These purveyors of premium Italian eats buy local ingredients and prepare all dishes from scratch daily, from the sauce to the dough. Baked in a brick oven, the Who-Dat pizza ($12.95 for 14") comes loaded with apple-smoked bacon, meatballs, pepperoni, black olives, and a quizzical expression. Blossoming pie artisans can draw from a rich palette of toppings ($1 each for 14") such as anchovies, sundried tomatoes, and Italian sausage to paint personal masterpieces on plain-pizza canvases ($10.99 for 14"). Meanwhile, the crab-cake linguini ($14.95) is served with your choice of red or white sauce, allowing easy color coordination with wedding dresses and Mountie uniforms. Ensconced in the restaurant’s relaxing, rustic interior, wash down your meal with a cold domestic brew ($2.50), refreshing import or microbrew ($3.50¬–$4), or choice of house wine ($6 per glass, $20 for a bottle).
At the tender age of 7, Andrea Apuzzo began honing his culinary skills at a bakery in his Italian hometown. "I was spoiled as a kid. We made our own olive oil and wine,” he says in a Gambit article. His breadth of knowledge expanded greatly when, at 14 years old, he embarked on a culinary adventure across Europe and South America. Now at the helm of his own restaurant, Chef Andrea applies the knowledge he learned amid the cream-hued rising loaves and on the chattering South American streets.
The dishes that fill tables at the eatery have been enjoyed by the likes of Queen Elizabeth, President Carter, Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, and one dog that figured out how to use a credit card. To share his abilities and experiments, the chef also publishes cookbooks, which detail formulas for the award-winning pastas, fresh seafood, and steaks. Chef Andrea's bistecca pizzaiola earned a place on Esquire's 2008 list of the 20 Best Steaks in America. "Like the best Italian dishes," the article says, "its simple parts add up to an unexpectedly powerful whole."
Affable waiters emerge from Caffe Fresca's kitchen toting bowls of piping hot soup du jour, homemade desserts, and gourmet entrees. Ten specialty sandwiches tempt guests with fillings such as grilled portobello mushrooms, Genoa salami, and smoked turkey. Fresh seafood platters, steaks and chops, and pasta entrees round out the menu and pair palatably with homemade desserts. A recently remodeled dining area with three-toned tiled flooring, wood tables, and chandeliers encourages diners to linger and sip a libation from the bar or discuss the latest in drinking straw innovations.
Reginelli’s Pizzeria merges a menu of traditional Italian fare with casual, modern décor to forge an Old World dining experience for contemporary feasters. Hand-tossed by a crust master upon request, the Classic Combo pizza bursts forth from kitchens crowned with a panoply of pepperoni and italian sausage, a scepter of fresh veggies, and a gooey cloak of mozzarella ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Smokin’ Chicken pie honors its piquant namesake by pairing a spicy smoked-tomato sauce with marinated chicken breast, pancetta, and a snapshot of George Clooney in a chicken suit ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Uptowner sandwich’s melty mélange of smoked turkey breast, provolone, and hot-pepper relish ($8.25) proudly represents Reginelli’s focaccia-based capital alongside The Downtowner’s posse of Italian meats, mozzarella, and kalamata-olive pesto ($8.25). Diners can deploy forks into the lush forestry of a refreshing Chicken Salad ($9.75) or navigate the tortellini trees sprouting across the Shrimp Forrest’s loch of spicy red-pepper-cream sauce ($12.50).
That's Amoré Pizzeria calls itself the "Home of the Great Debate," in reference to perhaps the most pressing question in all of pizza: Which city has the superior pie style, Chicago or New York? Luckily, diners at That's Amoré don't have to choose between the two. Thin, crispy New York–style pies are decorated with classic toppings, such as sausage, pepperoni, and peppers. Hearty deep-dish pies are also available, littered with a variety of vegetables or specialty accoutrement such as sun-dried tomatoes and meatballs. The menu is also home to a variety of Italian entrees, sandwiches, and appetizers for sharing.
"Owner Madison Curry's warm, smiling presence is underscored by baked goods that all but dare not to be ordered." This quote from a NOLA.com article hints at Il Posto's charm. But it only encapsulates a fraction of what makes the cafe so interesting. Italian cuisine forms the backbone of the menu, which features paninis such as the Bologna with mortadella, roasted red peppers, and balsamic dressing, as well as fontina grilled cheeses with inventive add-ins such as tuna, honey, and walnuts. Antipasti spreads can be built from a choice of meats or cheeses. In the mornings, on the other hand, the restaurant brews and serves its own house-blend coffee. Their java complements bagels, organic granola, and a rotating selection of pastries that can't stay long, as they have to get back to starring in peoples' dreams.