Il Tesoro is located at the corner of Tarpon Bay and Sanibel Ca"/>
Il Tesoro is located at the corner of Tarpon Bay and Sanibel Ca"/> Il Tesoro Ristorante to open on Sanibel | News, Sports, Jobs - SANIBEL-CAPTIVA - Island Reporter, Islander and Current
homepage logo

Il Tesoro Ristorante to open on Sanibel

By Staff | Jan 30, 2009

The islands pristine beaches and bountiful wildlife are often referred to as a treasure.

In a few weeks there will be a new treasure to add to the chest.

The Il Tesoro Ristorante will be opening its doors next month, just in time for Valentines Day reservations.

The new restaurant, which names means “the treasure” in Italian, is poised to serve authentic Italian cuisine with a modern seasonal touch. The elegantly styled cuisine will be prepared by owner and Executive Chef A.J. Black.

Il Tesoro is located at the corner of Tarpon Bay and Sanibel Captiva roads, behind the Tower Gallery. It will be housed in the former Sweet Melissa’s restaurant. Sweet Melissa’s is moving to the former LaVigna restaurant on Periwinkle Way.

Black said he will be preparing meals using regional fresh ingredients

such as fish from the islands. Seafood, like snapper, will figure into the menu.

Black said he plans to infuse old world tastes and flavors with a modern touch. An array of Italian wines from boutiques and fresh herbs, from an in-house herb garden, will help shape the meals on the extensive menu.

“We’re going to be very much on the organic side,” he said.

Fresh homemade pastas and risottos are on the menu as well as antipastos

made with fresh vegetables, meats, seafoods and cheeses – some of which are made by Black.

Mouth luring dishes such as Duck Fantasia, which pairs oven baked duck breast over shaved ptarmigan cheese and pears, is on the menu.

“Every dish will be addictive,” Black said.

He said he plans to introduce a menu and venue that will cater to Sanibel residents.

Black and his wife plan to keep the dining experience fun and intimate in the cozy-sized restaurant.

Fine Italian food and service is Chef Black’s hallmark.

The suave chef and his charming wife Joelene have owned and operated restaurants for more than 20 years, including Villa Pazzo in New York. He has been recognized by national press and culinary publications, including an appearance on the Travel Channel’s “Celebrity Chef.”

And though he and his wife have hosted some well-known regulars – Madonna and Hollywood actress Julianne Moore are regulars at Villa Pazzo – fine food and service is equal for all.

Il Tesoro opens on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Anyone who wants to attend can call the restaurant at 243-0557. The restaurant will open for the public on Saturday, Feb. 14. Hours of service will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday during season.

Il Tesoro’s neighbor, Tower Gallery, is welcoming them into the community with a party called “What’s cooking at Tower” on Saturday, Feb. 7. The event will feature Il Tesoro’s cuisine in the form of hors d’oeuvres and will

be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Tower Gallery, 751 Tarpon Bay Road. The party is free and open to the public.

In addition to a presentation of great food by chef A.J. Black, the evening will feature a presentation of watercolor techniques by Tower artist Rod Busch.

He will show his work and describe methods for successful paintings.

Selected pieces of art will be available in a silent auction, said Tower Gallery vice-president Susan Sadler.