Debra Coltune - North Chicago Restaurant Examiner - Fiora's - Four Stars ****

Fiora's is unique and special, named after the Owners beautiful daughter, this European-influenced American restaurant is nestled in the middle of a beautiful antique town called, Geneva, IL.

The character and ambiance of Fiora's gives you a feeling as though you have stepped into an old world mansion that has swept you into a history of elegance.

Owners Ann and Mike Anastasio have decorated this dining extravaganza with different "themed" dining rooms, for a different experience depending on your mood or occasion. You may enjoy a drink in the Library Wine Bar, or dine in elegance while sitting in the Chandelier Room. You may want to sit in the Rustic Wine Cellar for something different and wonderful. There are two private rooms and a bright and beautiful Sun Room that looks out over the view of Geneva.

The cuisine matches the ambiance. Executive Chef Aaron Wendinger has the flair and experience to create dishes you'll want to savior. You may want to indulge in a special American Artisan Cheese. Now this is no "ordinary cheese platter", it is a selection of Farmstead Cheese. You may want to mix and match. Some suggestions are the St. Mary's "Grass Fed" Gouda (Wisconsin) or the Pointed Reyes Original Farmstead Blue (California) mixed with apricots and figs marinated in brandy, with toasted pecans, crostini and quince jelly. As a "pre-appetizer" this is a perfect dish.

For an appetizer, the Wild Mushroom Strudel, baked with havarti and lemon aioli, is among the favorites. While the Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Dip, served with flat bread, has the texture and presentation that wins awards. This dish will knock your sox off.

If you're in the mood for seafood, the fresh Maryland Crab Cake with remoulade sauce is a popular dish.

If you enjoy a refreshing salad, the Garden Salad is one of the best on the menu, with grilled stone fruit, mixed greens and candied walnuts, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Good dish for a nice sunny summer day.

For an entree' try the Walleye, it is fresh and light. For the heartier appetite, 'dig into' the Filet Medallions Au Poivre, served with fresh asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, and brandy peppercorn sauce.

A great finish to a perfect meal is the Wild Berry Cobbler, fresh mixed berries sweetened and topped with a buttermilk crust, served with vanilla gelato.

You may want to breathe in the fresh Geneva air by enjoying Fiora's patio that overlooks this old historic city.

Ann and Mike have done something different with their menu. They have hand picked a wine to pair with each dish with help from their Wine Expert, Nancy Borst . It is a nice compliment to the already well rounded menu.

When having lunch or dinner at Fiora's, you should ask for any of the fine servers who work for this restaurant. Some of my favorites are Mandy Stribling, Stephanie Willis, and Lee Leroy Anderson, just to name a few.

Please make a reservation when dining there, because it is a hot spot.

Couple Unfolds New Fiora's Restaurant

Almost everyone is scaling back in these tough times, which means a lot fewer dinners out and fine dining might be out of the question. But there is a new restaurant in Geneva that needs to be experienced - and everyone deserves a little treat.

Walk into the new Fiora's - set back in a yellow "house" on Third Street in Geneva - and you step into the elegant country side. The first floor is divided into several welcoming rooms that will each help you escape from everyday life.

Simple lunch and dinner menus offer American-European fare at moderate prices. Mike Anastasio, who owns Fiora's with his wife, Ann, said he wanted to create a restaurant that has great ambiance with a menu that is moderately priced.

"The menu has broad appeal," he said. He added they use quality ingredients and offer suggested wine pairings with many selections.

The menu, with pate, strudel, a list of artisan and farmstead cheeses printed on the front and lunch or dinner (soup, salads, entrees) on the back, was a collaborative effort, Anastasio said. The Anastasios worked together with chef Aaron Wendinger (formerly of La Dolce Vita and Isabella's) and general manager Christ Nogulich (of the Ritz and Four Seasons) on many details.

"I've tried to capture Geneva and its local roots and flavor," said Anastasio, who works as a patent lawyer on the second floor above the restaurant. Ann Anastasio also uses an upstairs office for her human resources firm.

The Anastasios, of Wayne, bought the building last year with the intention of creating something magical on the first floor. "It was a big project," said Anastasio of the building's overhaul that started last spring. Local architect Tim Nelson and construction firm Hogan Design and Construction carried out the project.

The couple named the restaurant after their 2-year-old daughter, Fiora.

The restaurant, at 317 S. Third St. in Geneva, offers dining in a variety of rooms, including the popular sunroom, and features about 60 wines in a library wine bar and wine cellar room. It is open Tuesday through Saturday. Call 630-262-1317 or visit www.fioras.com for more information.

Marissa Amoni - Columnist
Beacon News

Taste of the Town: Fiora's home for dinner


Fiora's has given new life to the retail building that was originally a home in the heart of Geneva's historic district. Ann and Mike Anastasio of Wayne opened the restaurant in November after extensive remodeling and restoration, creating a choice of dining environments, including a new downstairs wine cellar with stone fireplace.

Mike, a patent attorney from a family with restaurant background, says Fiora's unique atmosphere is designed to "feel like you are (in) somebody's home that you've always wanted to see."

Two years ago, when Ann heard proposed development might threaten the building, she decided they should step in. "It's a beautiful, historic building I've always admired; my father worked there 30 years ago," says Ann, who moved her human resources consulting firm onto the second floor.

It was up to Mike to determine what cuisine Fiora's would feature.

"We went with American, with European influence, to give a broader range of selections; we don't have an overly large menu, but what we have, we focus on executing well," he says, noting the objective is to offer upscale environment and dining at moderate prices.

Foods that pair well with wines are part of the emphasis. The executive chef is Aaron Wendinger, who had helped with the start-up of Geneva's Isabella's.

Guests have a choice of settings: from the sun room with floor-to-ceiling views of historic Third Street to the more formal chandelier room with its granite fireplace. To create the library wine bar, they added shelves filled with leather-bound books. Another room painted a rich red can be closed off by French doors for private dining. The intimate, more rustic cellar has a flat-screen TV along with antique tabletops, and flagstone-style flooring. The temperature is cooler in deference to the wines.

"It's great for private parties and the wine tastings that we'll have down the road," Mike says.

Some Fox Valley residents recently dined at the restaurant.

"We all had a good time," he says, noting the lively rooms make certain areas more conducive to quiet conversation. "The food is excellent; they serve robust drinks. The prices are reasonable for what you get, (and) the atmosphere is great. We definitely want to go back."

On weekends, the cellar accommodates overflow crowds. Upstairs, eye-catching crystal chandeliers and sconces add sparkle to the elegant dining areas.

Although the dining room is closed between lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy a twist on afternoon tea at the library wine bar, with a beverage and cheese flight or sandwich offerings.

Restaurant Review: Fiora's
by Joe Stanton

EGeneva Magazine had the pleasure of being invited to a private reception unveiling Geneva's newest dining destination last month. If the food, ambiance and service we experienced are any indication of the future, Fiora's will be around for a long time to come.

Sitting back from the road on Historic Third Street,Fiora's presence is understated in the recently renovated building. It's once you enter the restaurant that you can see and feel the vision the owners had for the newly remodeled space. After entering a spacious lobby, you'll have a choice of dining areas, each offering a different feel. In one you'll enjoy the warmth of a roaring fire in the brick fireplace while in another you'll enjoy the open view to scenic Third Street. While you're waiting for your table, you can spend time in the lounge area, which feels more like a classic library with its old books and rich wood than a bar.

Before dinner was served, an assortment of Artesian cheeses with figs, nuts, grapes and dried apricots were passed, along with chilled shrimp cocktail and baby new potatoes with crème fraîche and caviar. The servers also offered samples of bruschetta with smoked salmon,tomato basil or wild mushroom. After dinner we enjoyed a dessert buffet of mini French pastries, chocolate covered strawberries, mini cookies and seasonal fruit.

But the truly outstanding dishes of the night were the entrées of Tenderloin of Beef and Chicken Piccata. When we were served, I noticed that no knives were provided. At first I assumed it was an oversight, but I quickly learned they just weren't needed. Our entrées were as moist and tender as anything I've ever tasted.

Fiora's is a restaurant you need to experience instead of just reading about; and when you do I promise you, you won't be disappointed. I can't wait for my next visit.

317 S. THIRD STREET GENEVA, ILLINOIS 60134 | MAP | T 630.262.1317