“Religious Jews need more casual restaurants like this,” Time Out New York says of Noi Due. But it’s hard to pin down what the “this” is that makes the restaurant so appealing. The romantic Italian-style eatery, with its Mediterranean antipasti, fresh pastas, seafood entrees, and brick-oven pizzas, defies pigeonholing, and although the food is certified kosher and Chalav Israel, Time Out promises a pleasant experience for those of any faith, “observant or otherwise.” That’s because anyone can enjoy dishes such as the pan-seared, blackened tilapia, the tri-colored gnocchi, or the filleti do pomodoro pizze, with a brick-oven-baked crust that lays a crispy foundation for a pile of fresh cherry tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, roasted garlic, and fresh arugula. More than 20 varieties of kosher wine complement the savory flavors.
Jazzeria owner Matt Criscuolo Jr. has been hanging out at pizzerias since he was 6 years old. After emigrating from Italy, his father opened a pizzeria where the entire family worked, giving little Matt an up-close look at the business of turning his mom?s recipes into feasts fit for the old country. Inspired both by his family?s livelihood and his passion for jazz, Criscuolo began his own pizzeria, where he now puts his more than 30 years of pizza-slinging experience to work each day.
Inspired both by family recipes and lessons he learns on his yearly trips to Amalfi, Italy, Jazzeria?s dishes derive their flavors from authentic Italian ingredients. Hand-tossed pizza dough transforms into pies including pesto pizza or the pescatore pizza topped with a trio of baby clams, roasted garlic, and bacon. Diners can enjoy dishes named after jazz greats?such as Lady Day?s Bolognese pasta?or grab a calzone to stuff in their pockets for later. In addition to housing tasty bites of the Mediterranean, Jazzeria locations live up to their name with live jazz performances three times a week.
The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
The glowing embers in a rustic brick hearth reach temperature heights of 700 degrees Fahrenheit as they bake pizzas. Once they’ve been adequately roasted, pizzas emerge from brick ovens bubbling and topped with now crisp leaves of basil, soft tomato slices, arugula, and tender chicken. Chefs prepare 15 specialty varietals of pizza using traditional maple- and oak-fired methods that date back to the time when the Ancient Romans invented fire and imparts a toasty crispness to each disc. Pasta noodles mingle with creamy pesto sauce or skirt steak, while slices of foccocia bread ensnare morsels of roasted eggplant, meatballs, or lightly breaded chicken.
Diners can customize pies with à la carte ingredients such as sausage, fresh pineapple, and arugula or opt for the prearranged flavors, which include a ricotta-bedecked bianca pizza and an entree-combining chicken-parmigiana pizza. Four fountain drinks keep bellies happily hydrated, although a diplomatic BYOB policy allows guests to supplement dinners with fermented beverages. Diners can nosh in an all-season garden room, where a vaulted-glass ceiling maintains a pleasant climate through summer, winter, and impending ice ages.
Chomp down on a forkful of Italy in North Bergen at 90 Park Restaurant, which serves up a traditional menu of Italian favorites. For a light lunch, consider a cup of minestrone and a grilled chicken panini, bolstered by mozzarella, arugula, roasted peppers, and garlic pesto. Come dinnertime, tear into a brick-oven pizza Romana?fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, chopped tomatoes, arugula, and olive oil?or a heaping plate of eggplant rigatoni. For a sweet take on your entree, look no further than the pumpkin ravioli. An international list of wines and classic desserts round out the menu.
Vibrant murals of an Italian countryside span the walls of Palermo Pizzeria & Restaurant, setting the scene for a dining experience inspired by the region. Lobster tails, grilled steaks, and piles of spaghetti populate plates atop linen tablecloths in the dining room, alongside crispy pizza crusts weighed down by plum tomatoes, Spanish olives, and blue cheese. A wood-hewn bar ensures wine glasses and mugs stay full throughout meals and its attached TV keeps patrons entertained.