Before helming the kitchen at Luka's Italian Cuisine, Chef Luka lived and cooked all over Europe and America, from his native Montenegro to New York City. Though he focuses primarily on the food of Italy and his homeland, Luka incorporates techniques he learned in the many eateries where he spent his formative years. The chef broils freshly delivered scallops and serves them alongside his signature veal Luka, and he eases pasta cravings with fettuccine, gnocchi, and tortellini. Luka's is BYOB, so patrons can complement their meals with the contents of any bottle, be it wine, beer, or a tiny ship.
For more than 40 years, the LaMorte family has regaled diners with mouthwatering Italian meals that spotlight richly sauced pastas, juicy steaks, and ocean-fresh seafood. The fully handicap-accessible space charms visitors with its art-peppered walls, coral accents, and varnished wood. The sun-drenched patio showcases a dark wood bar and a wood-fired brick pizza oven. The restaurant's catering services banquets of up to 500 guests or two narwhals with family-style Italian fare and hot or cold buffets.
The seasoned chefs at Dinallo’s Restaurant craft authentic, classic Italian dishes from fresh ingredients. Gastronomical expeditions can begin with a pit stop at the full bar before sampling the spiedini alla romana, a cheesy bread served with butter and anchovy sauce ($9). The menu runs the gamut from traditional, hearty eats, such as the scaloppine di vitello al marsala ($24), to lighter fare, such as the insalata di rucola, with Gaeta olives, goat cheese, and roasted peppers ($9). The linguine con salsiccie gives guests the chance to enjoy a satisfying serpentine mix of Italian sausage and tomato sauce while pilfering bites from fellow diners' plates with a noodle lasso ($16). Classic white tablecloths, polished wood paneling, and wood floors set the scene for pescatorialists to appreciate their salmone alla griglia ($21).
Since its founding in 1948, the family-owned Luigi’s Restaurant has created a wide selection of Italian favorites. From house-made gnocchi in a light tomato cream sauce and imported romano cheese to prosciutto- and mozzarella-stuffed pork chops, the menu caters to the entire family’s tastes—also presenting kids’ options. Beyond the family-friendly dining room—whose padded booths look extra comfy juxtaposed with chest-high stone walls—the eatery has a bar. Here, libation-makers pour out wines and offer up a condensed food menu, which does not mean the mozzarella sticks are only 4 millimeters long. They also shake up specialty martinis, such as the flirt-tini—a fruity beverage born of the flirtations between an orange-flavored vodka and pineapple juice.
Inside the Garden State Plaza mall lies a gateway to the past, where flickering flames illuminate the charred interior of an oak-burning pizza oven, and the aroma of bubbling sauce made with freshly crushed tomatoes mixes with wisps of Frank Sinatra's silky voice. The charm that surrounds the rituals of Italian cooking drifts into Papa Razzi's dining room from an open-air kitchen, where cooks bustle around steaming pots of pasta. The culinarians use only fresh and imported ingredients when cooking, just as Old-World chefs did before they took jobs fixing the cleaver-wielding robots that would replace them.
Behind a wood-accented, 15-foot bar, mixologists sling a list of libations that includes mimosas, sangria, and wines selected to complement meals. In the dining room, fresh flowers sit atop white tablecloths, and celebrity photographs line the walls, reminding guests of treasured nuggets of pop culture.