When owner Frank White took over this Downey eatery—then called Granata's Italian Restaurant—in 2011, the Granata family had already been serving Italian cuisine there for more than 54 years, according to the Downey Patriot. Today, White still plucks recipes from the family cookbook but has also added his own touch with a new menu of hot and cold Spanish-style tapas. Made with gourmet ingredients such as fresh clams, spanish piquillo peppers, and rich serrano ham, the new plates are small enough to be shared with friends or slingshotted spitefully at enemies. The chefs also use locally sourced ingredients for classic Italian meals whenever possible, festooning linguine carbonara with fresh sweet peas and veal parmigiana with rich tomato sauce.
In the renovated dining area, blue pendant lamps light the full bar and surrounding cherry-wood tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs share wall space with murals of the Venetian canals where Leonardo da Vinci first learned to jet ski.
After leaving home for Hollywood at age 14 and donning a butcher's apron, Uncle Henry opened his own deli in 1959, helmed today by his nephew and great-nephew, George and George Gaul III. Beer steins hang on the back wall above an old-fashioned marquee menu as staffers in red aprons pile sandwiches with pastrami, roast beef, sharp cheddar, sauerkraut, and other fillings in Whimpy, Super Size, and 13-ounce Baby Bomber portions. Uncle Henry's also caters special events with gargantuan party subs, and rents out sturdy kegs large enough to keep parties quenched or 8-bit plumbers from attacking pet Donkey Kongs.
Who said you can't have wings for breakfast? To be fair, those wings do come with eggs or waffles. At R&J Southern Home Cooking Restaurant, a prominent southern influence springs forth starting with the first meal of the day. It carries through the afternoon and culminates at dinnertime, when cooks presents diners with an eclectic spread of seafood and soul food. A quick peek at their cookbook reveals the source of this inspiration; rather than using the generic recipes found as prizes in cereal boxes, the restaurant relies on time-tested family favorites, including some recipes that originated in Louisiana and Arkansas. Those guidelines now fill the menu with authentic southern eats, including entrees such as smothered steak, catfish filets, and gumbo.
If you hear a rooster crow in the early hours at Cafe Opa, then it is severely undercooked. Mornings at Cafe Opa aren't signaled by the rising of the sun, but rather by the cooking of a fresh batch of rotisserie chickens. The restaurant spins and roasts the succulent birds before serving them in quarter, half, and whole portions, often with skordalia sauce for dipping or drawing a takeoff lane from the plate to your mouth. Classic Greek dishes abound on the eatery's menu as well, from lamb chop dinners to hearty helpings of moussaka?layers of eggplant and ground beef in bechamel sauce. On the lighter side of the spectrum are salads, wraps, and falafel pita sandwiches, as well as the always-popular gyros.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
Outside on the sun-soaked patio, or inside the casual earth-toned dining room, The Marketplace Grill Cafe's staff cooks items from a sprawling menu of American and Mediterranean-influenced dishes and serves them all day. Their sweet breakfast crepes fold around berries, bananas, Nutella, walnuts, and whipped cream, which is the kind of cream most likely to get along with a locker-room towel. The Marketplace's pastry chefs craft a host of their sweet specialties each day, using all natural ingredients to create sheets of flaky baklava, Greek-style walnut cake, and pastaflora—homemade cookie 'pies' made with fruit preserves.