It wouldn't quite mesh with the ambience to say that Villa Rosa Italian Restaurant & Grill screams romance—say rather that it whispers it. The pink stucco building appears to have been airlifted from an Italian villa, complete with water fountains and a brick-and-iron arbor. Italian paintings line the walls near the full bar, where bartenders pour wines from Italy, Australia, and North America.
Even the restaurant's name comes with a bit of romance, since it was chosen to honor owner Frank Rappa's wife, Rosa. The two emigrated from Italy in the 1970s, and they quickly opened an Italian restaurant named Sal's. But something was missing. The traditional pastas were a hit, but Frank dreamed of a more formal venue, a place where their dishes could serve as the centerpiece of special occasions. So he transported the menu to Villa Rosa Italian Restaurant & Grill, showcasing mussels marinara and classic entrees such as veal parmigiana and capellini with red clams. Dessert—perhaps homemade cannoli stuffed with cream—is, naturally, strongly recommended.
Native Sicilian chef Nico Scavone channels the spirit of Southern Italian hospitality and the memories of his mother's home cooking in his made-from-scratch pasta, mozzarella, bread-and-ricotta filled cannoli, and gelato. As the nuanced flavors in each of the restaurant's handcrafted pasta dishes unravel with each bite, it's easy to imagine aromas from the same meals of handmade tortellini, ravioli, and fresh-caught seafood calling the young chef and his brothers to the dinner table in their Italian seaside hometown. Diners share in the flashback with a selection from Nico's extensive wine list (not covered under this Groupon) and an order from one of the eatery's menus, each dish and antipasto elevated with modern twists and escorted to tables alongside wine in dozens of varieties.
Saying that chefs stick to Italian classics might imply a slim menu, but the culinary team at Giovanni's A Taste Of Italy prepares a wide range of dishes, from cheese-stuffed manicotti and homemade gnocchi to linguini tossed with mussels and clams. Beyond pasta, chefs flavor racks of lamb and 14-ounce T-bone steaks with cracked black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil before carefully searing them on the grill.
Old World varietals sourced from Italy and America comprise an equally extensive wine list with options to complement each hearty dish. After meals, digestives such as espresso, cappuccino, and specialty coffee spiked with Kahlua can settle stomachs and give diners the burst of energy they need to finish building a silverware ziggurat.
With its whitewashed brick façade, french windows, and curlicues of wrought iron encircling the entryway, Café Pasta + Grille looks as if it's been plucked straight from a cobblestoned European street. A striped awning shades the easel resting outside the front door, which announces menu highlights and other news printed in Cubist script. Inside, chefs re-create traditional Italian dishes, such as lasagna and risotto, as well as contemporary recipes crafted from spicy veal sausage or almond-crusted fish. Live music entertains diners two nights per week, as do special events such as mixology tastings and holiday parties. Café Pasta + Grille also caters meals throughout the area and hosts celebrations in a pair of private banquet rooms for free.
Whether you come to Bianca's on a date, with friends, with family, or alone, the friendly Italian eatery's menu will have you composing off-the-cuff odes to a good life, mouthwatering food, and adorable baby chicks. Known for simple food done right, Bianca's stockpile of traditional favorites includes tender veal marsala ($18), large shrimp scampi with freshly chopped garlic ($18), chicken parmigiana ($15), veggie lasagna ($14), and homemade manicotti ($14). The restaurant's kitchen magicians also stray from the most beaten, breaded, and baked classics, serving up house-spun specialties such as scallops choron with a tarragon cream sauce ($18) and braciole, which consists of slices of beef rolled with zucchini, ground sirloin, and mozzarella cheese and warmed in a bubbling jacuzzi of fresh tomato sauce ($16). To ensure that no one leaves with persisting hunger pangs or superfluous belt notches, all entrees are served with the daily appetizer special, a house salad, garlic bread, and dessert. House specialties and classic entrees come with a side of pasta and sauce of the day.
In the kitchen at Mario’s Pizza, chefs heap cheese, steak, and sun-dried tomatoes onto oversize New York–style and sicilian pizza crusts. A white pizza covered in ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella reminds taste buds of eating a delicious snowman, and comes in sizes ranging from 10 inches to as large as 19 inches. Baked pasta and sandwiches, such as a philly steak or veal parmigiana, round out the menu.