japan Ryutaro Hashimoto.

Highly rated in the noted Zagat Guide for several years, Antonello Ristorante is located at 3800 Plaza Drive, at South Coast Plaza Village.  Call 714.751.7153 for reservations and visit www.antonello.com for more information.

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