For more than 55 years, the Verdicchio family has satisfied appetites for Italian fare with a menu of expertly crafted pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and house-made sauces. Pies are selectively bred into a mouthwatering menagerie of red- and white-sauce specimens, such as the bacon-topped bianca romano ($10.50–$16.95) and the pleasantly pastoral garlic-and-basil pizza rustica ($9.75–$14.95). Sandwiches, pastas, and entrees—such as a tantalizing pollo valdostana ($15.95) served in a white-wine-and-cream sauce—grace plates with flavorful aplomb, and a full quiver of wine, beers, and coffee beverages eagerly awaits matchmaking with sought-after meals.
After honing their pizza-making craft at the helm of Paisano’s in Watchung, Greg Oliva and Jimmy Nelson opened the doors to Amici Pizzeria in Raritan, where they produce hand-tossed, crispy thin-crust pies crowned with savory tomato and white sauces. Familiar toppings of pepperoni, chicken, parmesan, and meatballs provision company pizza parties and little-league-baseball celebrations, while more exotic garnishes of broccoli raab, anchovies, and artichokes cater to refined palates and little-league-cricket celebrations. Hot subs filled with melted cheese and steak make for satisfying lunches, and feasts of baked ziti, mussels fra diavolo, and chicken marsala ensure homestyle warmth even on nights when you can’t cook.
As a native Sicilian with more than 40 years of experience cooking Italian-American cuisine, the owner of Giovanni's Pizza & Pasta knows how to make an authentic pie. The cozy eatery has been pulling hot Sicilian- and New York–style pizzas out of its ovens since 1995 and begins delivering them at noon every day. The fresh toppings and innovative gourmet pizza styles—such as eggplant parmesan or chicken with pink vodka sauce—prompted New Jersey 101.5 listeners to vote it one of their Top 10 Pizzerias in the radio station's Slice of Jersey competition. Even the ambiance harks back to the Old World, with bright yellow walls, draped foliage, and colorful landscape paintings, including a full-length mural depicting the verdant, rolling hills of the Italian countryside.
The cozy establishment is filled with the aromas of housemade pasta al forno and garlic knots baking in the oven and the sweet scents of handcrafted cannolis. Giovanni’s chefs can also fill homes or offices with the savory fragrances of catered cuisine, including 6-foot subs that are ideal for measuring kids' yearly height growth.
Bella Pizza’s gourmet pizzas—made with a secret sauce and housemade dough—helped the Italian eatery earn a Hillsborough Patch Readers’ Choice award this year. Along with signature pizzas, such as the cheesesteak and buffalo calamari, the chefs also create made-from-scratch calzones, sandwiches, subs, and submarines—actual submarines. They also whip up oven-baked pastas and dinners such as chicken parmigiana. Bella Pizza’s owner, Akhtar Farzaie, has demonstrated his commitment to the community by supporting a local 7-year-old boy who organized an impressive coat drive.
Cuisine Type: Italian
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Pizza
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Inside an expansive dining room, servers float between elegant table settings carrying Italian dishes that have earned various accolades since Panico’s inception in 1987. Below the diffused light of wall sconces, conversations buzz along the expansive leather banquette as vodka-sauce penne, pan-seared lamb, and seafood-stuffed ravioli make their way from the kitchen. Diligent servers painstakingly debone the grilled whole fish of the day tableside before pouring bottles of red and white vino from the extensive wine list. To conclude meals or inadvertently incite stooge-level food fights, they serve a lineup of desserts that includes Italian sorbetti, amaretto cheesecakes, chocolate-chip cannolis, and apple and pear cobblers.