The kitchen staff at Sweet Basil Restaurant combines Italian classics and East Coast culinary traditions to create the offerings on its extensive menus. In addition to everyday lunches and dinners, the owners host weddings and banquets and team up with Saratoga Comedy Club to bring their diners live shows every Saturday night. Between laughs, diners indulge in lightly breaded chicken parmigiana, broiled Atlantic salmon in a white-wine sauce, and slow-roasted prime rib.
Giavano’s sates sauce-craving tongues and cheesy appetites with a classic menu of gourmet Italian fare in a casual setting. Meaty pizzas, including the swiss and bacon ($7.95–$22.95), can be shared with a clan of finger-food fanatics or cardboard cutouts of giant mutant turtles, and the veggie pizza ($8.95–$26.95) satisfies the garden yearnings of hungry herbivores. Those who prefer their fare enclosed can opt for a calzone ($5.95) or an appetizer of stringy mozzarella sticks ($4.45–$5.95). Sink teeth into the dangerously delicious pepperoni sub ($4.95–$6.95), which longs to be launched into the depths of stomach oceans, or sit down for a classy feast with an array of Italian dinners, including the chicken and broccoli alfredo ($8.95). Giavano's also satisfies picky progeny and the young at stomach with an accomodating kids' menu.
When restaurant-industry veterans Tim and Colleen Holmes bought The Wheat Fields in 2004, they felt that there was ample room to grow the business—in more ways than one. The husband-and-wife team knew that some aspects should remain unchanged: they still wanted their chefs to handcraft the nearly 20 daily shapes and flavors of pasta that Saratoga Springs residents had come to love, including gnocchi and tagliatelle. But they also knew that the venue and menu were expansion-ready diamonds in the rough. The duo invested more than $1 million to double the space, diversify the offerings, create a huge mahogany bar and lounge area, and attract high-caliber food and wine experts.
The Holmes' vision and hard work paid off. Today, Wheatfields Restaurant and Bar is thriving, serving local, farm-to-table produce, house-aged steaks, and, of course, fresh pasta. The site's ongoing success has prompted the Holmes to open a second location in Clifton Park—Wheatfields Bistro and Wine Bar—and the accolades keep coming. OpenTable diners gave the Saratoga Springs location Hot Spot and Vibrant Bar Scene awards and voted the Clifton Park location a winner in the Italian and Good for Groups categories. Also, both sites have earned Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator thanks to an impressive international wine list and the flocks of rare wine bottles that roost outside. These flavorful sips pair with an extensive assortment of gluten-free pizzas and pastas, and a helpful food-allergen chart assists diners in avoiding such common irritants as shellfish and peanuts.
The globetrotting menu at Pasta Factory takes tired taste buds on a worldwide tour of noodle nourishment. Start your journey south of the border with spinach con queso, a warm tortilla-chip jacuzzi of red peppers, onions, and spinach, mixed into melted pepper jack cheese ($4.99), or take the traditional route down the Mediterranean with a gondola full of fresh buffalo mozzarella tossed with olive oil, basil, roasted peppers, and roma tomatoes ($3.99). Tongues can keep wagging in Italy with main dishes such as tortellini alla vodka, which mingles cheese-shaped noodles with prosciutto, diced tomatoes, red onions, and a tangy sauce ($8.69). Diners also can visit a Greek salad, which mixes rotini pasta with Greek dressing, salad fixings, feta, and pepperoncini ($6.29), before returning to the United States for a classic beef stroganoff, featuring sautéed mushrooms, sirloin, and sour cream ($8.19). The restaurant also offers a variety of non-pasta items and a kids' menu, which caters to potentially picky eaters with standbys such as chicken tenders, mac 'n' cheese, and simple buttery noodles ($3.39).
Behind the counter at Mick's Pizzeria, handmade dough regularly pirouettes through the air, flung by the fingers of a pizza chef carrying on the nearly century-old tradition of New York–style pizza making. They top the pies to order, combining flavors from a pantheon of 26 ingredients that range from bacon and shrimp to eggplant and peppers. Delving into the menu, diners also might encounter other pillars of Italian-American cuisine, including chicken parmesan and baked ziti. The cooks supplement their pies with baskets full of tasty chicken wings, slathered in one of six spices and ready to singe taste buds.
The newly renovated Randy Loren's Dolce Vita Ristorante infuses classic Italian dishes with a love of music that permeates the classic atmosphere. As diners enjoy plates of lightly breaded veal and parmesan-encrusted tilapia, on Fridays and Saturdays performers take to the dining room’s elevated stage to coax melodies from a white grand piano sitting under a disco ball and colorful lights. In addition, trimming decorated like piano keys accentuates the wooden bar, whose array of liquor and wine bottles would produce its own grand symphony if it were ever hit with a bunch of tiny pebbles.