The lively culinary team at Florentine’s Grill cossets palates with its robust menu of flavorful Italian American favorites in a gorgeous dining room swathed in European décor. Delve into Florentine's selection of lunchtime specials for the crisp cobb salad with diced white turkey, bacon, egg, and more greens than Richie Rich's bank account ($9.99). Diners can anchor their incisors in an array of sandwiches, wraps, and half-pound burgers that include the bounteous bruschetta burger, hoisting mozzarella cheese and spicy mayo on focaccia bread ($10.99). For a sea of savory flavors, dive into the tilapia picatta drizzled with a lemon-butter caper sauce ($17.99), or quell a tumultuous tummy before it bellows like a wounded tuba by ordering the thick-cut prime rib, which is slathered in a creamy horseradish sauce and served only on Friday and Saturday nights, with hearty sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach ($22.99).
From founder Bill Larson’s first quaint pizza parlor, which he opened in 1959, Round Table has grown to more than 500 stores, which sprinkle across seven states like pepperonis across a sizzling pie. Self-proclaimed purveyors of “the last honest pizza,” Round Table cooks make dough from wheat grown on family farms in Idaho. That dough is rolled from scratch every day, in every restaurant, to pair with premium meats and fresh-cut veggie toppings.
Wood-paneled walls give the Fullerton location an old-school feel, which contrasts with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and robot chefs to replace the outdated steam-powered ones. The dining room’s ceiling fans whirl the steam from oven-baked pizzas in sizes from single-person smalls to 16-slice extra-larges that feed up to five. Besides create-your-own options, Round Table dishes up specialty pies named for medieval court characters such as King Arthur, Guinevere, and Frank, the little-known castle custodian.:m]]
Owner and CNN Hero, Bruno Serato, presents diners with variegated menus packed with Italian and seafood entrees prepared under the culinary eye of Executive Chef Eddie Meza. Bob for apples of dough with the gnocchi gorgonzola, with small potato and flour dumplings soaking up the flavor of tomato and gorgonzola sauce ($14.95 lunch; $19.95 dinner). The restaurant's signature dish, brasato piemontese, sports boneless beef short ribs braised in an italian barolo reduction for three hours and topped with a touch of horseradish and a dash of extravagance ($22.95 lunch; $30.50 dinner). Steamed salmon sweetens its style atop belgiun white chocolate mashed-potato purée ($23.95 lunch; $29.95 dinner), and the pesce bianco's sautéed whitefish inherits a spicy attitude by hanging around moroccan couscous and japanese peppers ($17.95 lunch only).
Chef Luigi and the kitchen magicians at Luigis D Italia import Italian flavors to tongues with a menu of pastas, pizzas, and authentic entrees. Culinary compadres can savor the meeting of meat and grapes in the chianti-braised short ribs ($17) or hoist their forks into orecchiette pasta with house-made italian sausage ($12). When held to anxious ears, stuffed shells fill auditory canals with sounds of the Mediterranean sea and trickles of sauce ($14). White clam pizzas ($14 for small; $17 for large) motivate guests to dive for edible pearls, and meatball sandwiches ($9) cradle succulent spheres in a bready embrace. Diners can accompany meals with a bottled brew or glass of CK Mondavi white zinfandel ($5.95), and desserts (all $5) such as cannoli, tiramisu, and ice-cream tartufos encourage patrons to tap into their second stomachs.
Brooklyn Pizza Works is a two-time recipient of Orange County Register's Best Pizza award, and its staff has adorned hand-shaped dough with fresh toppings since 1979. More than a dozen specialty pizzas sprawl across texture-imparting stainless-steel screens within a convection oven, which can cook up to 25 pizzas in six minutes, the same number of pies a hot laptop can cook in six years. Signature circles arrive loaded with toppings such as crushed garlic, canadian bacon, and marcella wine. The kitchen team concocts each slice with whole-milk mozzarella sprinkled atop house-made crust and sauce. In addition to pizza, 12 varieties of stuffed calzones and classic Italian entrees such as eggplant parm, lasagna, ravioli, and a plentitude of pastas satiate palates. Brooklyn Pizza Works can also supply picnics, graduation parties, and going-back-to-law-school celebrations with eats from the catering menu.