Bella Pizzeria's dexterous dough sculptors cobble together a menu of pizzas and authentic Italian dishes using fine ingredients shipped in from Brooklyn and Italy. Diners can wrestle with their own personal pizza ($6.50) or call upon their local cross-stitch club to take on larger sizes ($8.50–$39.50). Choose from specialty topping combinations such as Meat Lovers or barbecue, or craft your own garnish medleys to demonstrate culinary creativity. Patrons who complement entrees with an order of garlic bread ($3.50–$5.50) can use any leftover garlic bread to pull off the tough feat of making friends on crowded elevators or in a football huddle. The eggplant parmesan of a hero sandwich ($6.50–$18.50) shushes stomach mutters, while a lasagna dinner ($9.50) graces tables briefly before inexplicably transforming into a marinara-stained plate.
The kitchen at Taverna Red turns out Mediterranean-inspired and American dishes to delight every appetite within its warm and expansive enclave. An array of small plates succinctly satisfy, doing double duty as shareable appetizers or solo suppers. The mini pork shank ($7.50) dons a sweet glaze, and steamed Prince Edward Island mussels luxuriate in a tomato, garlic, and white-wine broth ($8.50) to emulate their natural oceanic environment. For heartier hunger, the menu musters up a hefty roster of grilled meats, sautéed seafood, and fresh pastas. Pan-seared triggerfish hides beneath a beurre-blanc sauce ($16) as it silently aims its side dishes at loudmouthed wine glasses. Homemade fussili pasta, on the other hand, peppers a pink cream sauce with fresh salmon, baby spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes ($15). An array of specialty cocktails ($6–$7) buttress tantalizing tastes, and diners can also sample selections from the abundant wine list in 3-ounce portions ($3–$4) or complement cuisine with a full glass ($5.50–$8).
Italian landscape murals adorn the walls at Riccardo’s, where chefs craft authentic Italian dishes and Italian-inspired cuisine. Their signature gnocchi à la Riccardo tosses gnocchi pasta with shrimp and chicken sautéed with pancetta and sun-dried tomatoes in a garlic chardonnay sauce. Italian flavors also extend to housemade pizza pies that come with a choice of more than 15 toppings, as well as classic philly cheesesteaks. Riccardo’s also specializes in diner-style breakfasts that feature items such as an Italian omelet with fresh mozzarella, tomato, ham, and a dash of tomato sauce.
Mike’s Italian To Go bakes, fries, and hand tosses a menu of Italian classics including pasta, calzones, hot and cold heroes, and New York–style pizza. Open Italian excursions with an order of fried calamari ($7.95) or gooey mozzarella sticks ($5.50). A spaghetti dinner ($7.95+) floods reminiscent bellies with Rockwellian nostalgia, topped with your choice of five savory concoctions including marinara, meat sauce, and alfredo. The house special pizza is one of several specialty options, raising special to the power of two with piles of ham, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers ($14.25 for a 14" pie). Inside Mike's ovens, sizzling noodles absorb saucy, cheesy surroundings in baked ziti ($9.95), stuffed shells ($9.95), and lasagna ($10.95). A variety of herbivore-friendly options include eggplant parmigiani ($10.95) and spinach manicotti ($9.95). Kids can pick on items their own size, such as a ham and provolone hero ($5.50), offering youngsters a better role model than the jerk chicken so pervasive on television these days. Spaghetti also appears in a tastier alternative to its 'O' form in a kid-sized quantity topped with meatballs ($5.50). Punctuate Italian feasts with an open-ended tiramisu ($3.95) dash or a cheesecake wedge ($2.95) exclamation.
Cushioned booths line Pronto Pizza's lengthy, maroon-painted interior, and intricate, gilded molds crown its ceiling, making it resemble an upscale urban culinary destination more than a garden-variety pizza joint. Chefs send rounds of pizza dough into a mammoth oven to bake specialties such as Maria's Pie—layered with eggplant, ricotta, and mozzarella—or baked ziti pizza. The kitchen team also covers plates with chicken marsala, or pasta jambalaya. Live entertainment keeps the venue’s energy level cranked up, and coffee prevents that energy level from going back down.
PizzaVito’s founder, Vito DiBartolo, has been baking no-nonsense New York–style pies for more than 40 years. From his first pizzeria in Queens to his expansive chain in the South, Vito’s been slipping a slice of family zest inside every made-to-order creation. Slices come in one size (giant) and range in composition from simple cheese to more complex and meatier varieties. The Bronx Bomber ($14.95/large) sends mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, and bacon flying onto a soft spread of the Vito family’s century-old red-sauce recipe. Other classic New York–style eats include melty and crispy calzones ($5.75) and spicy buffalo wings ($7.95 for 10).