Michael Salerno celebrates the rich flavors of Italian food with recipes culled from the books of his beloved grandmother, Carmela, using never-frozen ingredients to create delicious steaks, seafood dishes, pastas, and salads. His restaurant’s softly lit dining space recalls a family dining room, replete with flowery wallpaper, old framed photographs, and relatives who don’t remember how old you are. Diners gather at the main rooms’ tables or in high-backed booths for generous helpings of pasta, which bear ladlefuls of thick, savory sauce and juicy house-made meatballs, or break bread in the spacious banquet hall.
CiCi's Pizza combines the variety of a buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough that’s made from scratch daily and then showered with marinara and toppings, from classic pepperoni and italian sausage to more creative buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The buffet is also stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, signature salads, and independent salad ingredients. After feasting on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for desserts including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.
In Italy, l’aperitivo is time for socializing with friends over drinks and light snacks. Aperitivos Coffee & Wine Bar supplies this exact respite amid old-country surrounds of dark woods, brick, and stucco walls. Here, baristas add splashes of flavoring, such as sugar-free hazelnut, to Segafredo Coffee, or use it to craft caffeinated favorites like chai lattes. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour reds and white from an extensive list with selections that span everywhere from Argentina to Washington State.
All beverages complement upscale bistro fare, including six-ounce marinated steaks finished with blue cheese butter or flatbread pizzas topped with roasted chicken and a creamy garlic-and-onion sauce. On most weekends, feasts unfold as local musicians grace the Aperitivos stage with soothing tunes.
Sauces play a starring role on the menu at Cafe Italia, from basic but hearty marinara and alfredo sauces to elaborate blends with port wine, vodka, and balsamic vinegar and honey. One of these deftly simmered medleys flavors each dish, whether the entree features broiled salmon or Angus-beef filet mignon. The feasts reflect culinary traditions from both northern and southern Italy and give a nod to the peninsula’s oceanfront bounty with shrimp, clams, mussels, and giant tridents instead of forks. Cafe Italia’s BYOB policy invites guests to dream up their own beverage pairings for each meal.
Village Grill slings hearty plates of Tex-Mex, Italian, and American recipes in a large, contemporary dining space. Recipes inspired by Cozumel and Monterey envelop enchiladas, quesadillas, and chicken breasts in cornhusks, adobo sauce, and pico de gallo. Center-cut pork chops and thick-cut steaks sizzle in skillets with merlot, white wine, and Jack Daniel's sauces before waiters ferry plates to cozy café tables amid red, green, and yellow walls dappled with murals and black-and-white photography. Village Grill also caters celebrations with platters of layered fruit or stacks of ribs, and memorable items such as watermelons carved with snappy phrases or annotated translations of War and Peace.
When they aren't preparing rustic Italian eats, the chefs at This Side of Rome are busy tossing each New York–style pizza crust by hand. Their baskets of fried calamari and stuffed mushrooms pave the way for subs stuffed with ham, salami, and provolone. Inside the 60-seat dining room, guests gobble up slices of tiramisu while sipping on BYOB drinks. They can also nosh at home by opting for take-out or luring delivery drivers with a trail of parmesan cheese. Thursday through Saturday, guests can also enjoy southern comfort chef specials.