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.
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.
Inspired by the "North of Little Italy" neighborhood of Manhattan—which is lined with quaint and authentic family-owned restaurants—Nolita Ristorante serves up classic Italian cuisine alongside an extensive craft beer selection at a contemporary bar, featuring 24 taps and a myriad of specialty cocktails. The impressive menu lists off a plethora of dishes, each composed with a nod toward sustainability, such as fresh produce and meats that are locally sourced whenever possible. Tender shrimp ravioli are tossed in a saffron cream sauce, while a bone-in pork chop is plated alongside a crispy polenta cake and sweet grilled peaches.
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.