Thanks to its diverse dishes and sundry dining settings, The Porch at Collier wears many hats. There's its traditional dining room, where romantic couples luxuriate in the dinner menu's delicate pastas and house-smoked chicken amid plum-colored drapes and flower-topped tables. There's the lounge, which surrounds friends with wicker lamps and leafy plants as they revel in televised sports and sip one of 12 draft beers, and the café, whose neon-lined walls peppered with framed photographs create a classy atmosphere in which to savor the late-night menu. Finally, there's the eatery's namesake—an expansive rooftop porch—lined with wooden tables—that lets diners enjoy gourmet lunchtime fare or attempt to topple Icarus' record for getting close to the sun. Each of the restaurant's contemporary American creations is crafted with local, sustainable ingredients and a minimal dependence on artificial preservatives, ensuring that dining experiences are both decadent and eco-friendly.
Climb atop a meated and vegetabled, perfectly crusted cheese plateau and tromp among its wonder-flavors with this Groupon: $10 for $25 worth of pizza at Varasano's Pizzeria. Varasano's is the hot, saucy, and much-hyped pizza paradise of Jeff Varasano, a former software engineer who spent years trying to perfect the perfect pie.
Chandeliers illuminate red, tufted booths and draped walls replete with golden Buddhas, Middle Eastern art, and woven-wood panels. Such touches earned Tantra an "Extraordinary-to-Perfection" decor rating from Zagat and OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice Award for romantic restaurant. The eatery also received high praise for its service and food. Drawing from his training at the Culinary Institute of America, chef Dwyer caramelizes scallops in a basil rub, grills ostrich filets, and stuffs pork tenderloins with quince and fennel, using these distinctive combinations to bring out unexpected flavors and baffle blindfolded taste testers. On the first Tuesday of every month, these dishes couple with tango dancing to add an extra layer of romance and spontaneity to dinner dates.
You’ll never hear a cell phone ring at La Grotta Ristorante Italiano—the menu politely requests that guests silence their phones while savoring meals. This ringtone ban is one of many ways the restaurant strives to capture old-guard glamour. Other elegant touches include complimentary valet parking, a formal dress code that welcomes diamond-encrusted overalls, and a patio that overlooks a lush garden.
The sense of grandeur extends to La Grotta Ristorante Italiano’s menu of northern Italian cuisine, which has earned repeated DiRōNA and AAA Four Diamond accolades. Chef Antonio Abizanda stuffs roasted quail and succulent chicken with italian cured meats and cheeses, and tosses pastas with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs that are often organic and culled from local growers. To enhance dishes, co-owner Sergio Favalli, a native Italian who used to make vino with his father as a young boy, curates a list of more than 350 wines including Brunello di Montalcino, amarone, chianti, and other Italian varietals.