Alfoccino's culinarians merge Old World flavors with a homemade spread of tasty breads and savory sauces to forge an inimitable Italian dining experience within a bright and lavish milieu. Served square or round, the dinner menu’s troika of fresh pizzas includes the Boss’s Special, which imbues taste buds with beef tenderloin and crisp veggies ($16.95 for a small; $25.95 for a large). Unfurl bibs for saucy rendezvous with hearty half slabs of ribs ($15.25), or unbridle galloping appetites in a hunt for the Italian Stallion’s meaty mélange of imported salami, ham, provolone, and signature Italian dressing ($9.50). Escorted by slurp-ready sides of spaghetti and bottomless bowls of salad, the eggplant parmigiana bedecks its lightly breaded frame in decadent strata of house-made tomato sauce and fresh cheeses ($15.95). Midday diners can peruse a similar lunch menu that brims with salads, pastas, and sandwiches while taking a much-needed break from business meetings or executive-level staring contests.
Tracing its lineage back to 1939, Lelli’s remains in the hands of its original founders, the Lelli family, and continues its culinary tradition of rich, Northern Italian steak-house fare. Skilled chefs and servers prepare and present à la carte dishes such as juicy filet mignon, fresh seafood, and house-made egg pastas draped with rich tomato and cream-based sauces, or bookend European-style six-course meals with antipasto and palate-cleansing spumoni. The dimly lit dining room plays host to private events, corporate dinners, and family meals, and frames feasts with light that glints from candles and crystal chandeliers, reflecting off of cherry-wood furnishings and roosting in the folds of alabaster tablecloths.
Zaa! Simply Unique Pizza's oven technicians build their menu of eclectic pizzas on a foundation of thin, fresh crusts. After artisan pies are smothered with cheese sliced daily and a bounty of toppings, staff swiftly deliver steaming pizzas—such as the spinach-and garlic-coated Popeye Zaa ($9 for medium, $14 for large)—to tables. The Woodward Ave Zaa ($9 for medium, $14 for large) piles charred pepperoni, meatballs, and jalapeños upon its base like a general mounting tiny weapons on his cap. Each customizable Neapolitan creation can be strewn with salami or ornamented with artichoke hearts ($1 on medium, $2 on large). An array of Zaandwiches ($7.25) fit delectable barbecue chicken or veggies inside eminently portable bread casings.
At Fortesa, diners entwine forks with specialty pastas and Italian staples on an outdoor patio that overlooks downtown Rochester and Paint Creek or inside a dining room lit with elevated candelabras. After perusing the menu, friends and families can acclimate taste buds to the flavors of Italy with a house side salad and the shrimp fortesa with garlic-and-lemon sauce. Diners then sink their fangs into the potato-parmesan gnocchi with truffle oil or don flippers to justify the freshness of the lobster-, shrimp-, and crabmeat-laden seafood fettuccine. Carve up a filet mignon in a truffle demu-glace or slice through the deep-maroon center of perfectly cooked lamb chops ai ferri in a port wine reduction.
Valentino’s satisfies pasta pangs with an extensive menu of authentic, homemade Northern Italian dishes. Guests can slide into the dining experience with the spedieni, a layered concoction of bread, mozzarella, and egg paired with lemon, olives and a butter sauce ($6.95) or dive right in with Salmon Antonio’s ensemble of grilled artichoke hearts, garlic, and capers in a succulent lemon white-wine sauce ($18.95). Homemade meat-and-cheese lasagna ($14.95) invites traditional gorging, whereas the linguine alla vongole, an aquatic pasta dish of fresh littleneck clams in a white or red clam sauce ($15.95), sates seafarers. Elegant white tablecloths and chandeliers set the stage for noodle tug-of-wars to decide who gets the last meatball, and sweets such as a cannoli or tartoufo—a dollop of vanilla ice cream surrounded by frozen chocolate mousse—cap off meals.