An Interview with owner Vito Bellantuono and Executive Chef Antonello Giliberti of 888 Ristorante Italiano

Vito Bellantuono and Antonello Giliberti came to the United States from their home in Italy to achieve one goal: provide diners with fresh, authentic Italian food

An Interview with owner Vito Bellantuono and Executive Chef Antonello Giliberti of 888 Ristorante Italiano

What makes 888 Ristorante Italiano unique?

Giliberti’s goal is to provide an intimate experience. The restaurant only seats about 30 people and generally only serves about 50 people a day. Giliberti says he talks to everyone who comes into the restaurant every night. “It’s like you’re coming into my house, and you’re a guest in my house and I want to give you the best experience possible.”

Giliberti also mentions the importance of quality over quantity. He sources a large selection of his products from Italy including octopus, cuttlefish, and red mullet. He brings the food in daily to ensure freshness and any items leftover once the restaurant closes are discarded. Pasta is made fresh in-house daily. Once such dish is the fettuccine with the white truffle cream. The white truffle itself comes from Alba, Italy.

What’s your culinary background?

Both studied at Scuola Alberghiera in Italy. Giliberti began studying at 15 years old and worked in Sardinia and Amsterdam. They were both raised in restaurants. Michele Giliberti is Antonello’s father. Bellantuono owned a restaurant in Bari called Il Gabbiano with Michele. They both came to America to showcase Italian food from this region.

What can diners expect to see on the menu?

Giliberti says he as been told that the food at 888 Ristorante Italiano is better than the food served in Italy. Giliberti brings new techniques and recipes to a traditional menu with traditional dishes. Giliberti and Bellantuono were born in Bari on the Adriatic sea and are both highly influenced by this region. Their Menu is 80% southern italian food and 20 % northern food. They still have classic Italian dishes like pasta Alfredo and rigatoni bolognese, but they focus primarily on seafood recipes from their region.

For fresh, authentic food in an intimate setting, visit 888 Ristorante Italiano at 888 Laurel Street in San Carlos. Business hours are as follows:

Monday to Friday Lunch
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Monday to Thursday Dinner
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday Dinner
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

We hope to see you at our table!