At nighttime, you can see Milano Italian Dining's dining room glowing through its glass walls long before you smell its steaks, sauteed shrimp, and grilled salmon. The restaurant has as much elegance in its architecture as it in its food, sporting a design from the award-winning Aumiller Youngquist firm that looks out on Crown Center's iconic 25-foot spouts of fine white wine. Entrees run the gamut of Italian classics, from brick-oven margarita pizza to shrimp scampi to cornmeal-dusted calamari with pepperoncini, cherry peppers, and spicy marinara.
Beneath a chandelier made from wineglasses, mixologists concoct drinks with techniques that come close to alchemy. Specialty cocktails include a red-wine martini that marries pinot noir with Chambord and vodka, and edible cocktails?dubbed "drops"?are solidified through a secret molecular process akin to the one that turns cotton into cotton candy. Though spirits abound, beer drinkers aren't forgotten; the bistro imports nearly 100 types of bottled beer from all over the world, with an emphasis on microbrews. Small plates also draw visitors, especially in groups, as the chef's flatbreads and platters of dried fruits, meats, and artisan cheeses are ideal for sharing. Those who prefer individually portioned meals can enjoy entrees such as caramelized sea scallops with a cauliflower pur?e.
Open late seven days a week—until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until midnight the rest of the week—Z Strike Bowling plies its patrons with bowling, comfortable couches, and a full sit-down restaurant. Bowlers can scatter pins on lanes reserved in advance, a practice that prevents long waits and frustrated customers rolling balls at piles of street shoes. Between games, visitors can nosh at the onsite eatery, with an upscale menu filled with offerings such as chicken and waffles, fish tacos, quesadillas, and a full bar featuring new craft beers.
Ingredient restaurant offers a smorgasbord of gourmet and customizable culinary bites in a quick-serve atmosphere, catering to dietary restrictions whenever possible. Local ingredients claim squatter's rights on the menu, sprucing up dishes such as the custom salads ($8.95), with more than 75 options to arrange into fully functioning veggie ecosystems.
Santora's pie masters craft 17 gourmet and signature pizzas entirely from scratch, tossing each crust by hand, slathering it with house-made sauce, and festooning the savory circle with fresh-cut vegetables and locally sourced meats. The margarita pizza begins with a zesty pesto base before piling on fresh slices of tomato, garlic, and basil, whereas Lil Anthony's 8 Cheese pie showcases a gooey synthesis of romano, parmesan, feta, alfredo, mozzarella, cheddar, smoked provolone, and the shop's signature herb blend. Juliana's Taco pie disguises all the components of a taco—salsa, refried beans, fresh ground beef, and sour cream—into a form that is easier to share, but harder to hide under a derby hat. Alternatively, uncover the cornucopia of veggies, pepperoni, hamburger, italian sausage, meatballs, and canadian bacon cleverly concealed beneath the Mamma Mia pizza's extra heap of golden cheese.
For more than 31 years, the family-owned Anthony's Restaurant & Lounge has welcomed pasta-seeking diners with its hospitable vibe, its vibrant European décor, and its flavorful Italian fare. Anthony's menu features a multitude of pasta, seafood, and carne specialties, from the creamy fettuccini alla carbonara ($14.95) to the pesce ala vito ($16.50), a broiled fish filet topped with mushrooms. Those craving an appetizer can start with Anthony's signature deep-fried artichoke hearts ($14.95), topped with seafood garlic-butter sauce, or nosh lightly breaded shrimp ($12.95). With Italian-inspired murals on the walls next to Roman-style busts, you can spend a romantic evening with your date heatedly debating the cutest Roman emperor.