Named for chef Mario Sanfilippo's native Italian town, Porticello Ristorante showcases authentic Italian dishes prepared from traditional recipes. Couples share appetizers such as cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto di parma, a bite that is both sweet and salty like a lollipop's tears. Entrees include the mozzarella-topped veal saltimbocca with mushrooms and sage and the grilled swordfish with hints of lemon, basil, and garlic. Among pastas, gnocchi sorrentino incorporates fresh tomatoes and marinara, and pasta norma dresses penne with fresh basil, plum tomatoes, and caper cufflinks. For dessert, chantilly cream softens flaky pastry dough and diffuses the tart zing of wild berries to create frutti di bosco. Alternatively, spumoni layers cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice cream to commemorate the flavors of the Italian flag.
Serving fresh and speedy pizza across America since 1959, Little Caesar's has grown into a huge, international carryout phenomenon. The menu features pizzas with dough built from scratch that are made to order ($5.99 for a large one-topping). Toppings range from classic pepperoni and sausage to Canadian bacon and pineapple. Return as the conquering hero of your family and save your twins the trouble of hunting down bipedal mastodons by picking up one of Little Caesar's Hot-n-Ready pies ($5.99). Hot-n-Ready pizzas are available in pepperoni or cheese, and can be picked up any time without the need to order ahead. Fans of three-dimensional eats can try the Italian cheese bread combo ($4.99 including sauce) or chicken wings ($4.99) with a variety of sauces.
Italy possesses a rich culinary culture, and the chefs at LaStoria Trattoria honor the old-country recipes of Sicily, Rome, and Venice. With an arsenal of imported olive oils, truffle oils, and balsamic vinegars, they whip up classic dishes such as chicken marsala, eggplant parmesan, and veal piccata. Their specialty pastas, meanwhile, incorporate more unorthodox ingredients such as littleneck clams, pink sauce, and toasted crumbs. A brick wood oven bakes an octet of pizzas, which guests can use to teach rudimentary geometry to one another.
Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for more than 25 years, arranging a lineup of specialty pizzas and sides on a munificent menu. Patrons can bedeck dough disks with carnivorous confetti in the form of pepperoni, ham, spicy italian sausage, bacon, sausage, beef, or grilled chicken. Golden-voiced fresh vegetables make palates swoon with a jukebox's selection of green peppers, portobello mushrooms, roma tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, black olives, pineapple, banana peppers, and newly harvested 45s. Eaters can prod cooks with the click of a mouse, alerting them to special requests such as an extra layer of parmesan romano or the three-cheese blend of the asiago, fontina, and provolone. Like a popular club or an especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune place to stock up for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
Native North Enders Vinnie Amato and Steve Costa opened Cafe Porto Bello to revisit the Italian cuisine of their childhoods and re-create the atmosphere of dinners with family. For more than a decade, the café's chefs have prioritized freshness by preparing every dish to order with spices blended in-house and by garnishing gourmet, hand-tossed pizzas with their own roasted red peppers. The dining room is warm and softly lit, with sturdy wooden tables and seating for up to 100. In the adjacent lounge, bartenders pour Italian and American varietals in syncopation or ragtime with live jazz sets.
At Scorpio's, adept culinary artists handcraft robust pizzas, saucy pastas, and savory entrees from zesty spices, an array of organic ingredients, and signature family recipes. Hand-tossed pizzas are made to order with a choice of toppings, such as roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, and house-made meatballs, whirling from piping hot ovens to fill plates with cheesy slices of Sicilian-style pie ($13.99+). Or, opt for one of the restaurant's specialty selections, such as an onion- and mozzarella-slathered barbecue chicken pizza ($13.99 for a large) or the self-named Scorpio, which combines pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, green peppers, onions ($14.99 for a large), and an affinity for long walks on the beach into one hard-to-resist dish.