Hailing from the Italian island of Sardinia, Fabrizio Loi graduated with honors from Italy's national culinary college. He's put that experience to good use as the owner and head chef at Ristorante Paradiso. There, Fabrizio orchestrates a menu of classic Italian dishes. But instead of strictly adhering to traditional recipes or reading the instructions embedded into every lasagna noodle, Fabrizio puts his own spin on things. Diners reap the benefits of Fabrizio's culinary creativity when they sit down for gourmet pizzas at lunch, or dinner dishes such as cannelloni gratinati—pasta crepes stuffed with ground veal, chicken, and mozzarella and enhanced with a tomato and besciamelle sauce.
The handmade, fresh pizzas and specialty pies at Bella Kitchen are constructed in the classic New York style, which feature foldy-thin crusts, humorously neurotic toppings, and a gruff exterior that hides the heart of a lonely romantic. Signature dough disc selections such as the chicken garlic (with green pepper, tomato, green olive and onion, $9.95—$19.95) or the herbivore-happifying roasted veggie pie (with artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant, $9.95–$19.95) are sure to please pizza-craving poets. The indecisive, meanwhile, can get pretty much everything atop a super special ($10.95–$19.95). To keep a hand open for impromptu swashbuckling, opt for portable pocket pizza with the spinach and feta calzone ($8.95). Bella Kitchen also sells pastas, subs, and salads.
Bella Vita offers a menu of authentic Italian entrees, traditional weekend brunch, and an expansive, international wine list set amid an inviting interior spotted with low-hanging lights and sleek marble accents. Once the green-napkin flag has been waved, diners are free to tear around the entree track, crashing into Arista alla Milanese, featuring braised pork shoulder stewed in white wine and sage, topped with a sausage-and-bacon sauce, and served snuggled with potatoes ($18). Smoked stacks of salmon fettuccini alfredo will impress even the most critical mermaid dates ($19), as will antipasti dishes such as the olive-oiled caprese ($10) and the gamberi rossi, featuring sautéed prawns with shallots and fresh tomatoes in a white-wine sauce ($12).
Galactic murals and metallic rails grace a comfortably modern chomping environment that's home to pizzas made with fresh spices, vine-ripened tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and premium toppings. Flying Saucer Pizza's menu features a bevy of pie options along with a host of salads and pastas. Pizza connoisseurs can begin with a blank-canvas cheese pie as the backdrop for a palette of toppings like blue cheese, Canadian bacon, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, red cabbage, pepperoncinis, and more ($4.75 for an 8-inch before toppings). When inspiration runs dry, a list of specialty pizzas can be called upon. The Cosmic Clucker blends barbecue sauce, roasted chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and cilantro ($8.40 and up), and veggie pizzas feature the likes of the Dr. Zaius pie with spicy peanut sauce, pineapple, carrots, sprouts, red cabbage, chopped nuts, basil, and sesame seeds ($7.35 and up).
There was once a pair of friends who shared the same name. These friends—the Gregs—also shared the belief that even casual food should be fresh. So they put their heads together to found Zaw Artisan Pizza, where seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients top carefully crafted take-and-bake pies. Diners can watch over the counter as pizza artistes decorate white, whole wheat, or gluten-free crusts with toppings such as free-range chicken breast, hearty spinach, and fresh artisan cheeses. Each pie leaves the shop unfrozen—as evidenced by the lack of freezers in all six stores—to be baked to a golden crisp inside the customer's oven or backyard iron forge. To further their commitment to quality, the Gregs strive to source local ingredients from neighborhood farmers' markets whenever possible, and craft each batch of dough with Bob's Red Mill flours.
Pallino serves up a menu of fresh, made-to-order Italian specialties in a casual setting inspired by family gatherings and leisurely bocce games. Antipasti such as roasted garlic and cheese flatbread ($5.95) prep palates for main dishes and help patrons evade amorous vampire kisses. Featuring braised beef and pork with Chianti-spiked tomato sauce and a whisper of cream, mama's meat sauce with rigatoni ($8.95) banishes any doubt about how mama used to get her little noodles to sleep through the night. Pizzas round out the menu with combinations including prosciutto and roasted fig ($6.95/$12.49) and Italian sausage and mushroom ($6.95/$12.49), and paninis ($4.75 for a half; $6.95 for a whole) come with a choice of warm chips or carrot sticks, which are less warm, but make up for it with their svelte figures and pretty faces. Decadent gelato is maneuvered into an array of desserts—it's squeezed between two cookies in gelato sliders ($5.95), topped with espresso and whipped cream in an affogato ($3.50), and bobbing in a soda float, flavored with a choice of syrup ($4.95). Most importantly, the friendly staff and quick service will allow you to make the most of a hearty dinner enjoyed in the clean dining room or as a speedy carryout order.