With its fresh menu concept and daily house-made pastas and sauces, Mirko Pasta brings hearty fulfillment to stomachs haunted by a persistent sense of emptiness. Diners control their flavor fates via a choose-your-own-adventure menu that allows them to concoct customized pasta and sauce combinations. The ranks of ravioli come packed with tasty fillings, such as four Italian cheeses and the granny smith apples and sausage ($4.99), while the long pasta and short pasta scrumpitously set aside their superficial differences (both $3.99). With 11 sauces to choose from, including meaty bolognese, basil-pomodoro, and pesto, guests can douse their fusilli in whatever tomato batter strikes their fancy ($3.99). A full roster of wines and domestic and imported beers flood thirsty noodle-holes before desserts, including cannoli ($4.99), cap off the meal.
Parma Tavern's stolid stone exterior and luxurious, dark-wood bar house a cornucopia of epicurean edibles that draws inspiration from both Italian originals and singular American creations. Opening acts such as the spinach and artichoke fondue ($8) warm up taste-bud crowds for main events, which include the Maytag burger, backed by the solid-gold gruyere and onion dancers ($9.50), and the pomodoro-sporting, "O Solo Mio"-belting chicken parmesan, crusted in herb breadcrumbs and draped in a cape of mozzarella ($12). Brunch, served every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., boasts such border-blurring sandwiches as the S.P.O., whose two fried eggs, sweet sausage, roasted red peppers, and onions render stomachs contentedly confused about the time of day ($7).
Serving up authentic, organic fare, Lucci's Little Italy hosts a Mediterranean menu medley of fresh and fragrant pizza, pasta, and authentic Italian desserts. Revel in a rotund cup of fagioli soup ($2.95), or calm surly stomachs with a crostini-kissed prosciutto salad, with Italian ham, mozzarella, fresh tomato, and basil oil on a crunchy bed of romaine ($9.95). Unlike baked Alaska, baked pastas such as oven-baked lasagna ($8.95) and baked ziti ($8.95) do not require taste buds to hitchhike through Canada. Pizza disks arrive in 7- and 10-inch formats, loaded with meatballs ($6.95/$9.95), chicken-pesto displays ($8.95/$11.95), and chicken alfredo, spinach, and dried-cranberry combinations ($9.85/$12.95).
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn, $20.95) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro, $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a soy-cheese veggie pizza (with pesto, soy cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper, $9.95), while traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut, $8.95). Zpizza lets you wash it all down with a variety of organic wine and beer.
Pie slingers at Romeo’s New York Pizza twirl their ‘za from scratch, piling dough made in-house with red sauce and toppings such as garlic, ground beef, meatballs, and sundried tomatoes. The cozy neighborhood joint has purveyed New York–style pizza since 1945, when delivery boys first started using hovercrafts. Its unfussy menu includes hearty appetizers such as cheese bread or fried ravioli, alongside healthy salads in vegetarian or meaty iterations. Those who opt not to build their own pies can go in for one of three chef-crafted incarnations—margherita, spinach and mushroom, or vegetarian, sold by the slice or in 12-inch or 16-inch rounds.
Gordo's New York Style Pizza's menu simmers with casual Italian fare, including signature crispy-crusted pizzas culled from more than 60 years of family recipes. Each artfully fired sicilian pie crowns golden orbs of dough with savory mozzarella cheese, and the steak-chimichurri pizza dons grilled rib-eye steak and house-made chimichurri sauce. A dynamic duo of double crusts wrangle up to five toppings in each stuffed pizza, preventing riffraff ingredients such as anchovies, eggplant, feta cheese, and meatballs from disobeying their culinary curfews. Cucumbers, banana peppers, and black olives provide the greek salad with a solid foundation to cradle house vinaigrette or important legal documents, and stacks of caprese salad offer a light, summery bite of mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes. The bruschetta appetizer totes olive oil and fresh tomatoes atop house-made bread, whereas garlic knots twist fresh-baked rolls into doughy contortions.