Led by owner and head chef Liz Varnedoe, Bella Villa’s culinary wizards continue their nearly quarter-century-long tradition of crafting made-to-order Sicilian dishes, which populate a fresh, ever-evolving menu. Warm up digestive engines with a scale re-creation of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood log cabin constructed of Italian cheese sticks ($5.95) before diving into eggplant parmigiana ($8.95) or meat-laden gnocchi bolognese ($9.95). Specialty pizzas include the protein-packed Bella Villa Special, loaded with pepperoni, meatballs, and sausage ($16 for a large), and the cheesivore-pleasing white pizza topped with ricotta and mozzarella ($12 for a large). The eatery’s affinity for its clientele is reflected in menu selections suggested by and named after loyal customers, including Lee’s lobster ravioli ($14.95) and Wallace’s complimentary glass of water.
For the past 20 years, the chefs at Sammios Italian have been perfecting a luscious meat-sauce recipe. The rich tomato gravy studded with tender, savory meat arrives at tables over platters of noodles—spaghetti, lasagna, and ziti, to be specific. In addition to pasta, the chefs marinate pork chops in their own seasoning blend and bread eggplant before smothering it with parmesan cheese. In addition to the dining room, meals are also served amid fresh air on the patio. There, servers continue to roll out dishes such as rib-eye steaks stamped with the USDA’s seal of approval—the outline of a cow waving a white flag.
Gabriella's serves up a menu of customizable pizzas alongside classic Italian pastas, sandwiches, and homemade desserts. A starter of crispy calamari ($6.95) primes taste buds for entrees such as chicken marsala served with pasta and italian bread ($8.95). An 18-inch pizza arrives fresh from the oven with an array of toppings ($10.50), such as pepperoni, banana peppers, and spinach ($1.50 each), while a personal pizza ($5.25), like a studio apartment, offers the freedom to arrange toppings ($0.75 each) however you'd like within 10 inches of personal space. Diners can twist fettuccine alfredo around forks with a choice of chicken or shrimp ($8.95–$9.95) before ending meals on a sweet note with a homemade cannoli ($2.75).
Cooks at Michelangelo's Pizza sprinkle fresh garlic, italian sausage, and green peppers to form custom orders and the specialty pies that make up their daily pizza buffet. Guests can transform their round pie into a square meal with fresh garden salads or sizzling chicken wings coated in teriyaki, barbecue, or buffalo sauces. The imposing lunch and dinner buffets houses pre-sliced pizzas, hearty pastas, and salads to complement sauce-drenched feasting. Dessert options range from peanut-butter, chocolate-chip, and cherry-pie pizzas to cannolis.
At Bella Donna Italian Restaurant, duos rest amid Tuscan-themed décor and munch on house-made pastas and sauces or gourmet custom pizzas, crafted from seasonally-available local ingredients. Tongues lift their anchors and embark on culinary voyages with starters such as the dozen deep-fried chicken wings, slathered in a mix of house-made hot, medium, or mild wing sauce and served with blue cheese or ranch dressing. Then, diners settle in for entrees such as the muffalatta, in which parmesan-sprinkled pizza dough bears italian olive salad, ham, and salami. The Tuscan chicken, sautéed with parmesan cheese and lemon sauce, arrives to tables lounging on a bed of pasta under a chic coverlet of baby spinach. Meanwhile, spaghetti tossed in slow-cooked tomato sauce pairs with two hefty meatballs, showcasing an Italian staple that will completely jam a staple gun. Dinners draw to a close with a Nutella and ricotta calzone or other confection from the mouthwatering dessert menu. Gluten-free options are also available, including carrot cake and pasta.
Mamma Mia’s chefs rely on time-tested family recipes, not mass-produced ingredients, as they forge a host of familiar Italian staples, flooding the dining room with the aromas of tangy marinara sauce and sautéed chicken. Instead of taking culinary shortcuts, they seek out high-quality ingredients such as fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella and make their own manicotti pasta and meatballs in-house. They also offer gluten-free pasta. Thin-crust, New York–style pizzas—praised by ApexSpecials as the best in town—can arrive at tables with as many as 20 different toppings, including jalapeños, bacon, and imported Antarctic pineapples.