At Napoli's, reverent chefs recreate the tastes of their Old World ancestors in the form of scratch-made pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Build-your-own pies arrive sprinkled with 100% real provolone and toppings ranging from pepperoni, ham, and bacon to onions, black olives, and green peppers. Doused in house-made sauces, Napoli's pastas include Italian mainstays such as spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, and five-cheese lasagna. Their sandwich menu continues the old country love fest, filling plates with Mediterranean specialties including chicken cacciatore subs, meatball heroes, and paninis cut into the shape of Silvio Berlusconi.
Papa Dio's owner and head chef Bill Bonadio is a strong believer in tradition. His restaurant has spanned three generations of Bonadios, who have carefully crafted hearty Italian cuisine served on tables across two dining rooms. Boasting a sprawling list of more than 160 items, the menu runs the epicurean gamut through classic spaghetti and meatballs to Dio's original fried pizzas, while their new "Little Menu" includes items under $10. At the wine bar, tables draped in crisp white linens surround a horseshoe-shaped bar that was made with wood salvaged from an 18th-century home in Louisiana and a horseshoe salvaged from an 18th-century giant horse.
When you go to Falcone's, it doesn't matter if you show up alone or with your extended family?they'll have a pizza that's just your size. Pick up a slice for the road or stay and split an 18-inch Bianca or margarita pizza with friends. Whole pizzas can also don a custom variety of toppings, allowing customers to get creative with their food. The rest of the menu consists of hot sandwiches, pasta, and Italian snacks, including homemade meatballs and garlic knots. When given two hours of notice, the kitchen can also prepare a dinner tray of meat or cheese lasagna fit for a family of eight or one moderately hungry ogre.
Lotsa Noodles' Paulo Paes has a simple mission: to serve fresh and nutritious food with speed. He corrals recipes from across the globe for his diverse menu of pasta dishes, rice specialties, and sandwiches, which are made to order, covered in housemade sauces, and filled with fresh ingredients. Soups such as creamy tomato basil and veggie-laden pot sticker take the edge off hunger, helping diners pace themselves when it comes time to share slices of the mac 'n' cheese pizza.
Trattoria il Centro's chef, Christine Dowd, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, brings years of experience in the garlicky, pesto-soaked trenches of Chicago and New York to her preparation of each seasonal dish. The menu tips over dinner's domino cascade with seared beef carpaccio ($10.95) and a salad of asparagus wrapped in pancetta and topped with parmesan foam ($9.95) before burying hunger alive beneath filetto con ravioli in a barolo red wine sauce ($28.95). The kitchen’s savants of semolina also hand-make an extensive list of pastas, such as the seafood-stuffed ravioli di mari ($17.95). Trattoria's pizzas—fresh from a wood-fired oven—range from traditional margherita ($9.95) to a quattro stagione ($13.95) with kalamata-olive tomato sauce and an egg sunny-side up.
Bellini's has been doling out five-star specialties to everyone from anonymous noodle lovers to notable rock royalty (Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney) since opening in 1990. The restaurant's namesake libation, which combines sweet peach nectar with champagne ($5.95 for regular size), makes a bubbly start to the meal. Appetizers include citrus-, garlic-, and herb-marinated shrimp ceviche ($10.95), ravioli stuffed with goat cheese and bedded on pesto cream and pomodoro sauce ($9.95), and crab cakes sauced with fontina cream ($9.95). Sea-meat fans will appreciate Bellini's fresh catches, which include a pan-seared and sesame-seeded ahi tuna ($24.95), and kicky cayenne-pepper-and-lime-sautéed tilapia ($23.95). Pasta options are extensive and served with your choice of house or Caesar salads. Selections include noodley enigmas such as cheese-stuffed pesto tortellini ($16.95), penne arrabbiata ($19.95), and spinach manicotti ($15.95) with a three-cheese blend.