Flare's band of culinary savants bring together Italian flavors on a menu of home cooked pastas, fresh seafood, and toasty pizzas baked in a brick oven. Appetizers invite dining duos and quartets to share homemade lasagna rolls stuffed with ground beef, cheese, and house sauce, which limbos with grace under the mouth's laser security beam. For pizza, chefs paint a doughy canvas in a tableau of specialty toppings such as danish ham, capicola, italian sausage, and shredded mozzarella that melts via the flames of a brick oven. Eaters navigate their forks through lobster-filled ravioli drenched in a brandy cream sauce and tossed with tiger shrimp. Finally, hands intertwine to split up a dessert pizza weighed down in a choice of four sugary toppings, such as Reese's peanut butter cup or sliced strawberries drizzled in chocolate. Groups of four pair their Italian eats with a bottle of red or white wine, including a Citra pinot grigio collected during Italy's seasonal wine deluges.
To create their authentic Italian flavors, the cooks at LaCucina Restaurant don't import ingredients from Italy. Rather, they rely on locally sourced fixings, such as the little-neck clams they toss with handmade linguini and a choice of red or white clam sauce. Plenty of other dishes showcase seafood, too, including capellini topped with 1.25 pounds of lobster, only 103.75 pounds shy of qualifying for the high-school wrestling team.
The eatery's other old-world specialties center on different proteins, from veal coated in white-wine demi glace to chicken breast stuffed with lobster meat and dried cranberries. Served amidst touches of exposed brick and paintings of the old country, feasts can be complemented by reds and whites from LaCucina's extensive wine bar.
Bella’s chef Gio Calapi, a second-generation restaurant owner, mixes Old World wisdom with contemporary creativity to furnish a menu of authentic Italian eats. Diners can peruse first-course favorites such as the wild-mushroom-and-parmesan risotto ($8) before carrying on with a classic caprese salad ($9).
At Pizzeria DaVinci, the signature house pizza—aptly named the Da Vinci—is a vegetarian one, piled with spinach, sun-dried tomato, and feta. However, there's plenty of meat options on the pizzeria's menu, too. There are 16 thin-crust pizzas to choose from, each baked on a hot stone and topped with delicacies from baked potato fixings to clams and bacon.
Owner Randy Price curates a creative menu of New Haven–style "apizza" in more than 30 styles. His team crafts fresh dough daily using unbleached flour, creates sauce from handpicked Italian and Chilean tomatoes, and sprinkles pies with cheese from home-schooled cows. The famous Challenger—a 22-inch pizza stuffed with a mélange of vegetables and meats that weigh in at nearly 10 pounds—presents the hungriest visitors with a challenge to conquer the hot wheel in an hour or less, a feat that has earned a place on the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food roster of surmounted food battles.