At Esposito's Coal Fire Pizza, an acclaimed chef makes chewy, crispy coal-fired pies by hand, crowning their creations with leaves of fresh basil, slices of mozzarella cheese, grilled eggplant, and prosciutto. Guests sink their teeth into slices of margherita or arugula-and-goat-cheese pizza—or pair glasses of wine or cocktails with pasta plates of veal marsala and chicken parmigiano. Those looking to expand their palates beyond pies may sample from a menu of filets, ribeye steaks, and Chilean sea bass.
The Jamaican-born family members who own and operate Big Taste Caribbean Restaurant have created a visual and culinary oasis reminiscent of their native island and its neighbors. Basking in the vivid rays of a wall-length mural of a smiling red-and-orange sun, chefs craft small batches of traditional oxtail with plantains along with their own recipes for signature jerk sauce and curried shrimp. The aromas of chicken grilled over an open flame and Fridays' yard-style fish fries invite passersby to experience the cooking of the tropics. As day sets into night, cues clink on the golden pool table and a ceiling fan lazily goads the air into circles simulating a Caribbean breeze or a coconut's whispered plea to be turned into a piña colada. Live DJs and dance performances occasionally sway the straws sticking out of a Jamaican Red Stripe lager to the beat of reggae, hip-hop, and dancehall music.
The chefs at Moran’s Italian Burger Bistro build each burger from the ground up by hand according to blueprints laid out by each customer. Diners decorate a range of patties, from fresh ground beef to portobello mushroom to alligator, with their choice of cheese and rich sauces, including bacon béarnaise and lemon-caper aioli. More convenient than keeping a dragon on retainer, Moran's brick oven crisps the dough on specialty pizzas, such as the margherita with fresh basil and mozzarella, and personalized pies made with a choice of crust, sauce, and toppings that include spicy salami, roasted fennel, and pork belly.
Two walls of windows fill the dining room with bright rays of natural light. The Tuscan ambience is highlighted by a stone-framed counter and distressed-wood tables reminiscent of an Old World tavern or the apartment Romulus and Remus shared before building Rome.
Housed in a two-story structure erected in 1926, Bizaare Ave Cafe pairs an eclectic menu of tapas and bistro meals with still more eclectic decor, earning the eatery Best Romantic Restaurant accolades from CityVoters in 2010. In the quirky downstairs dining area, coffee tables crowded with knickknacks host plates of tapas and glasses of wine. Diners in overstuffed armchairs tuck into dishes such as homemade pumpkin-stuffed ravioli or baked brie with raspberry sauce, a gift of rich, melty cheese that—like all good presents—is wrapped in puff pastry. Upstairs, things get more formal with a menu of bistro fare such as filet mignon, pork chops, and seared salmon. Aside from the fare, diners may purchase literally anything in the restaurant, including potted palms, decorative wall-mounted plates, and attractive fire extinguishers.
Ocean breezes playfully dart among yoga practitioners in an outdoor pavilion. Robed spa-goers meditate on the grass in a tranquil garden. Therapeutic hands gently knead away tension, gliding over backs with essential oils. Healing and relaxation are a form of high art at The Omphoy Babor Beauty Spa, and it's not hard to see why the spa won first place with a perfect score of 100 in Condé Nast Traveler's 2012 Readers' Poll of top resort spas in the country. Director Kimberly DeOrsey spins two decades of spa experience into creating a magical, personalized experience for each guest who walks in the door of the beachside space.
Though the spa puts its own luxurious spin on standards such as Swedish massages and mani-pedis, it also keeps things current with state-of-the-art treatments such as the HydraFacial system. This press-lauded treatment uses a water wand to help resurface and nourish skin, gently sweeping away dead cells while supercharging their replacements with hydrating serums and motivational half-time speeches. They also tackle tension and other ailments with a holistic approach that includes reiki and acupuncture.
Eat Fresh’s menu of nutritious breakfasts and smoothies, crisp salads, and satisfying wraps and sandwiches combine delicious taste and healthy ingredients into satisfying deli-fare packages. Guests munch on mouthwatering paninis, hummus, or turkey burgers within the tidy café’s goldenrod-hued walls or lounge on the sun-filled patio to take in the open air and graciously allow their salads to photosynthesize. Complimentary WiFi signals supplement coffee-sipping sessions or lunch breaks, and a rotating cast of three different soups each day sends up savory wafts such as butternut squash, lobster bisque, and roasted tomato. Eat Fresh exemplifies its commitment to healthy eating with calorie counts on many of its menu items, as well as crafting many dishes from wholesome ingredients such as multigrain bread, quinoa, fresh fruit, and low-fat yogurt.