Al Cavaliere Ristorante was built upon three pillars of a classic Italian culinary experience: good food, friendly service, and engaging décor. It’s no wonder, then, that the restaurant doesn’t turn to generic recipes, or a Magic 8 Ball, as inspiration for its menu. Instead, Al Cavaliere prepares dishes that have populated tabletops across Italian villages for generations—including those influenced by the changing seasons. Those edible bits of history make themselves known in more than 10 different pastas, such as the rigatoni vodka, which features hollow pasta in a sweet or spicy sauce with tomato, basil, and a hint of cream. The restaurant’s hospitality efforts extend to a dining room that emanates Tuscan charm, complete with warm maroon walls and sprawling oil paintings.
Pleasant Road Spa is a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation. Within, a team of licensed aestheticians use renowned Dermaologica and Skinceuticals products to perform more than a dozen facial treatments, including specialized services for men and expectant mothers. Adventurous clients can dabble in advanced treatments such as glycolic peels or microdermabrasion, which intensively exfoliates the face to dissolve signs of aging or soreness from a staring contest with a raccoon. Nearby, massage therapists tend to sore muscles and joints with half a dozen therapeutic techniques, while nail techs execute soothing pedicures laced with green-tea and peppermint essential oils. Excessively hirsute guests can get un-hirsuted with an array of waxing services for the face and body.
At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
Pulling from his years of formal training in culinary arts, chef Gabe Catalano captains a crew of highly trained chefs in Terrazza's kitchen. The team labors over pots of bubbling pastas and pans of sizzling meats and seafood before adorning them all with handcrafted sauces. Meanwhile, behind the bar, drink masters dole out glasses of fine Italian and California wines alongside specialty cocktails.
In the dining room, white tabletops speckle the floors beneath a sweeping mural of an Italian countryside. In the front of the restaurant, a red awning stretches out over a sunny front patio. Like an eye using a magnifying glass as a monocle, the restaurant's elegant bar transitions into a hotspot as the night wears on.
Owner Pat Turano of Turano Pizzeria and Restaurant and multiple establishments in the Bloomfield and Montclair areas, leads cuisine crafters in serving up a menu of thin-crust pizzas and comforting Italian dishes. Diners can relive childhood mushroom-hunting conquests with the earthy and decadent pizza con funghi, decorated with mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and truffle oil ($13.95). Pasta dishes such as the baked lasagna present a panoply of cheese: mozzarella, pecorino, and ricotta layered with basil and marinara sauce ($10.95). And the chicken arabbiata entree, with potatoes, sausage, onions, and mushrooms ($12.95), arrives at the table fuming over the goofy wedding dance that brings shame to the poultry name. Today's deal can also be used toward catering, which includes a choice of one entree, one pasta, and one side from the catering menu ($10.95/person; minimum of 25 people/order).