SOUTHINGTON — The Christmas spirit has come again to Cava Restaurant.
For about a decade, the Italian restaurant at 1615 West St. has created a magical destination for diners looking to be transported into their favorite movies and shows. This year 150,000 lights were used.
“People are in awe when they come in … It’s just a truly magical place,” said Manager Tony Papahristou.
This year’s themes are “Snow White,” “Moulin Rogue,” “Game of Thrones” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
The process starts around September, with Papahristou designing the rooms and staff members taking decorating shifts until the work is complete just before Thanksgiving. The decorations remain up until the end of February.
The themes are based on customer suggestions and Papahristou’s own inspiration.
In the Moulin Rouge room — also dubbed the Red Room — there is a custom painted mirror, large heart wreaths, and giant sprays of mistletoe spinning from the ceiling. The room is drenched in the color red.
In the “Snow White” room, the seven dwarfs are painted on a mirror. The poisoned apple from the movie is on top of the Christmas tree, and “thousands of ornaments on the ceiling represent the gems that the dwarfs go and mine,” Papahristou said.
Friends Dawn Grosso and Kristine Bennett visited the restaurant for lunch recently. Grosso of Torrington had seen the holiday decorations a few years ago, but it was Bennett’s first time.
“It’s beautiful,” said Bennett, of Wethersfield. “It’s really impressive.”
The two dined in the bar room, which is decorated in a “Game of Thrones” theme. Grosso, a fan of the hit HBO series, loved the room, pointing out the swords in the Christmas tree and taking a photo of the Daenerys Targaryen portrait. The room also features House of Stark decorations, including a white tree with red leaves hanging above the bar.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” or ”Narnia” room has a white color scheme, with white trees and icicles hanging from the ceiling. Papahristou said the room has 10,000 lights in it alone. Dark white branches and blue lights create a cave-like effect in a corner booth.
Thirteen Christmas trees line the restaurant’s roof, plus lights all over the building.
Last year’s themes were “Harry Potter,” “Frozen” (the Disney movie), “Phantom of the Opera” and “Ursula” of “The Little Mermaid.”
Cava serves Italian fare with appetizers ranging from $10 to $20, pasta dishes from $24 to $34, several seafood entrees in the $30 range (including stuffed shrimp for $28) and meat dishes from $24 to $32. The menu also features a 16 ounce center-cut N.Y. strip steak or 8 ounce filet mignon for $40. The restaurant is also known for its dessert tray and extensive wine list.
Cava offers vegetarian and gluten-free options including gluten-free pasta.
For reservations or to book a private event call 860-628-2282. Cava is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 11:30 am to 10 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 9 p.m.