Sauces play a starring role on the menu at Cafe Italia, from basic but hearty marinara and alfredo sauces to elaborate blends with port wine, vodka, and balsamic vinegar and honey. One of these deftly simmered medleys flavors each dish, whether the entree features broiled salmon or Angus-beef filet mignon. The feasts reflect culinary traditions from both northern and southern Italy and give a nod to the peninsula’s oceanfront bounty with shrimp, clams, mussels, and giant tridents instead of forks. Cafe Italia’s BYOB policy invites guests to dream up their own beverage pairings for each meal.
Inside Italian Xpress's kitchen, the cooks crown neapolitan thin-crust pizzas with an array of toppings ranging from ricotta cheese and roasted garlic to crumbled hamburger. Though they feature 10 different specialty pizzas on the menu, the cooks also bake manicotti, toast meatball-and-cheese subs, and cut out slices of New York-style cheesecake.
It was on the open sea, aboard a Royal Caribbean liner, that restaurant maitre d' Francesco Secchi fell in love. Her name was Jane, a beautician from Great Britain. Her homeland was worlds apart from Francesco’s, the Italian island of Sardinia. But that didn’t phase the lovebirds—they wasted no time tying the knot, and spent the next eight years working alongside each other on Royal Caribbean ships. When the pair decided it was time to settle on dry land, they chose Dallas. Its weather reminded Francesco of his home, despite its patterns rarely being affected by ancient curses cast by Caesar.
In 1983, the Secchis embarked on their next joint endeavor: Ferarri’s Italian Villa. They rooted the restaurant in basics: a warm “Buona sera” for each arriving guest and family recipes more than a century old. This approach struck a chord with eaters, and as the business grew, so did Francesco and Jane’s family. Today, their three sons all lend their talents to the family business—Stefano, in fact, is the head chef. He and the staff still craft a menu of Sardinian classics—gnocchi, lasagna, and cioppino—as well as some upscale American dishes, such as steaks, chops, and seafood. And Francesco and Jane still man the front door every night, welcoming patrons new and old.