Though Bassanos Pizzeria doesn't open until noon, its chefs bustle about the kitchen in the early morning, preparing fresh batches of dough from scratch. As the day wears on, the team hand-tosses the dough into thin, New York–style canvases ready to hold layers of gourmet meats, fine cheeses, and, according to Ann Marie Quill of Johns Creek Patch, veggies plucked from the Atlanta Farmers Market and sauces made from Italian tomatoes. Pots bubble with specialty pastas, and ovens glow with plump calzones and stromboli.
At the bar, servers dole out glasses of draft beer and wine beneath glimmering television sets. Cushy booths and tabletops speckle the dining room, where framed photographs of New York ballplayers look to steal home from the bright-red walls. Outside, umbrellas shade a fenced-in patio rife with tables and chairs. The pizzeria’s warm staff prides itself on southern-style service, creating a fun, communal atmosphere by hosting biweekly live music, overseeing trivia games, and politely allowing customers to beat them at thumb wrestling.
It’s hardly a surprise that chef Tony Vitulli’s food embodies his Italian heritage, from housemade pasta sauces to rich and decadent slices of tiramisu. Yet, it’s the tapas that add complexity to his traditional Italian recipes. While living in Spain, Tony married a Spanish woman and fell in love with the country’s signature small plates. The couple then moved to Atlanta, where they opened up their trendy bi-cultural eatery. The kitchen, which Robert Nebel of the Examiner.com applauded for “[concentrating] on quality, rather than quantity,” represents Spain with a range of tapas, such as lamb kebabs and chorizo omelets, and churns out seven types of long and short pastas drenched in 13 sauces—each one made from scratch. Golden-yellow walls and exposed brick encircle a handful of tables set for two inside the cozy space. Diners can also head to the outdoor patio and enjoy a pitcher of homemade sangria alfresco, which is Italian for “while posing for a mural.”
Keso Mexican Grill rouses the palates of Johns Creek and its surrounding communities with sizzling Mexican dishes that pack bold flavors. Inside, a contemporary vibe seeps from the restaurant’s stone walls. Standing guard as the dining room’s centerpiece, a large stone Olmec head watches over meals with far more authority than the mustached scarecrow that also tried out for the job. As a group of friends crisscrosses forks over shared tapas at one table, a waiter delivers a still-steaming steak to another. Along the dark marble bar, glasses of wine, beer, and tequila clink beneath the flickering glow of flat-screen TVs, which are perched above rows of bottles behind the bar.
Inspired by owner Bruce Cohn's longing for the treasured deli fare of New York—where he had previously lived—Grouchy's beckons its visitors to "come taste the city" across a spacious menu of breakfast and lunch favorites. Groups can channel New York flavor through a catering menu of deli bagels, soups, and specialty sandwiches, such as the Grand Slam Breakfast Platter, designed for 10 or more early amassers, featuring various combinations of scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, and cheese on bagels or croissants.
Get a sweet treat imbued with substantially more love than air with today's side deal to Sogno Gelato. For $5, you get $10 worth of gelato, sundaes, coffee, bubble tea, and more at this charming destination for handmade Italian desserts in the Vickery Village.
Sinbad's Feast specializes in fresh, authentic Mediterranean cuisine, served as a bountiful buffet ($8.95 for lunch; $12.95–$14.95 for dinner) or off of an à la carte menu. Appease appetites with a starter of kashke badamjoon, a creamy dip made with eggplant, fried onion, mint, garlic, and whey ($6), or most-o esfenaj, a tangy yogurt spread with sautéed spinach ($4). Dinner entrees come with basmati rice and grilled tomatoes, and most morsels are prepared over an open flame to enhance flavor and set the mood for the kitchen staff's ghost stories. Platefuls include savory meygoo, an oxymoronic ode to jumbo shrimp, marinated with fresh garlic, herbs, and smoked paprika ($20), and barreh, a rack of lamb flavored with fresh mint, garlic, and lemon ($24). Vegetarians can make merry with meat-free meals, such as the veggie entree with grilled and marinated zucchini, eggplant, onion, and bell pepper ($13).