Pies baked in homemade sauce bake to a crisp, golden finish over hot embers inside ovens at Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza. 15 homemade Italian dinners, authentic pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches, and salads top tables inside both locations, which each sport exposed-brick walls and a bevy of flat-screen televisions.
The ambrosial aroma of Italian spices fills the air inside Pizza Time Caffé, which dishes up an extensive menu of pizza and traditional Italian favorites. The thin-and-crispy Grandma pizza with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce ($21.99) and the pizza caprese with fresh plum tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil ($15.99) are Italian-style pies that transport diners to the old country. Meanwhile, a 16-inch New York–style hand-tossed crust topped with mozzarella ($14.99), and additional toppings such as pepperoni or ricotta ($1.50 each), brings tears of joy to Empire State eyes faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play before saving twin babies from a burning building. Adventurous appetites can try a specialty pie such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and three cheeses ($26.95) to rebel against the traditional rules of pizza creation. For those seeking a less disk-based cheese-and-sauce infusion, Pizza Time Caffé offers an astounding variety of Italian classics such as lasagna ($12.99) and eggplant rollatini twisted up with ricotta cheese and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce and pasta ($14.99). A wide selection of subs suits hands-on diners in a hurry while cappuccinos ($4 each) and espressos ($2.50 each) keep their engines running.
The pizza experts at Steve’s Wood Fired Pizza knead fresh dough into thin disks, slather them with house-made sauce, and toss them into an Italian-imported wood-fired oven, where they acquire a smoky aroma and crackling crust. The flame-licked pizzas have earned a slew of accolades, not only for their dark and well-done crusts, but for their more than 55 toppings such as applewood-smoked bacon, grilled vegetables, marinated shrimp, and caramelized onions. Rather than fold their menus into paper sailboats, guests can showcase their creativity by personalizing their own pizzas down to its cheeses and blend of herbs. Once crafted, pizzas find their proper place inside an intimate dining room, where 13 tables dot a welcoming, homey interior.
The flames inside the stacked stone oven at Tucci's lightly char thin pizzas made with 20 types of toppings and five kinds of cheese, including ricotta and fresh mozzarella. Below modern lights that hang overhead like glowing popsicles, cheesy pizzas pair with sautéed spinach, broccoli rabe, and escarole with sausage and fire-roasted chicken. While sipping on glasses of wine, guests can ask servers about getting pizzas on multigrain bread, or retreat to the outdoor patio.
Casa L’Italien’s Olympian–quality dough throwers flatten their creations into New York–style disks and slather on a blend of sauce and cheese engineered to complement a multitude of entrees prepared in the style of the old country. Customers can begin their gastro journey with a small or large pizza ($11.99–$13.99) and create splattered masterpieces with a multifarious array of toppings, including pepperoni, baked eggplant, roasted red peppers, and buffalo chicken ($1.50–$2 each). A series of signature pizzas piled high with leaning towers of harmonized toppings features such circular savories as the meat-and-veggie-loaded House Special ($15.99–$19.99). Calzones and subs such as the Steak Bomb philly cheesesteak ($7.29–$9.29) set off explosions of cheese in happy stomachs, and traditional favorites such as the baked eggplant parmigiana ($14.99) and chicken marsala ($16.99) recall simpler times spent sunburning in the Sicilian summer. Like an uncanny reincarnation of the hit TV show Cheers, Casa L’Italien serves cuisine so enthralling that you might not notice the eerie laugh track in the background.
As a pleasantly unpretentious pizza and pasta paradise, Rotelli entices regulars who stop by for lunch and dinner to gather with friends, raise a few glasses, and indulge in fine Italian meals. The menu taps its homeland heel with light starters, such as bruschetta italiana ($6.99) and crispy calamari ($9.99). It sends a swooping high-kick well north of Sicily with chicken parmigiana, layered in ricotta and mozzarella, served with pasta ($15.99), and hand-tossed Napoletana pizza, dressed in pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and sausage ($10.99 for 10", $18.99 for 16").