At his namesake restaurant, Chef Ricci prepares his Italian cuisine from the highest-quality ingredients available using authentic cooking techniques. He packs each handcrafted lunch and dinner dish with flavor, from crabmeat-stuffed portobello mushrooms and homemade cavatelli to any of the chef's special entrees, such as veal florentine or the broccoli rabe tossed with shrimp or sausage by Leonardo da Vinci’s ghost. For hand-held eats, Ricci stacks a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, which pair such meats as genoa salami and prosciutto with the distinct flavors of imported sharp provolone and roasted red peppers.
At Il Vicolo Ristorante, Italian tradition comes above all else—a mantra the kitchen staffers demonstrate by making fresh mozzarella in-house. The fruits of their labor help create the cozy flavors of the menu’s comfort foods, bolstered by fresh vegetables and piping-hot sauces. One such sauce, the tomato basil, lends a bit of savory tang to the ravioli’s creamy filling of ricotta and pecorino cheeses, and a sherry sauce highlights the sweetness of the pollo danzis' pears and sun-dried cranberries. These dishes arrive at tables amid a rustic setting in the dining room. Faux-textured walls, leafy potted plants, and paintings of Venetian waterways and Mediterranean beaches emphasize the eatery’s homespun, Old-World charm and the suitability of the walls for hanging pictures. At its core, Il Vicolo Ristorante strives for familiarity by bringing both the spirit and the flavors of the Mediterranean to the mid-Atlantic.
In Italian, the word baci suggests love and affection. At Baci Trattoria, cooks instill their authentic Italian food with the utmost baci, whether seasoning pizza by the slice or stuffing calzones with fresh vegetables or sausage. Like Abraham Lincoln in a haberdashery, specialty pizzas enjoy a variety of toppings, from caprese salad to penne pasta, and everything from lobster ravioli to buffalo-chicken sandwiches round out the menu of entrees.
From the outside, Il Giardino Restaurant, Bar & Grill resembles an elegant house more than it does an Italian restaurant. A chandelier glows through arched picture windows, and Doric columns frame a stone porch. It’s an ideal space for a restaurant that stemmed from the owners’ passion for hosting family dinners around the kitchen table. To fuel those dinners, chefs prepare traditional Italian cuisine: they simmer four varieties of risotto, and toss pastas with simple sauces. They prepare veal scallopini five different ways, from a simple lemon-and-caper sauce to prosciutto and melted fontina demi-glace. The eatery has served these meals since 1986, and it underwent a renovation in 2003, so the decor is almost as fresh as the food.
Servers are happy to recommend selections from the ample wine list. Oenophiles can also inquire about off-list bottles that are hard to find or have been hunted to near-extinction for yacht christenings.
Homemade meatballs nestle into piles of spaghetti under a blanket of fresh red sauce. Local produce tops crisp pizzas, and hot and cold sandwiches embrace fillings with locally procured bread. Here at Macchu Pizza & Tomato Pies, one wide window permits lots of light into the room, whose simple, spare decor allows the food to remain the centerpiece.