Chicago Style Italian Beef promises a menu that would make Mike Ditka's mustache dance the Super Bowl Shuffle. From deep-fried appetizers (starting at $1.99) to deep-dish pizza (starting at $10.99), there is no shortage of snackability. While the Italian beef ($6.99) is a classic, for only a dollar more you can toss an Italian sausage on top with a combo beef ($7.99). All sandwiches and burgers are served up with fries, and per Michael Jordan's request, all Chicago-style hot dogs ($2.99) must be consumed while in midair and without ketchup. Other delicacies from the City of Big Shoulders include the Maxwell Street Polish with fries ($4.99), Greektown-style gyros with fries ($5.99), and Chi-town's signature treat: New York strip steak ($11.99). If your tastes run more toward the city's ethnic neighborhoods, you'll also find a variety of burritos and tacos.
At Taste of Italy, the menu replicates the authentic flavors of Italian cuisine. Select from a variety of pastas and entrees, such as veal parmesan with marinara sauce and mozzarella; cannelloni stuffed with beef, cheese, and spinach; and chicken florentino with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and artichokes. To fully accommodate the perfect night out, Taste of Italy is BYOB.
Amerigo’s executive chef Stephen Ward maintains a healthy rapport with local farmers to source fresh ingredients, which fill the eatery with the aromas of garlic, basil, tomatoes, and polenta. The Nashville Scene has lauded his efforts to work with area agrarians, and Amerigo also received the 2009 Diner's Choice award from OpenTable. In the bustling kitchen, chefs pull pizzas from the rippling-hot waves of a brick oven, where pickled onions cook into molten feta from Tennessee-based Bonnie Blue farms. Gluten-free and wheat pastas as well as ravioli and tortellini stuffed with smoked chicken and crab swim in a range of house-made sauces, and the complex earthy scent of cedar wood mingles with the aromas of fresh fish. The wine list brims with local elixirs and wines from Italy, which clink together in glasses with the soft jangling of robots playing Twister.
Underneath each of Roma Pizza & Pasta’s warm pies rests a layer of housemade dough tossed fresh each day. This same savory dough surrounds calzones and stromboli, which brim with fresh meats and veggies just like Roma’s sandwiches and salads. Pastas round out the eatery’s menu of familiar Italian-American eats, uniting tongues with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and oregano, and piquant marinara sauce.
More than 25 years ago, chef GianCarlo Agnoletti founded a restaurant near Rimini, Italy, that took its inspiration directly from the nearby Adriatic Sea. Mussels, insalata di mare, and fresh-caught fish fueled GianCarlo's passion for northern Italian cuisine—until fate and circumstance carried him to Nashville, more than 4,500 miles from his native Italy, or roughly the length of the world's longest linguine noodle.
But on the arch-lined patio of his current culinary endeavor, Sole Mio, it's not hard to imagine oneself on a quaint Italian street. Aromas of handmade pasta and fresh sauces—all made to order—sweep over al fresco diners, while inside, waiters sidle up to white tablecloths to recommend bottles of wine or perhaps one of the restaurant's regularly changing entrees. Chefs design and cook these rotating dishes depending on the in-season ingredients, but they also whip up special fundraising dinners to support charitable causes such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
To recreate an authentic pizzeria as one would find in Naples, Chef Paolo imported all the right elements, beginning with the special domed brick oven. Here the pizzas are cooked on the masonry floor, alongside burning wood. Fueled by Tennessee oak, the oven's blaze approaches 900 degrees.