Gennaro?s Ristorante has managed to stay open for nearly 30 years not only because of its menu of Italian pastas and grilled meats, but also because of its dedication to Italian-style hospitality. When guests first enter the eatery, they head to the sitting room?a cozy area with marble flooring where they can sit beside a roaring fire and sip Italian wines and creative cocktails from the bar.
They then head into the dining room for a night of devouring meticulously prepared entrees, such as pork medallions with a green-peppercorn-and-cognac sauce, or tagliolini pasta with squid, shrimp, and mussels. The inclusive restaurant caters to all types, offering a vegan menu and gluten-free options. While patrons eat, performers soothe the ears with classical piano or guitar music or gentle earlobe rubs.
The specialty pizzas at Pizza Pie Eatery break the mold. While diners will find familiar staples such as the Hawaiian pizza or BBQ chicken pizza, they might be surprised by some of the other options. The Greek pizza floods the palate with Mediterranean flavors, culled from feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, and the Mexican pizza draws together mozzarella and cheddar along with jalapenos and meatballs. Diners also choose from fresh-made sandwiches as well as traditional pasta dishes and gluten-free fare.
The black-and-white décor at Prizzi’s pops with red accents, from the modern heat lamps hanging by the kitchen to the cherry-red aprons of the friendly wait staff. White tablecloths bear dishes such as lunch paninis and oven-baked pizzas in thin crust or deep dish. Forks twirl steaming noodles alongside steak and seafood immersed in savory wine sauces. After sipping a brew and noshing fried starters at the smooth wooden bar, patrons can tackle gelato scoops on the outdoor patio to achieve the chilled relaxation that usually accompanies a nap on a living-room sofa carved out of ice.
The cultural mélange that characterizes Spice on Hollywood's menu draws inspiration from across the globe, incorporating familiar American, Mexican, and Italian recipes. Regardless of the dish's origin, the chefs demonstrate a commitment to homestyle flavors by making tomato sauces and pico de gallo salsa in-house. Pizzas can arrive decked with any of 14 available toppings—including barbecued chicken, feta cheese, and basil—and savory mushrooms accompany servings of flame-grilled rib-eye steak. These varied cuisines also influence the eatery's menu of breakfast staples, which features huevos rancheros and black beans alongside belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.
The intimately sized dining area creates a cozy, café-like ambiance. Chalkboards with daily specials line a wall behind the front counter, pendant lamps gently illuminate dark wooden tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows flood the room with natural light for diners who prefer to cook their own meals photosynthetically.
Hand-stretched dough. Sauce made in store from hand-crushed tomatoes. Locally sourced meats cooked and flavored in house. Natural produce sliced by hand. These components form the foundation of Lucifers Pizza’s pies, which LA Weekly lauded as “devilishly unique.” In addition to cooking up classics such as the margherita and the hawaiian, New Zealanders Adam and Milan Borch bake gourmet pizzas with nontraditional ingredients including roasted pumpkin, lamb, and Thai-style satay chicken. To accommodate dietary restrictions, their pies can also include gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese.
Adam and Milan craft each pizza on a spice rating from zero to blazing, which intrepid diners can combat by drinking the pizzeria’s own mineral-spring water, throwing back Mexican Cokes, or gargling foam from the nearest fire extinguisher. Lucifers Pizza’s tiny storefront evokes that spiciness with orange flames painted on its façade, and its dark and intimate interior echoes the restaurant’s darkly comical concept.