Inspired by the artists living around him in Laguna Beach, Sid Fanarof sought to do something creative in the kitchen. The result was zpizza, which now has locations across the globe, each filled with bustling chefs experimenting with ingredients traditionally associated with Indian, Californian, and Mexican cuisine. Pizzas use organic vegetables and skim-milk mozzarella, and their organic wheat flour bakes over an open flame to a crisp finish. “If you don’t hear the crunch, it’s not a zpizza,” Fanarof says of the crusts on his website. Chefs first slather the crusts with sweet basil pesto, roasted-garlic sauce, or organic tomato sauce. Their hands flutter across, sprinkling on fistfuls of toppings such as MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, three types of mushrooms, roasted eggplant, and pine nuts. Vegan cheese and gluten-free crusts allow everyone to enjoy the pizzas except for those trying to hide the fact that they superglued their mouths closed.
Carrying a pita, a diner approaches a toppings bar brimming with pickled condiments, crunchy vegetables, and sauces. Without paying or even speaking to someone behind the counter, the diner lifts the spoon and festoons the pita with a pile of fresh toppings, ready to start the meal anew. At most restaurants, this could get you kicked out, but at Maoz, it’s not only overlooked, but also encouraged. After choosing from such vegetarian and vegan-friendly options as gluten-free falafel and fried eggplant, pita wraps or salads head to the single-visit salad bar. Belgian fries—a thick-cut, lightly battered version of their french cousins—and mounds of sweet-potato fries complement sandwiches and salads along with green-chili sauce, mayo, and salsa for dipping and boosting the self-esteem of napkins.
While feasting, diners sit atop benches at long, shared tables that emulate the communal lunch joints of old in the unabashedly modern chain of restaurants, founded in Amsterdam two decades ago. Mirroring the eatery’s fresh, stylish food, the interior at Maoz features green tiled walls and steel fixtures illuminated by hanging lamps and baby pictures of supernovas.
In Italy, a "sagra" is a festival where a community comes together in celebration of a local ingredient or dish?a tradition that fits Gabriel Pellegrini's enoteca and trattoria in both spirit and practice. Classic, bistro-style Italian cuisine joins local, Texan ingredients to create an entire menu worthy of commemoration. But that isn't to say all the ingredients are local?house-cured meats accent plates of handmade pasta, and imported Mediterranean cheeses join house-made mozzarella atop hand-stretched neapolitan pizzas bubbling gold in a wood-burning stove.
Shaking up Italian Tradition
Pellegrini's dedication to craft and quality carries over into the bar at Sagra. Shelves brim with liqueurs, grappas, and wines imported from Italy, but the bartenders grow their own herbs, make their own bitters, and infuse syrups and spirits in-house for cocktails such as the La Roma, a rye Manhattan infused with orange-flower peel.
Health-conscious Austinites have a lot of delicious dining options to choose from, but Veggie Heaven remains a go-to choice for fresh, delicious vegetarian cuisine. Veggie Heaven's food is a healthy-leaning take on the typical University of Texas campus-area Chinese delivery spots. The restaurant's diverse offerings are 100% vegetarian, but come loaded with familiar flavors that might surprise meat-eaters as well. The small white storefront is short on charm and décor, but does a brisk takeout and delivery business along the Drag, including their signature lychee juice bubble drink, as well as assorted hot entrée, steamed buns and several vegan offerings. The politically-minded owners also share their views on various world issues openly, hanging banners and leaving literature out for customers to peruse while they wait for their meat-free meals to arrive.
Fill up on naan and curry at Neeta's Indian Cuisine. Dieters beware — Neeta's Indian Cuisine does not offer low-fat cuisine. Bring the whole clan to Neeta's Indian Cuisine — kids and parents will love the menu and ambience here.
If you need to feed a big crowd, Neeta's Indian Cuisine also offers catering services for parties and get-togethers. If you need to get somewhere fast, the restaurant also serves up grub to go.
For easy dining, Neeta's Indian Cuisine provides convenient parking in a connecting lot.
Your bill at Neeta's Indian Cuisine will typically run less than $30 per person, so bring the whole gang!
Ease your appetite with delicious bites from Roots Bistro in Houston. No need to splurge on a baby sitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at Roots Bistro. Dine out in the open during Roots Bistro's summer season when patio tables are available for use. Bring your laptop here and tap into the complimentary wifi.
No need to put on airs for a trip to Roots Bistro — the dress code and ambience at this restaurant are totally laid-back. For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Guests take to street parking at Roots Bistro's Westheimer Rd spot.
The average check at Roots Bistro will stay below $30 per person, so it's a relatively affordable option.