While working as executive chef for top restaurants around the globe, Rossano Giannini would often pine for the bustling piazzas and sunny cafés of his hometown, Lucca, Italy. He left his prestigious position at Torre Di Pisa in Manhattan to open up his own restaurant in Nyack, where streets of picturesque shops and a friendly communal atmosphere reminded Rossano fondly of Lucca. He set up shop in an intimate, sunlit storefront, firing up his stovetop and rolling up his sleeves to prepare the dishes that would one day be lauded by the James Beard Foundation.
Today, Lanterna Tuscan Bistro hums with energy as Rossano's wife, Maureen, leads guests to white-clothed tables and Rossano himself directs the bustling kitchen. He folds lobster and porcini mushrooms into handmade ravioli, mixes fresh herbs into aromatic sauces, and repeatedly highlights the power of meat dishes such as a whole rack of lamb encrusted with mustard and herbed bread crumbs. Rossano even offers Tuscan cooking classes, where he demonstrates how to prepare traditional recipes while providing students with useful culinary tips, such as the best method for chopping garlic and ways to shake off the sense of attachment you get when an eggplant kind of looks like it's smiling at you.
Di Stefano’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame a particularly cozy picture of diners savoring bites of warm bruschetta, twirling linguine, and sopping up lemon white-wine sauce with veal scaloppini. Guests tear into penne-vodka or chicken-marsala pizzas at the round wooden tables in the dining room, or head outside to the umbrella-covered patio to taunt chipmunks with their people food. The family-friendly restaurant offers catering, takeout, and free delivery, and it now serves liquor.