Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Miguel Angelo D’Onofrio and Massimo Tabacco at the recently rebranded Bar Lupa in Westport.
Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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The Bar Lupa logo.
Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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The dining room at Bar Lupa in Westport, Conn., Nov. 28, 2017.
Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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The dining room at Bar Lupa in Westport, Conn., Nov. 28, 2017.
Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Photos line the walls at Bar Lupa in Westport, Conn., Nov. 28, 2017.
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Hungry? Click through the gallery for an overview of Italian restaurants in southwestern Connecticut and on the shoreline.
Photo: Bob Luckey
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Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse – Greenwich 

Photo: Bob Luckey
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Terra Ristorante Italiano – Greenwich 

Photo: Contributed: Cafe Silvium
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Cafe Silvium – Stamford 

Photo: Contributed Photo
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Amore Cucina & Bar – Stamford 

Photo: Matthew Brown, Hearst Connecticut Media
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Columbus Park Trattoria – Stamford 

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Mike's Ristorante – Norwalk 


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Pasquale's Osteria – Norwalk 


Photo: Alex Von Kleydorff / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Primavera Italian Cuisine – Norwalk 

Photo: Keelin Daly
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Cesco's Trattoria – Darien

Photo: Contributed Photo
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Meatball & Co. – Darien

Photo: Ctbites
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Spiga Ristorante – New Canaan 

Photo: Carol Kaliff
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La Zingara - Bethel

Photo: Christian Abraham
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Testo's Ristorante and Banquets – Bridgeport

Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Ralph 'n Rich's – Bridgeport

Photo: Christian Abraham
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Mario the Baker – Bridgeport

Photo: Jason Rearick
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Portobello Restaurant & Pizza – Brookfield


Photo: Jay Weir
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Castello Restaurant – Danbury 

Photo: Chris Ware
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Della Francesca – Danbury

Photo: H John Voorhees III, Hearst Connecticut Media
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Dolce Restaurant & Wine Bar – Danbury

Photo: Patti Woods
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Avellino's – Fairfield 

Photo: Ctbites
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Paci Restaurant - Southport 

Photo: Michael C. Juliano/Staff Photo
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Quattro Pazzi Cafe – Fairfield, Stamford

Photo: Michael Duffy
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Roberto's – Monroe

Photo: H John Voorhees III, Hearst Connecticut Media
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Portofino Restaurant – New Fairfield

Photo: Tyler Sizemore
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Biscotti's Ristorante – New Fairfield

Photo: Michael Duffy
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Sal e Pepe Restaurant – Newtown

Photo: Ctbites
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Dere Street – Newtown

Photo: Scott Mullin
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Aranci 67 – Wilton

Photo: Michael Duffy
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TerraSole – Ridgefield

Photo: Scott Mullin
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Bartolo – Ridgefield

Photo: Autumn Driscoll
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Il Palio – Shelton

Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Media Group File Photo
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Biagio's Osteria – Stratford 

Photo: Brian A. Pounds
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Vazzy's – Shelton 

Photo: Patti Woods
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Via Sforza – Westport 

Photo: Paul Schott
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Finalmente Trattoria – Westport 

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Tarantino Restaurant – Westport 

Photo: Keelin Daly
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Bianco Rosso Wine Bar and Restaurant – Wilton 

Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Gusto Trattoria Italian Restaurant – Milford

Photo: Lee Steele
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Bin 100 – Milford 

Photo: Peter Hvizdak, ©2014 Peter Hvizdak
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Basta Trattoria – New Haven

Photo: Stephen Fries / For Hearst Connecticut Media /
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Goodfellas Restaurant – New Haven

Image 48 of 51 | Peter Casolino/New Haven Register
Brazi's Restaurant – New Haven

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L'Orcio – New Haven 

Photo: Mara Lavitt
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Adriana's – New Haven 

Photo: Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Bar Lupa – Westport 

WESTPORT — In Italian, stuzzichino means a snack, or appetizer, or nibble. Assaggio, similarly, means a small amount of food or drink.

From Italian to Spanish, both translate roughly to tapas, an Iberian food culture that pairs small servings of food with drink in a laid-back setting.

It’s the kind of cuisine and vibe that Massimo Tabbacco and Miguel Angelo D’Onofrio, co-owners of the recently opened Bar Lupa, want to achieve at their redesigned space on the Post Road in Westport.

“It’s little portions, so you can taste a variety of things,” Tabbacco said. “It’s basically the same thing as Spanish tapas. But here in America, they know the word tapas more than stuzzichino.”

To avoid confusion, the items are listed on the menu as “Italian tapas,” but the dishes are inspired by Tabbacco’s and D’Onofrio’s respective upbringings — in Rome and Sao Paolo, Brazil, which has a large Italian population — and shared experience working in Italian restaurants throughout Fairfield County, as well as New York City.

Lasagna, grilled eggplant, crostini, fried calamari and a six-inch Roman-style thin-crust pizza are among the offerings, all cooked by D’Onofrio, who is the head chef. They’ve expanded their menu of pastas and pizzas, as well as their wine list, which has selections from Italy, France, Argentina, Chile and California.

“The wine list is very nice,” Tabbacco said.

The duo met 25 years ago, while both working at Columbus Park Trattoria in Stamford.

“He was always a chef, and I was always a front guy,” Tabbacco said of the partnership.

Prior to the redesign, D’Onofrio independently owned Rustico Trattorria in the same location. Tabbacco came on board in recent months to help bring about the change from a more formal sit-down Italian restaurant to a more-relaxed tapas joint they hope will draw a larger bar crowd.

“We wanted to change the conception a little bit. It’s still Italian, but it’s more bar-friendly,” D’Onofrio said.

The restaurant never closed during the rebranding. Week by week, D’Onofrio and Tabbacco made small changes: repainting; switching out larger, rectangular tables with smaller square ones; adding a wall-length countertop in the bar for less-formal dining; redesigning the logo, which now features the suckling Romulus and Remus of myth; and hanging a wall of photos in the dining room depicting the Tiber River, Vespa scooters, the Italian actress Sophia Loren, and other images of Italy.

Bar Lupa’s soft opening was mid-November, and Tabbacco and D’Onofrio have plans to add a Sunday brunch, weekday happy hour and live music, which will begin Friday.

Tabbacco and D’Onofrio hope that music and happy hours, especially, bring a new energy to the restaurant.

“We love the vibe of Westport; we love the crowd; we love the style. Westport is a little jewel.” Tabbacco said.

For information, visit; @justinjpapp1

Hungry? Click through the gallery above for more Italian places in southwestern Connecticut.