Nestled in the heart of Utica, Ancora! offers a great, hearty Italian meal, conveniently located next to the Stanley Theater. The simplistic-sophisticated character and warm tones create a lovely atmosphere for any occasion.
The restaurant is spacious and able to host a large group of people. A dark wood interior is broken up with black boards that announce the daily food and wine selections.
Ancora! has an excellent selection of tapas and shared plates, which make it the perfect place to host a large group or enjoy family weekend dinner. An added bonus, being a diner with a gluten allergy, they were exceptionally accommodating.
As for the food, it is spectacular. Here are some of the noteworthy dishes from our visit:
Roasted Beet Salad (with arugula, goat cheese, red onion, balsamic syrup, and extra virgin olive oil)
A perfect appetizer for sharing. Earthy beets mixed with the bite of red onion and the syrupy-sweet balsamic to elevate this classic combo that Ancora! nails.
Stewed “PEI” Mussels (with chorizo, shallots, tomato, and garlic)
A very innovative, creative, and tasty combination of ingredients. Everyone knows that shellfish and pork products are made to go together, and this dish is no exception. Overall though, this is not your typical mussels dish, but by far one of the best interpretations I’ve had.
Chicken Francaise with a medley of mixed vegetables, and topped with a red wine reduction sauce
Very tender meat and pan-fried to perfection: truly the perfect meat to crisp-skin ratio. The vegetable medley had a great garlicky-butter thing going on, and the sauce was reduced down to an almost glaze-like consistency. The flavors were so good I didn’t even miss a starch.
The highlight: Raspberry Cheesecake Crepe (topped with whipped cream, ice cream, and graham cracker crumbles)
Needless to say, this was an absolute winner. The slightly sweet, tender crepe was the perfect base for the very sweet raspberry sauce and crunchy graham cracker crumbles. This is a lighter, more refined version of the classic cheesecake, and it doesn’t sit like a rock in your stomach afterwards.
Overall, Ancora! is one of the better eating experiences in the greater Utica area. It’s not the cheapest dinner in the world, but the food is refined to a level not often seen in this area. If you have a hot date, or your parents are asking for a new place to take you for dinner, check out Ancora! and don’t forget to finish with some crepes.