Sakura embraces the gustatory traditions of Japanese and Chinese cuisine by forging an eclectic menu with vibrant sushi, sizzling hibachi items, and classic Chinese dishes. The hibachi chefs combine showmanship, culinary skill, and fire-safety lectures as they dexterously shuffle chicken, steak, or seafood across a grill erupting with flames, creating toothsome entrees directly in front of their hungry spectators. Meanwhile, kitchen staffers drape double-cooked pork with a spicy hoisin sauce, and sushi-smiths artfully slice fresh, fire-retardant fish for each order of sashimi and roll maki in a cylinder of rice and seaweed.
Within the dining room, crimson walls sport such personalized decorative accents as a stenciling of the restaurant's name and a finger-painting of its business license.
Native North Enders Vinnie Amato and Steve Costa opened Cafe Porto Bello to revisit the Italian cuisine of their childhoods and re-create the atmosphere of dinners with family. For more than a decade, the café's chefs have prioritized freshness by preparing every dish to order with spices blended in-house and by garnishing gourmet, hand-tossed pizzas with their own roasted red peppers. The dining room is warm and softly lit, with sturdy wooden tables and seating for up to 100. In the adjacent lounge, bartenders pour Italian and American varietals in syncopation or ragtime with live jazz sets.
At Scorpio's, adept culinary artists handcraft robust pizzas, saucy pastas, and savory entrees from zesty spices, an array of organic ingredients, and signature family recipes. Hand-tossed pizzas are made to order with a choice of toppings, such as roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, and house-made meatballs, whirling from piping hot ovens to fill plates with cheesy slices of Sicilian-style pie ($13.99+). Or, opt for one of the restaurant's specialty selections, such as an onion- and mozzarella-slathered barbecue chicken pizza ($13.99 for a large) or the self-named Scorpio, which combines pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, green peppers, onions ($14.99 for a large), and an affinity for long walks on the beach into one hard-to-resist dish.
The aroma of simmering beef and baking bread wafts out of Stack-a Burger kitchen all day, as chefs prepare fresh, never frozen, burgers, and pile them high with an array of toppings. Alongside Stack-a Burger, diners can also visit Spike's Junkyard Dogs, where 100% all-beef hot dogs are sandwiched into warm, soft french rolls. Beef links are decorated with banana peppers, barbecue sauce, baked beans, and other hearty toppings that test hand strength like a shadow-puppet performance of Hamlet. Customers can indulge in these towering burgers and sauce-slathered dogs, or opt for a more wholesome feast by ordering low-fat veggie dogs, curly fries dunked in cholesterol-free canola oil, and a collection of fresh salads, soups, and paninis.
Though its name evokes Italian cuisine, Cafe Romano supplements its Italian bites with American diner classics. Old-country entrees such as frittatas or a dish of eggs, red bliss potatoes, and meat share space on the breakfast menu with American-style hash browns and eggs. At lunch, diners can dig into housemade lasagna or pastrami sandwiches.
The McMahon clan doesn't just advocate family time; they live and breathe it every day at McMahon's Countryside Grille. Owned by Mom and Dad, the kids also chip in at the eatery, a fact applauded by Wicked Local. The menu's house-made comfort food, steak, and seafood dishes welcome clans coming together to break bread or draft the new family crest. The homemade meatloaf hails directly from the McMahon's own dinner table, and is a perfect precursor to the Bliss ice cream served at an outdoor window near picnic tables.
Indoors, weekly entertainment sets the restaurant abuzz, from live local musicians and comedians on the weekends to open-mic Thursdays, when amateur funnymen test their chops and skill for fending off flying tomatoes. Each Tuesday, contestants crowd into cozy maroon booths around wooden tables and answer quick-fire trivia questions.