For 30 years, Pizzeria Diamici has tossed its piping-hot pies and sauced its flavorful Italian fare from the same spot on Hackensack Street. The mouthwatering menu ushers its pleasing pizzas into being the moment they’re ordered, saving them from the complexion-mottling scourge of heat lamps. Gourmet and specialty pies—such as the sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, basil, and mozzarella pie or the spicy, meat-strewn four-alarm ($13.95–$15.95)—arrive loaded with ingredients fresh enough to garner a four-scold rating from the U.S. Department of Schoolmarms. The pizzeria also stuffs its calzones to the seams with savory cheeses, rendering them hefty enough to ensure that any food fight ends in mutually assured destruction.
For more than two decades, the mom-and-pop operation at Bella Pizza has fed passersby with handmade Italian pies, sub sandwiches, fresh salads, and saucy pastas. The smells of fresh stuffed and Sicilian-style pizzas waft through the cozy space, which evokes the homey, casual ambience of a neighborhood eatery. And Italian cheeses run a thread through the extensive menu of hearty Italian-American fare, from casseroles of baked chicken parmigiana to lunches of meatball heroes and golden-brown calzones.
Slinger's Sports Restaurant's head chef, Nick Tokarski, presides over an eclectic menu of casual and upscale fare, filling mouths in a convivial atmosphere illumined by 11 high-definition TVs. For appetizers, dining companions divvy up a dozen steamed littleneck clams simmered with roasted garlic, bacon, and white wine, or prime palates with the zesty Sichuan sauce coating Ray’s spicy shrimp. Built upon a homemade flatbread foundation, the Chef’s pie pizza pairs melty cheeses with tomato sauce, wild mushrooms, red onions, and fresh basil, fostering an ideal avenue for flaunting your outfit’s built-in bib. Dre's burger stacks 8 ounces of Black Angus with guacamole and chipotle mayo and tames tongues with a flavor lasso made of jalapeños and jack and cheddar cheeses. At the Mac Bar, noshers craft macaroni masterpieces from three cheesy styles and a cornucopia of varied toppings, from hard-boiled eggs to meatballs to blackened shrimp.
For more than 25 years, the aroma of traditional Italian food and tapas wafted through the kitchen and dining rooms of chef Dominick Anfuso's Al Di La. These days, however, that kitchen is the dominion of chef Peter Ingrasselino. Drawing upon nearly a quarter century of experience, chef Peter Ingrasselino, who was previously general manager and executive chef of Masina Trattoria Italiana in Weehawken, maintains the former chef's legacy while adding his own twists to the Italian-centered menu. He fills the kitchen with activity, tossing porcini and wild mushrooms with pappardelle noodles, brushing aged steak with a balsamic glaze, and wrapping sea scallops in pancetta.
Meals unfold in a dining room, where high ceilings and exposed brick evoke the ambiance of a café in Venice. Visitors sip drinks, their chatter punctuating music from live bands.
The River Café Trattoria serves wood-burning brick-oven pizza and fresh Italian favorites in a family-friendly atmosphere. Start dinner with a taste of Tuscany antipasti, a culinary welcoming committee of fresh mozzarella, sopressata, artichokes, roasted peppers, fried eggplant, and Sicilian olives ($12). Inside the fiery brick oven, quattro stagionia pizzas bake and bubble around a mouth-watering compilation of prosciutto, artichokes, mushrooms, and black olives ($15.95 for a 14” pie). A classic margherita hits the fresh-basil spot ($12.95 for a 14” pizza), though fork-holding green thumbs may find their herb fix with the gnocchi al pesto ($13). Glasses of fresh juices ($3.50) or canned colas ($1.30) can be poured directly into gullets or mixed together with bring-your-own beverages. A pizza alla Nutella topped with bananas, strawberries, and powdered sugar ($10) finishes the meal if traditional Italian deserts such as tiramisu ($4) don’t get there first.
Gianna’s offers a menu full of upscale, old-world Italian fare, reviving tired taste buds with subtle sauces and precisely prepared pastas. Each dinner entree serves two people, but single orders are also available. Split the vodka-sauce-laced penne with a dinner date ($25.95), or share an order of lasagna with your invisible nemesis ($26.95). Rigatoni with broccoli rabe and sausage fills bureaucratic meat quotas ($29.95), and eggplant parmigiana pleases pairs of plantivores ($23.95). A wine list is also available, so you can pair your meal with a bottle of 2008 Danzante pinot grigio ($25) instead of the FDA-recommended 12-pack of Capri Sun.