The setting is lush at Anthony's in the Catalinas — three dining rooms tastefully appointed, with spectacular views of the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north and the city of Tucson spread out in the valley to the south.
Equally lush are the food and a comprehensive wine list, which have attracted locals, celebrities and visitors to the Foothills restaurant for the past 20 years.
Besides the three main dining rooms, Anthony's also has two private dining areas, one located in the underground wine cellar that houses the restaurant's 25,000 bottles of wine.
"The dining room in the wine cellar holds 16 people and it's where a lot of the celebrities and movie stars prefer to eat," said owner Anthony Martino. "We've had Nicholas Cage, Barbara Streisand, Don Johnson, Kevin Costner, Steve McQueen and Oprah Winfrey eat here."
Martino pointed out that besides its spectacular views, Anthony's also is known for its selection of wines.
"In 1993 we received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine, which is only awarded to 46 restaurants in the U.S. and 26 overseas," Martino said. "We've had that award every year since 1993 and just received it again this year."
Martino noted that the restaurant's wine cellar holds 1,800 selections from 25 countries. He makes regular wine-buying trips to Italy, France and Spain to ferret out old vintages that might be available. Anthony's sommelier is Joseph Mascari.
"People come here from around the world just to have the wines on our list," Martino said.
While the wine selection attracts wide attention at Anthony's, the food also has earned accolades from visitors and regulars alike.
"Our menu is very continental, so we try not to do much of the trendy things that come and go," Martino said. "And while we regularly offer new selections on our menu, there are some dishes that hark back to the 1980s, like beef Wellington and veal Marsala. Some people like those dishes because they associate the food with a specific time in their lives, and a lot of the younger people want to try the classic dishes."
The chef at Anthony's is Louis (Luigi) Lemorroco, assisted by sous chef Edward J. (EJ) Marx.
Other dinner selections at Anthony's include chateaubriand, mesquite grilled lamb chops, roast duckling au poivre, sausage bucatini, filet mignon and shrimp santorini.
Martino has a long history in restaurants, going back to his entry into the business as a busboy at the Tack Room in 1965. He worked his way through jobs there to waiter, bartender and captain, before leaving to establish his own catering service in the 1970s.
In 1979 he started Charles restaurant with Charles Kerr at the site of the former Eldorado restaurant at Speedway and Wilmot, and ran the place for nearly eight years before going to work at the Westward Look Resort. A couple years later he bought Las Campanas de la Catalinas (the bells in the hills) and turned it into Anthony's in the Catalinas, expanding it from seating 70 to seating 250.
Martino said his restaurant's summer special dinners — a four-course meal for two for $79.95 — have proven to be very popular this year, and will continue through the end of October.
The 62-year-old Martino laughed when asked if he had considered retirement.
"I don't know if I ever would because this business has been in my blood for so long," he said. "Also I would miss dealing with people, which is the most exciting part of what I do."
Anthony's in the Catalinas
6440 N. Campbell Avenue
Dinner nightly from 5:30 to 9 pm.
For more information or reservations call (520) 299-1771 or go to http://www.anthonyscatalinas.com">www.anthonyscatalinas.com.