Leonardo Toia “desperately discouraged” his kids from going into the family business, but their passion won him over, and now they help run numerous locations of the family-friendly neighborhood pizzeria. While adults peruse a menu of American and Italian favorites, such as half-pound burgers or housemade pastas smothered in tomato sauce or cheese and bacon, children 8 and younger pick anything from a free menu. Clients who wish to dine inside the comfort of their own home or submarine can have Leona’s food delivered within 60 minutes of ordering.
Low lighting and softly illumined golden Buddhas set the scene for a romantic evening. The restaurant's elegant interior adds a much-needed style injection to a nervous first date and gives dining alone the sensual, lovelorn romanticism of a Wong Kar-Wai movie. Friendship's owner, Alan Yuen, confesses that the popularity of low-grade Chinese buffets makes him weep bitterly.
Fresh maki sushi rolls and succulently sauced meats burden blond-wood tables within the textured walls of Umi Japanese Restaurant. Soft-shell crab, squid, and other sea-caught starters form an edible prologue to the menu, which diners can peruse while lounging in high-backed booths or playing hide-and-seek amid the artfully arranged birch branches in wall-mounted planters. Besides Umi’s sushi selection, traditional Japanese sauces coat teriyaki-style seafood and meats, and hot-pot-style dishes brim with udon noodles, meats, and vegetables.
At Kimberli Sushi, cooks combine crisp vegetables and succulent cuts of fish to fashion dishes from a sprawling Japanese and Thai menu. Crystal-clear plates support noodle dishes and cuts of sashimi that pop with color as diners sit at a modest sushi bar illuminated by hanging lamps and floating balls of roe.
“Gosu” is a Korean word implying exceptional skill, and in this case, it refers to the mastery of Korean and Japanese food preparation by the restaurant’s chef and owner, Bang. As diners luxuriate in velvet booths and banquettes, Bang’s cadre of skilled chefs whips up appetizers of boiled soybeans, soft-shell crab, and vegetables or shrimp swathed in savory tempura. The dining room, with its tiered, wooden ceiling and paper lanterns, inspires mellow conversation, and decorative mirrors steam up from menu entrees of Korean-style steamed pork and beef in bold citrus and curry sauces. Gosu invites diners to unwrap artfully packed sushi before warming spoons in a cinnamon tea or Japanese cider, which offer spicy relaxation without the sneezing repercussions of bathing in black pepper.
Behind a dining room accented by natural wood accents and exposed brick, Thai Oscar's chefs sear, stir-fry, slice, and saut? a range of authentic Thai and Japanese cuisine. The Chicago Reader praised Thai Oscar's leek dumplings as "wonderfully crisp on its outer layer and splendidly gooey underneath." Other standout dishes such as duck curry infused with pineapple and coconut and ginger-saut?ed chicken share menu space with a range of teriyaki and fried noodle entrees. Sushi lovers can nibble on freshly sliced octopus sashimi or the restaurant's large selection of signature maki, which comes in such varieties as the Sumo giant roll stuffed with unagi, avocado, cream cheese, and tempura.