Rose City Pizza creates Italian cuisine and authentic New York¬–style pizzas using high-quality ingredients and handmade pizza dough. Drawing on their Scuola Italiano Pizzaioli–certified skills, master pizza chefs knead, toss, and transform flour paste into a flurry of large specialty pizzas. Although the selection varies from day to day, Rose City always offers cheese-pie lovers a marvelous variety of tomato sauciness. Cherry peppers and melted mozzarella on a slice of Spicy Pepperoni admirably complement most pool-cleaning parties, and the Spinach Pie (white sauce, garlic, and sautéed spinach) is certain to please cheek-pinching matriarchs and inflatable-forearmed sailor men alike. To celebrate a victory or commiserate over a defeat, sports fans can stick around and indulge in Canadian ham, bacon bits, and pineapple chunks waiting on The Aloha, gulp a slice of Tomato Pesto, or find comfort in a doughy disc of meat-shunning Veggie Delight. Swing by the restaurant or call ahead to see what specialty offerings are available that day.
Garlic Jim's menu was handcrafted with nothing more than a dream and an incredible reserve of pizza-making expertise. Open an order with some gourmet chicken wings, available in barbecue, garlic, and buffalo hot, before moving on to pizza territory. Put an end to eating Legos by piecing together a custom pie. Choose from the hand-thrown thick, garlic thin, or gluten-free crusts, slathered in one of seven sauces (from classic red to zesty chipotle pesto) or olive oil, and then slap on any of 15 standard and 11 gourmet toppings (14-inch large pizzas start at $11.99, gluten-free crust $14.99, each additional topping $1.50). To achieve customization without the stress of having to choose, turn to one of the pre-determined specialties. Meat-maul hunger with the Hercules (salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, spicy Italian sausage, and bacon, $18.99 for large thick crust, $21.99 for gluten-free), or discover the secret of pizza-temperature fusion in your head with Jim's bacon-cheeseburger pizza (beef, bacon, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, and cheddar, $18.99 for large thick crust, $21.99 for gluten-free).
Johnny Rockets' menu and kids’ menu win a lot of awards, particularly for fresh, never-frozen hamburgers. Chase them with fries and onion rings and wash it all down with a fountain drink such as a deluxe hand-dipped oreo cookies and cream shake, root beer float, or flavored soda pop (cherry or vanilla). If you're more partial to poultry, Johnny Rockets also offers grilled chicken breast sandwiches and crispy chicken club salads. Johnny Rockets' cream and red Eisenhower-era décor, tabletop jukeboxes, and smiling, dancing servers make it feel like an Archie comic (but not the issue where Archie gets drafted).
Backed by more than 25 years of tasty tradition, Carmine's chefs—who have been starlit in several local media outlets—placate hungry palates with a traditional Italian menu. Begin the eating extravaganza with a savory starter of sautéed mushrooms ($6.25), bruschetta ($6.50), or one of many homemade soups ($4.25). The bountiful blend of sautéed, diced chicken breast, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini takes a scrumptious snooze atop a bed of rotelli pasta in the chicken primavera ($15.50), and lightly fried fresh eggplant joins forces with mozzarella, romano cheese, hard-boiled egg, and marinara sauce in the eggplant parmigiana ($13.50). Gracious guests can also take on a two-dimensional dish, such as the barbecue-chicken pizza—dressed with tender chicken breast, red onion, cilantro, mozzarella, and barbecue sauce ($14.75 for a 12").
Lamppost Pizza was founded in 1976, boasting a menu of bubbling pizzas and hearty, Italian-American eats to fuel families and sports fans. Meals begin with fresh, antipasto salads tossed with Italian cured meats, pepperoncini, mozzarella, and tomatoes or tales of spicy-sweet romances told by zesty chicken wings. After toasting good company with a garnet glass of zinfandel, pasta-eating pairs excavate layers of lasagna or sop up a ravioli dinner's house-made meat sauce with complimentary garlic bread.
How many awards can a pizza win? Apparently all of them, if it was crafted at Avanti Cafe. Since it first started spinning dough in 1987, the restaurant's gourmet wood-fired pizzas have earned accolades from outlets including Pasadena Magazine and a thumbs-up from famed food critic Elmer Dills. The secret to each slice's success lies in how the pies are made—gently crisped in an imported Italian wood-burning oven that imparts a smoky flavor to the crust. California-centric toppings, such as glazed apples, tiger shrimp, duck sausage, and shiitake mushrooms, provide the finishing touch.
Avanti's tasteful touch extends to other Italian staples as well. Chefs toss chicken and seasonal vegetables into pastas that, like the pizzas, can be made gluten-free upon request; they also fold up savory calzones. The warming cuisine is complemented by a selection of international wines and beers, as well as espresso drinks to fuel second or third helpings.