A trio of Brooklyn-born brothers oversees Renna's pizza production, preserving its New York–style authenticity with a menu bursting at the seams with thin-crust pies, Old-World pastas, and other Italian eats. Couples can plunge forks into satisfying pasta entrees such as the breaded chicken parmigiana, a white-meat breast fried in olive oil, doused in marinara sauce, and propped up on stringy pedestal of spaghetti. Renna's baked lasagna pays homage to the ancient groundwork of Pompeii with its layered structure of pasta, ground beef, three cheeses, and aromatic spices. An entourage of salad and garlic bread accompanies each dinner entree, and diners may quaff domestic and imported brews or sip on soda or mango tea. Patient sweet teeth perk up to indulge in post-dinner treats from a selection of varying dessert options. As former Navy and Marines service members, Renna's owners offer 10% discounts for active and retired members of the U.S. military.
Six days a week you can find owner and chef Sam Hassan doing the same thing he’s done since 1976: crafting homemade italian pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches within Casa Dora’s homey kitchen. Sam’s lifelong dedication to edible hospitality shines through during lunch and dinner, filling the dining room’s wooden tables with cheese-stuffed calzones, hand-tossed pizzas, and well-sauced pastas that pair well with refreshing sips of wine or low-calorie gulps of air.
Taverna's menus sport a spread of decadent dishes that feature traditional Mediterranean flavors fashioned from an elegant combination of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and quality imported products. Initiate a successful lunch campaign with daily changing bruschetta ($8), then crunch into a wood-fired, Neapolitan-style soppressata pizza topped with fried egg, house-made mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes ($16). For dinner, let the sautéed calamari starter massage taste buds with Israeli couscous, tomatoes, capers, and nicoise olives ($10) before diving snout first into a plate of scallops, risotto, corn, and truffles ($24). Fuel your stomach's brunch-time (Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) desires with a prosciutto, gruyere, and rosemary scone ($2) or a helping of Greek-style sunny-side-up eggs with feta, tomato, and green beans ($10).
Owners Bruno and Jimmy fill Mamma Lucia’s kitchen with housemade Italian family recipes. At each of the eight locations, chefs mix and match myriad pastas and sauces such as penne in pink sauce or chicken pesto ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce. Chicken and veal can be dipped in egg and sautéed in a lemon-and-wine sauce or prepared in any of 15 other ways. In the dining room, servers happily deliver New York–style pizzas to tables or to passing taxicabs full of lost Brooklyn residents.
The chatter of knives dicing fresh parsley. The baritone murmur of hot oil. Italian fare at Rosina's Pizza comes together in an unexpected symphony that drifts out into the dining room. When pizzas finally reach tables, thick cloaks of toppings flaunt international influences from Greece, Mexico, and the Caribbean, saving diners from the disappointment of asking a paper shredder for their passports back. As glasses laden with beer, wine, and margaritas rise in toasts, the eatery’s caterers rush past with fare destined for parties and meetings.
Though Brucci's Pizza owner Bruce Jackson was born in Syracuse, New York, his grandparents hail from Italy, and he grew up feasting on Italian recipes that had been passed down through generations. At his restaurant, the chefs follow the same timeworn recipes as his grandparents when dishing up Italian favorites with a New York–style flair. They whip up lasagna layered with meatballs and italian sausage, grill paninis, and hand-toss housemade dough for pizzas, strombolis, and calzones. Their specialty pies include the Brooklyn—topped with diced tomatoes and fresh basil—and the Syracuse Stuffer—laden with sausage, beef, pepperoni, and ham, as well as green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
But Brucci's Pizza is more than just an eatery—it's also a gathering place. In addition to weekly specials, the three locations host regular events. The Ponte Vedra and Fruit Cove locations host a Monday kids' night, and the West Beaches location facilitates live music twice a week, played by bands that are not made up of animatronic rodents. The chefs also issue a standing challenge: if any guest can devour a double-thick, 16-inch Fuhgeddaboudit pizza—smothered in seven toppings and gobs of extra cheese—within an hour, it's on the house.