Small Plates, Big Flavor
Wilmington’s only true tapas restaurant delivers delicious food and potential to spare.
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Like many residents of Santa Maria di Castellabate, a gorgeous coastal hamlet near Salerno, Italy, Giuseppe Martuscelli’s family took a boat out each day to catch fresh fish. “And then we’d cook them right away,” he says. “It tastes best that way.”
For 31 years, Martuscelli, a former cook in the Italian navy, and his wife, Anna, have helmed the Italian landmark La Casa Pasta (120 Four Seasons Pkwy., Newark, 738-9935). Though the building has seen four or five renovations and several expansions, little has changed about Martuscelli’s passion for flavorful, homemade coastal Italian cuisine.
“It’s my passion. I love what I’m doing, and nobody beats the hours I put in,” he says. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
Customers are doubly satisfied. They go for Martuscelli’s large menu of homemade pasta, fresh seafood and veal dishes. His famous paccheri alla Giuseppe combines extra-wide rigatoni noodles, monkfish, shrimp, cannelloni beans, Collina tomatoes and marinara sauce.
La Casa Pasta opened in 1978. Many of his regulars from the ’70s still visit. Even sports celebrities like Cal Ripken Jr., Dallas Green, Tubby Raymond and the late Reggie White have graced La Casa. “Big portions for big guys,” Martuscelli says. —Matt Amis