When designing Toscana Greenwich, owner Paul W. Ardaji was meticulous in recreating the spirit of renaissance Florence. The walls are decked with vibrant paintings depicting the landmark era’s culture, and food is cooked in a wood-burning oven. Voted the Best Italian Restaurant of Greenwich 2012 by The Best of Fairfield County Living, the menu brims with Tuscan specialties and house originals alike, such as the house pizza topped with crème fraîche, smoked salmon, Italian caviar, and jalapeño. High-backed booths or elegantly appointed tables set the stage for dining on these delectables, and a vibrant ring of glowing red wine bottles-turned-light fixtures hang above the front of the restaurant to contrast the classic yellow light emanating from the dining area’s sconces and rustic saucer-like fixtures.
Chris Geideman’s resumé includes nearly every restaurant-industry job imaginable—cook, bartender, general manager, wine sales, bar manager, sous chef—and it’s a career that very easily could never have happened. He got into the industry accidentally, after agreeing to cover for a friend at his dishwashing post one night. A quarter-century later, Chris is the executive chef and owner of Crew, a comfort-food bistro with dishes that can be prepared as small plates or full entrees.
The dining room is simply adorned with white linens draped over tables and a mustard-colored booth that runs continuously around the room. But guests shouldn’t let that deceive them—as the New York Times noted, “the low-key atmosphere doesn’t telegraph how creative the menu is.” It’s fitting that a man with such flexible talents has created a menu that covers a lot of culinary ground. One dish might carry an international elegance—roast-chicken paillard with tomato-caper confit—and the next may have an American ease, such as the skillet burger with homemade kettle chips.
The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
Zen Bronze Healthy Tanning owner Donna Buscemi and her team darken epidermises using an organic, hypoallergenic tanning solution that's free of parabens, alcohol, and artificial fragrance. During consultations, the airbrush technicians customize this safe, sugar-based formula in accordance with the client's desired hue. Then, they manually apply the color in order to simulate a natural glow free of splotches.
Pastry traditionalists may question the cannoli nacho. But consider this: the triangular pastry shells can be dunked into an edible chocolate bowl of sweet-cream filling, forever circumventing the soggy fate that so often befalls cannoli shells. This deconstructed cannoli is just one of DiMare Pastry Shop’s many inventive spins on traditional Italian desserts.
Founded in 1976 by Italian-born Ugo DiMare, the pastry shop is now helmed by his two daughters, who have updated the menu with award-winning European and American creations. In addition to scratch-made pastries, the confectioners frost nearly 30 kinds of cakes, ideal for special events such as weddings, company picnics, and Take Your Cake to Work Day.
Little Thai Kitchen's chefs decorate porcelain canvasses with a menu of marinated Thai edibles presented in harlequin medleys beneath sprays of decorative bamboo. Stone and dark-cherry walls sprawl behind symphonies of silverware that clink gently like a robot with a rock in its shoe. Sticky sweet rice, veggies, and a variety of meats and seafood bask alongside spicy curries, including a green-chili concoction that the New York Times called "fierce and delicate at the same time." Frosted glass and brushed-steel lights spill warm light onto diners as they chat amid pastoral accents and artwork with Eastern influences.