Pananas Restaurant continually surprises diners with a selection of upscale entrees that change with the season. The spring menu promises fresh options such as the grilled salmon, which is sautéed in creamy pesto before it comes to rest atop bitter greens and risotto-stuffed tomato ($21). Ensconced in an au poivre crust, the 16-ounce bone-in Delmonico steak frolics through sprinklers loaded with balsamic grilled onion and gorgonzola cheese sauce ($28). Pasta options abound, including farfalle aglio e olio, which adds zing to bow-tie pasta with breaded chicken and broccoli rabe sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper ($15). The stuffed artichoke Francese brims with sundried tomatoes, boursin cheese, and lemon butter sauce ($8). Since main courses rotate seasonally, chefs can take advantage of the migratory patterns of vegetables to guarantee access to the freshest ingredients.
The cuisine architects at Tommaso's Ristorante whip up a towering menu of Northern Italian noshes made from scratch and crafted from quality ingredients. Heat lovingly cradles the slow-cooked prime rib au jus for 18 hours before depositing it beside a homemade soup ($18.95, only served Friday and Saturday) or the front doors of an Ivy League culinary school. Tooth trek through the eggplant rolatini's cheesy terrain ($13.95) or the chicken francaise's egg-battered fields, streaked with streams of white wine, lemon, and butter ($15.95). Garlic and scallions fight for top billing in the culinary stage production of Tomasso's salmon, costarring a veggie dance troupe that trained in accentuating flavors and doing the robot ($16.95).
Six Corners Sandwich Shop doles out grinders, wings, and other carryout fare until 2 a.m. every day of the week. Late-night sandwich runs and on-the-go lunches find substance in more than 40 types of hot and cold submarine sandwiches. Sandwiches come with the option of lettuce, tomato, mayo, and cheese and range in style from robust barbecue chicken to eggplant parmigiana. The eatery's wings dress in barbecue, mild, hot, or suicide sauce, seeking relief in blue-cheese dip or in a pair of delicately cupped hands. Though not included in this Groupon, 26 flavors of soft-serve ice cream can start burning tongues on a path of cool convalescence.
George Carabase opened Buona Vita when he was only 23. But by spending his boyhood at his father's pizzeria, George learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business at a very early age. A graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, he draws upon his familial and formal educations at Buona Vita, which he's owned since 1998. Utilizing local produce, his traditional take on Italian cuisine encompasses generous portions of dishes such as veal sorrentino, as well as more than 20 available pizza toppings, including eggplant and clams.
Tangerine-colored walls and colorful prints from the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, embody the spirit of the visual- and performing-arts celebrations for which Spoleto East Longmeadow—a member of the Spoleto Restaurant Group—is named. Yet, the inspiration doesn’t stop in South Carolina. Across the Atlantic, in Spoleto, Italy, the annual Festival of the Two Worlds showcases the Umbria region's dance, drama, cinema, and opera. The two yearly festivals in Charleston serve as the stateside mirror images of the Italian original. Spoleto restaurant owner Claudio Guerra has fond memories of taking part in these festivities with his mother as a child, and so christened his restaurants after them in homage.
Like the Northampton location before it, the East Longmeadow site offers a lively atmosphere and traditional Italian dishes such as stone-baked pizzas topped with cremini mushrooms and veal saltimbocca with fresh sage and marsala sauce. Diners can personalize their experiences by opting for the restaurant's multicourse meal option, or by carving their likenesses into meatballs before eating them.
At Boston Bay Pizza, diners can devour loaded pizzas, grinders, and sandwiches while cozied up on leather chairs in front of a fireplace framed in modern tiling or while relaxing out on the neatly landscaped patio. But it's not all about looks: the shop's cheerful shade of red conceals “green” elements built in to conserve energy and water.
If diners don't want to create their own pizza from toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes and Genoa salami, they can pick from specialties such as a four-cheese pesto pie and a N.Y. deli pizza adorned with Italian-style deli meats. For further flexibility, the chefs can also make all of their paninis as wraps, all of their wraps as paninis, and all of their calzones as origami cranes. The surfeit of Italian eats is augmented by orders of buffalo wings, quesadillas, and salads.