Featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a neighborhood pizza staple, family-owned P&D Oxford House of Pizza decorates 19 specialty pies in a livery of savory toppings while dishing out platters of toasty Italian fare. The Inferno pizza ($8.50–$14) coaxes taste buds through a doughy ring of fire spackled with pepperoni, sausage, and hot peppers, and the Athenian's garlic butter sets the gustatory stage for grilled chicken morsels dressed in spinach togas and feta-cheese helmets ($8.50–$14). Patrons can choose their own pizza adventure with a slew of toppings, including broccoli, meatballs, and bacon. P&D's toasted grinders, such as the steak- and mushroom-laden "Flynn-IE" ($6–$7.50), deepen the roster of handheld edibles, and homemade lasagna ($6.25) leads a hearty caravan of pasta dishes. Guests can defer to the bistro’s free Internet access to settle dinnertime disputes over whether pasta was first invented by China, Italy, or Marlon Brando as a way to pass the time on the set of The Godfather.
At Café Manzi’s, which has been featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, owner Brian Manzi and Chef Eddie Esper craft a diverse dinner menu of Middle Eastern– and Italian-inspired cuisine. As diners arrive, the chef and friendly staff greet them from the open kitchen, where customers can watch their food sauté, or hop the counter to give appetizers a high-five. Commence meals with hummus tahini, a smooth marriage of ground chickpeas and tahini ($4.95 for a small; $7.95 for a large), before diving mouth-first into chicken port said, a mélange of sautéed chicken, mushrooms, garlic, and syrian pepper served with pilaf and vegetables ($17.95). Transport tongues to Italy with the ravioli, which can be customized with meatballs or italian sausage ($13.95). On the kids’ menu, chicken fingers and crispy french fries ($5.99) soothe the frazzled nerves of youngsters exhausted from balancing their checkbooks.
At Chiodas Trattoria, chefs draw on generations-old recipes to craft authentic Italian dishes in a genuine trattoria atmosphere reminiscent of American cafes and French bistros. To create the chicken gorgonzola, they toss chicken medallions and potato gnocchi in a creamy gorgonzola sauce with sun-dried tomatoes. They also specialize in authentic entrees such as veal parmigiano, fettuccine alfredo, and frutti di mare—shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels sautéed in wine sauce and served over linguine.
Porto Bello devotes much of its menu to the northern and southern cuisines of Italy. Sea-fare-loving seafarers can begin their voyage with mussels doused in a broth of white wine, butter, lemon, and olive oil ($10.95) before diving palate-first into the Maine lobster ravioli, a lobster- and cheese-stuffed dish named for America's most ravioli-filled state ($22.95). Other entrees include the chicken saltimbocca, with prosciutto, portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, spinach, and roasted-garlic sauce forming a belly-pleasing brigade ($16.95), and the portobello mushrooms, served over penne pasta and accented by red-pepper-mascarpone sauce mined from local sauce mines ($13.95).