For 45 years, Procaccini's Italian Family Restaurant (formerly known as Gino's) has dished up Italian favorites and house specialties. Under the guidance of executive chef Dobber, who has been a chef for more than 20 years, the menu ranges from specialty pizzas with Gino's original crust to pastas and grinders. Families pile into the cushioned booths that fill a dining room decorated with stained glass, murals of Venice, and flags of New England professional and collegiate sports teams. The cozy, casual setting is frequently a scene for family dinners, birthday parties, and celebrations after winning a bet on the Little League championship.
Featured by Paul Stern on Mansfield-StorrsPatch in 2011—just months after its opening—Coriander Cafe & Country Store has hatched quite the name for itself in Eastwood. According to Stern, brothers Scott and Brett Laffert run the show with Brett, a former chef and self-proclaimed “country person at heart,” transforming local ingredients into gourmet sandwiches, burgers, and straw hats. The shop makes all their breads—from ciabatta to whole wheat—in-house before stacking them with fresh-carved turkey and cranberry sauce or homemade black-bean patties. Yet the cooks don’t stop at handheld fare; the menu changes daily and can include anything from pan-seared haddock over corn-and-chive griddlecakes to braised pork belly with a side of chipotle grits.
Coriander Cafe also welcomes early risers into its country confines for a cup of fair-trade and organic coffee from Red Barn Coffee Roasters, a homemade bagel, or a decadent pastry such as a raspberry scone or cinnamon-sugar donut muffin, which guests can enjoy inside or amid fresh-picked oxygen molecules on the backyard deck. A fully stocked country store outfits fleeting customers with all the necessities, from homemade cookies and Red Barn coffee to gourmet jams and hot sauces.
Dedicated to bringing the culinary traditions of Peru to Hartford’s diners, Piolin Restaurant II has been serving the signature sizzling meats and sautéed veggies of the region since 1998. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs architect dishes such as Peruvian yellow potatoes, sweet plantains, and fried yucca in addition to hearty meats ranging from grilled chicken to fried red snapper. Along with the re-creation of time-honored recipes, the brightly hued walls and cheery decor of Piolin’s dining room grant guests the feeling that they’ve escaped to Peru without the hassles of answering a TSA officer’s riddles.
Emerging hot from the brick oven, the melted cheese of a specialty pie bubbles beneath juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, and robust garlic: this is Gina’s Brick Oven Pizza's signature pizza. And like a circus with a geriatric lion, it is tamer than it could be. That's because Gina's other specialty pies include the Buffalo chicken and BBQ chicken pizzas. No matter which pizza is ordered, the cooks take care to evenly distribute the toppings throughout the entire thing. The kitchen also sends out jumbo burgers, Philly cheesesteaks and chicken sandwiches, which pair with the four beers on tap.
Juicy red peppers, bright green spinach- and basil-flecked pasta, and golden-brown fried fish all come together atop plates at Pisco Sour Piolyn Jr. to create eye-catching Peruvian specialities with a Chinese twist. Chifa cuisine infuses traditional Chinese dishes with the flavors of Peru, which is extremely popular in Lima. The lengthy menu delivers everything from fresh fish ceviche and churrasco-style rib-eye steak to traditional tacu tacu—a breaded and fried mixture of beans, rice, and your choice of meat or shrimp. To wash down their South American eats, customers can choose from a list of Peruvian wines or stay domestic with a beer or swig of water from the local reservoir. But for those wanting to fully embrace the Peruvian dining experience, a pisco sour is the only way to go. Made from pisco, the traditional Peruvian brandy, and a mix of lemon juice and sugar, the drink is a refreshing way to cap off the meal.