At Ray's Pizza, specialty pies rub culinary elbows with Italian mainstays including hot and cold subs and stromboli. Deluxe pies combine the tastes of pepperoni, italian sausage, ham, mushrooms, onion, green peppers, and black olives; other specialties include a greek pizza, a Mediterranean treat with olive oil, spinach, black olives, and feta and mozzarella cheese. Build-your-own pies let customers tops crusts with one of seven different sauces before loading them with toppings such as pepperoni, olives, pineapple, and chicken and wearing them right out of the store. Subs run the sandwich gamut from philly cheesesteak to chicken parm, and desserts include Snickers cake, fluffy tiramisu, and italian zeppole—fried dough dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
Domino's recently reformulated its pizza recipe, which puts the buyer in command of a plentitude of pie-personalizing possibilities. Test the sturdiness of a hand-tossed thin crust with mounds of hearty marinara, ham, chicken, green peppers, black olives, and spinach, or fill a deep-dish foundation with alfredo sauce, bacon, onions, jalapeños, fresh mushrooms, and banana peppers. While delicious design options stretch into infinity like a taffy pull in a black hole, the eatery's specialty pizzas make choosing more manageable. Peruse pies like the MeatZZa Feast, which is piled high with pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, beef, and extra mozzarella, and the Pacific Veggie, a flashy West Coast–concoction of roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, feta, mozzarella, and provolone.
A staple of Hillsborough Street, Two Guys Restaurant fuses tasty American and Italian eats with its deep and varied menu. Instead of dousing drive-thru burgers in tomato sauce, visitors can sample Amer-Italian eats such as broiled chopped sirloin steak ($12.95), eggplant parmigiana ($11.75), lasagna ($12.95), and a shrimp calzone ($10.29). Hunger-addled diners can also opt to feast fangs on sandwiches such as a hot roast beef and gravy sandwich ($7.95) or a Wolfpack Special ($7.95), combining lean steak, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and the unbridled enthusiasm of Alexander Q. Holladay's ghost on a Kaiser roll.
Moonlight Pizza Company doesn't settle for traditional pizzas. Instead, their artisan chefs sprinkle pies with more than 50 gourmet toppings, including avocado slices, pine nuts, and shiitake mushrooms, and construct gluten-free crusts upon request. They extend the same care to the rest of their menu, which spans a variety of casual Italian dishes, such as calzones, antipasto, and strombolis. Their salads come with a choice of six dressings that, like US ambassadors' gingerbread body doubles, are made from scratch each day. Their Farm to Fork Craft Menu presents guests with new entree options each month while continuing to use locally grown ingredients.
Outside, tree-covered outdoor seating on two recently improved patios complements mouthwatering slices and buttery crusts. Inside, bright-green walls create a vibrant backdrop for exuberant conversations or cooking shows with lots of special effects.
Before opening up Capri Restaurant in 2000, owner Dino Pinelli worked as a restaurateur in the French Riviera, on Caribbean cruise ships, and in New York. These experiences helped him develop a simple, yet universally appealing philosophy around food: if you wouldn't serve it to your family, don't serve it to customers. He and his kitchen team showcase this ironclad ethos in each dish served at Capri, from the lunches of caprese paninis made with fresh mozzarella to the hearty, rustic dinners of spaghetti carbonara, dijon-crusted salmon, and tender veal saltimbocca. The restaurant's soothing crimson walls and cloth-clad tables help the dedicated staff cultivate a romantic ambience, but the team can also eschew the elegant digs to cater for 700 people at weddings, large office celebrations, or the birthday parties of children who are absurdly popular.
Over plates of Italian dishes and drinks, visitors to Ciago?s can spot multiple generations of the Candes family bustling between the kitchen, dining room, and full bar. The family and staff carry plates of veal parmesan and pizzas crowned with artichoke hearts, jalape?os, and eggplant, which diners wash down with more than 20 wines. Beneath spotlights at the 20-seat bar, patrons look up breathlessly at high-definition televisions as athletic events reach their conclusion and players are doused in Gatorade to prove they aren?t robots. Tabletops line up beneath the awning of the outdoor patio and snake out into sunnier areas dappled by the shade from marinara-red umbrellas. Glittering strings of hanging lights illuminate the patio when night falls or when oversized passing parade floats eclipse the sun.