At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
Pulling from his years of formal training in culinary arts, chef Gabe Catalano captains a crew of highly trained chefs in Terrazza's kitchen. The team labors over pots of bubbling pastas and pans of sizzling meats and seafood before adorning them all with handcrafted sauces. Meanwhile, behind the bar, drink masters dole out glasses of fine Italian and California wines alongside specialty cocktails.
In the dining room, white tabletops speckle the floors beneath a sweeping mural of an Italian countryside. In the front of the restaurant, a red awning stretches out over a sunny front patio. Like an eye using a magnifying glass as a monocle, the restaurant's elegant bar transitions into a hotspot as the night wears on.
Fascino's skilled chefs utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a menu of authentic Italian dishes that led New Jersey Monthly to name it one of the 25 Best Restaurants in 2010. Diners start satiety by swimming cornmeal-crusted calamari through pools of tomato-fennel compote ($12) before picking a flavorful fistfight of tender, braised short ribs luxuriating in a port-celery-seed glaze ($32). House-made pumpkin mezzaluna, bathing in oregano brown butter and crushed candied walnuts ($14–$24), demonstrates a brilliant use of fresh-made pasta and extruders, aside from Play-Doh hair plugs. Sweet teeth polish hunger to a sweet sheen by indulging in the New York State mcintosh apple crostata paired with cinnamon gelato ($9). Resourceful imbibers can indulge the BYO wine policy, and the waived corkage fee allows for a free show from the corkscrew-fanged vampire kept on retainer.
Fortissimo's kitchens produce steaming family-style platters of rich, classic Italian dishes, including pizzas, pastas and subs. Summon the satiety rains by seeding stomachs with house-made crab cakes accented by roasted peppered puree ($11.95), or channel Poseidon sans the seaweed-festooned beard with Fortissimo's salad homage, brimming with mixed baby greens, fried calamari, and balsamic vinaigrette ($8.95–$10.95). For the main event, pick a flavorful fistfight over platters of meatier munchums such as the family classic chicken parmigiana ($14.95). Alternately, savory pie lovers delight as specialty pizzas twirl about in suits of tasty toppings, such as the glitzy Las Vegas ($9.95–$18.95), topped with potato wedges, bacon, gorgonzola-cream sauce, sequins, and a live tiger show.
For more than half a century, Starlite Restaurant & Pizza has filled bellies with specialty pizzas, fresh seafood, and hearty Italian classics. Slices of pizza in the classic thin-crust style grow even more appetizing with the addition of gourmet touches and combinations, such as shrimp and arugula, tomatoes and basil, savory pesto, and vodka sauce. The menu's impressive seafood section features dishes as varied as shrimp scampi with roasted garlic, mussels marinara over linguine, and broiled salmon.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.