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 L'Allegria, founders Saverio and Giovanni Allocca seek to transport diners to an al fresco Mediterranean courtyard with their authentic cuisine and decor that evokes a breezy villa. The menu brims with classic italian pastas and succulent veal dishes, made with hormone-free meats. Extensive wine lists complement entrees with dozens of varietals from Italy and California.
Patrons sit upon floral-patterned chairs in the high-ceilinged dining room, amid beige walls and exposed brick. At times, a pianist's melodies reverberate throughout the eatery, relaxing diners and reminding the walls' paintings of a simpler time when they were young, impressionable canvases.
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.
The Brick Oven of Morristown's dough-spinning doyens handcraft a menu full of crusted creations and authentic Italian eats. Commence chew-infused chats with a bowl of the pasta e fagioli soup ($6.95) before choosing one of the popular brick-oven-baked pizzas, such as the alla mare di mare ($16.95), which combines clams, calamari, and shrimp beneath a canopy of mozzarella and ricotta cheese, or the four-cheese alla jessabella, served on a sauceless crust ($10.95). Diners can also build their own customizable pie (prices vary depending upon ingredients) for a culinary construction more appetizing than a Quaker-made oatmeal cathedral. Or skip sliced fare altogether and tongue-dive into a hearty main course, such as a primo pasta ($11.95+) or the pollo della casa—boneless chicken encrusted with parmesan cheese and sautéed in white-wine sauce ($17.95). To complement meals, guests can bring their own bottle of wine or host a séance to summon the spirit of a vintage chardonnay.
Beyond Tomato Pie of Morristown's French door façade, chefs mix fresh ingredients into a menu of signature pizzas and homemade Italian favorites. For starters, diced chicken and mozzarella cheese sing a duet in lightly fried balls of arborio rice served with marinara, or a chorus of Italian cheeses, meats, peppers, and beans rattle the antipasti platter with trilling operatic arias. To complement the Grandma pie's spread of gooey cheese and tomatoes over a crisp, rectangular crust, the circular tomato pie hosts hearty tomatoes and a selection of toppings ($2 each) such as artichokes, bacon, and sweet peppers. For dessert, rich slices of Nutella pie recall the sweet flavors of Italy's chocolate mountain ranges, and a sextet of zeppoles tops balls of deep-fried dough with spackles of fine powdered sugar.
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.