You’ll never hear a cell phone ring at La Grotta Ristorante Italiano—the menu politely requests that guests silence their phones while savoring meals. This ringtone ban is one of many ways the restaurant strives to capture old-guard glamour. Other elegant touches include complimentary valet parking, a formal dress code that welcomes diamond-encrusted overalls, and a patio that overlooks a lush garden.
The sense of grandeur extends to La Grotta Ristorante Italiano’s menu of northern Italian cuisine, which has earned repeated DiRōNA and AAA Four Diamond accolades. Chef Antonio Abizanda stuffs roasted quail and succulent chicken with italian cured meats and cheeses, and tosses pastas with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs that are often organic and culled from local growers. To enhance dishes, co-owner Sergio Favalli, a native Italian who used to make vino with his father as a young boy, curates a list of more than 350 wines including Brunello di Montalcino, amarone, chianti, and other Italian varietals.
The slice savants at Vincenzo's Pizzeria and Pastas hand-toss New York–style dough to bedeck with more than 20 fresh toppings including italian sausage, feta cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. When they're not sculpting hearty pastas and hoagies, chefs also sling jumbo slices to satisfy individual cravings or patch holes in coats made of pizza. Catering options fend off hungry hordes with comfort fare such as buffalo wings, baked ziti, and herb-crusted roast beef.
Even though her restaurant is in the heart of Bulldog country, Melissa Powers, the owner of Bama Girlz Cafe, douses her Alabama-themed restaurant in shades of crimson and stamps an Alabama A on each piece of sandwich bread. In the kitchen, cooks prepare a menu of concession-style food, including Nathan's beef hot dogs, nachos, and polish sausages, as well as healthier options such as grilled-chicken salads and soups. Powers flips to the most popular NCAA games on her high-definition flat-screen TVs—with the caveat that Alabama games trump them all. The restaurant's crimson-and-white walls are bedecked with Alabama stickers and a quote from former coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, and fans may also opt to gather for game-watching parties stocked with complimentary popcorn and prize drawings during halftime.
With roots that trace back decades to its first location on the Syracuse University campus, it's not surprising that Johnny's Pizza chooses to continue perfecting their New York-style pies here in Georgia. The chefs' hand-tossed dough can be topped with the fresh ingredients of your choosing or made into one of 16 specialty pizzas, including the steak and cheese with onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Pizza dough also doubles as the shell for calzones and stromboli, while 10.5-inch personal pizzas come in a gluten-free version. Oven-baked subs are layered with meatballs or Italian sausage and pasta dinners feature home-cooked classics such as lasagna and chicken parmigiana, but without the smoke-filled kitchen that comes with so many home-cooked meals.
For 15 years, Baby Tommy's Taste of New York has been serving up authentic New York-style pies topped with everything from traditional pepperoni, to artichokes, feta, or breaded chicken. Atlanta magazine recommends the lasagna pizza, which piles the chewy thin crust with meatballs, ricotta cheese, and meat sauce, while those with a taste for travel may want to explore the cheesesteak pizza, which pairs steak and caramelized onions atop a creamy white sauce.
Of course, Baby Tommy's New York-style eats don't stop with just pizza. The menu also includes a medley of sandwiches named for the state, including the New Yorker, a combination of corned beef, pastrami, and Swiss cheese, or the Manhattan, a salty stack of ham, Genoa salami, and Provolone.
During live filmings in Metroplex Theater of Fine Arts' enormous dining room, the actors of Saturday Nite Live in Atlanta put a local spin on sketch comedy. The show invites guests to sit back and snack on a four-course Italian meal and, if they choose, jump on stage to join in on the comedic antics. The two-hour tapings intersperse comedic performances with the delivery of meal courses, filling plates with chicken encrusted with roma tomatoes and mozzarella, spaghetti and meatballs, or vegetarian and gluten-free entrees. Additionally, a souvenir DVD—replete with a backstage feature revealing the secrets behind the curtain's tightly sealed lips—lends clients a permanent record of the production.