Mara Cucina Italiana, which opened at the Mall at Wellington Green in May 2013, is the latest addition to Lirim Jacobi's restaurant group. Chef Joshua Flores curates the eatery’s menu of gourmet Italian classics, tossing pastas with housemade sauces and layering pizzas with specialty toppings. There are lighter options, too, like grilled salmon served over mixed greens with fresh lemon. Diners can sip cappuccinos or drinks from a full bar while talking or gazing at flat-screen televisions.
The airiness of pale exposed brick and blond wood contrast with the heartiness of the traditional Italian fare at Vic & Angelo?s, helping explain why Zagat rated the Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens locations highly for both food and d?cor. In the kitchen, chefs douse pastas with rich toppings such as crab meat and white-wine sauce or slow-cooked beef ragu. The coal oven blasts pizzas with 900 degrees of heat, and all-natural steaks arrive from Chicago after being dry-aged for 21 days. To accompany meals, diners can choose from a long list of mostly Italian wines, or venture onto an outdoor patio to fill glasses with complimentary moonbeams.
Brick walls, wooden shutters, and a color scheme as warm and red as the homemade tomato sauce—Buongiorno Pizza & Pasta’s decor really sets the stage for a homey Italian meal. The home-style approach extends well into the kitchen, where chefs craft gourmet pizzas from scratch in both New York and Sicilian styles. They toss and top them to order, strewing them with a medley of guests’ favorite toppings or whipping up one of their inventive signature pies, such as a pizza topped with a penne à la vodka sauce. Wines culled from Italy and California pair well with Mediterranean-inspired entrees such as chicken parmigiana heroes and veal marsala, while also facilitating conversation between a couple on their first date or a poet and his muse.
Pies baked in homemade sauce bake to a crisp, golden finish over hot embers inside ovens at Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza. 15 homemade Italian dinners, authentic pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches, and salads top tables inside both locations, which each sport exposed-brick walls and a bevy of flat-screen televisions.
The ambrosial aroma of Italian spices fills the air inside Pizza Time Caffé, which dishes up an extensive menu of pizza and traditional Italian favorites. The thin-and-crispy Grandma pizza with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce ($21.99) and the pizza caprese with fresh plum tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil ($15.99) are Italian-style pies that transport diners to the old country. Meanwhile, a 16-inch New York–style hand-tossed crust topped with mozzarella ($14.99), and additional toppings such as pepperoni or ricotta ($1.50 each), brings tears of joy to Empire State eyes faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play before saving twin babies from a burning building. Adventurous appetites can try a specialty pie such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and three cheeses ($26.95) to rebel against the traditional rules of pizza creation. For those seeking a less disk-based cheese-and-sauce infusion, Pizza Time Caffé offers an astounding variety of Italian classics such as lasagna ($12.99) and eggplant rollatini twisted up with ricotta cheese and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce and pasta ($14.99). A wide selection of subs suits hands-on diners in a hurry while cappuccinos ($4 each) and espressos ($2.50 each) keep their engines running.
Picasso’s Pizzeria spins out a menu of classic pasta dishes, hearty subs, and pizza pies crafted with fresh-made dough, homemade sauce, and 100% mozzarella cheese. Baked to crispy sublimity and desired by lonely bicycle wheels, Picasso’s round, gourmet pizzas range from the Carolina pizza with pepperoni, genoa salami, and tomatoes ($12.95–$17.95) to the margherita pizza with fresh basil and mozzarella ($10.95–$16.95). Bask in the simple goodness of a cheese pizza ($9.75–$13.75), or upgrade that simplicity with a choice of delectable toppings ($1.35–$1.85 each depending on pizza size). Diners hankering for a savory dose of carbohydration can dive into a traditional plate of spaghetti and meatballs ($10.95) to hit the spot, or they can relish in the ocean flavors of the shrimp parmigiana ($14.95), served with ziti or spaghetti. Dine-in for a delicious outing with family and friends or order takeout and bury the meal in the backyard to teach a newborn child the survival skills of sniffing out and digging for one’s food.