Nuova Italia's chefs take influences and recipes from the northern and southern regions of Italy to fill plates with wood-fire pizzas and helpings of handmade pasta. After looking through the menu, dig into the insalata capricciosa, which intermixes greens, black olives, artichokes, and gorgonzola cheese ($7.95). The gnocchi della casa ($13.95) unites potato-dumpling soldiers in matching uniforms of house-made marinara before infiltrating tummies to beat back hunger insurgencies. Buffalo mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved parmesan perch on the pizza Nuova Italia ($15) as it emerges from Nuova's wood-burning oven. For dessert, plunge sweet teeth into a piece of chocolate flourless cake ($5.95) or lap up mouthfuls of gelato, in vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut or limone flavorings ($4.95+). On some nights, live music floats through the air, scoring meals like a sousaphone scores a clown walking down the street.
At Cochiaro's Pizza, all pies start out as a disc of freshly-made dough. Once the dough is rolled out?customers can choose from regular, thin, or extra-thin crust pizza?, it's slathered in Cochiaro's signature sauce and crowned with whole milk cheese. Customers can then order specific toppings from an array of eight meats and 12 veggies. Of course, the cooks know that not everyone is in the mood for pizza all the time. So to satisfy this crowd, they prepare pastas, burgers, and BBQ rib tips.
Real Time Sports strives to take the idea of a sports bar to the next level with more than 40 TVs broadcasting sports and a menu of atypical bar food. Unusual dishes include smoked shrimp quesadillas, Thai peanut chicken satay, salads topped with grilled Atlantic salmon, and French dip sandwiches made with slow roasted prime rib. In addition, they offer a variety of party packages to accommodate groups of 15 and more.
At RoccoVIno's, a dish can never be too Italian. That's why you can order a pizza—already an Italian staple—in Italiano style, crowned in spinach, tomato, and three types of cheese. Customers add their own personal touch to the pizzas, too, choosing from thin crust, classic pan, and stuffed-crust deep dish styles, or select a specialty pizza such as the Margherita, Veggie Delight, or il Paisano. The pasta dishes are similarly customizable, filled with noodles from farfalle to rigatoni and drizzled in a choice of 10 sauces. These include a spicy tomato sauce made from only tomatoes that look like winking faces. Other gourmet Italian dishes include seafood risotto mixed with scallops, calamari, and shrimp, filet mignon, topped with a chunk of gorgonzola cheese, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, and baked mostaccioli.
Old Chicago specializes in deep-dish pizzas and fresh pastas, with an extensive beer list to wash it all down. The sicilian pepperoni roll, a potent mix of pepperoni, pepper jack, mozzarella, green onion, and ranch dressing baked into a doughy fuselage ($7.99), leads an arsenal of appetizers equipped to soothe early hunger pangs. Eight offerings of pasta include the santorini, a motley crew of Mediterranean vegetables—black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic—lovingly embraced by romano-and-parmesan-garnished cavatappi noodles ($10.99). The Chicago Seven calzone packs a savory payload of sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, red onion, and melted cheese ($9.99). Old Chicago diners can follow in the footsteps of famous pizza artist Vincent van Stuffedcrust by creating their own pies ($20.79 for a large with three toppings)—choose from over 40 toppings, including grilled steak, ricotta, and jalapeños—or pick from a list of eight specialty pizzas, such as the protein-packed meat me ($21.99 for a large) or its arch-nemesis, the malibu veggie ($19.99 for a large). Those pining for a tasty meal cap can indulge in OC's famous big cookie ($4.99), a frisbee-sized chocolate-chip treat served in a hot pizza pan.