Tony Altomare’s Italian eatery crafts Neapolitan-style pizzas with freshly made dough and homemade sauces, gaining accolades such as the title of best pizza from the Philly Hot List in 2010. Diners can peruse the menu and sink teeth into one of the pre-designed pies, such as the mozzarella-, basil-, and tomato-sauce-adorned margherita pizza ($13.99 for a large), or the romano pizza splattered with pepperoni, sausage, philly steak, and bacon ($15.99 for a large). The grilled eggplant and verdant fillings of the veggie delight wrap ($6.59) offer a tastier alternative to nibbling on various houseplants; a buffalo chicken stromboli ($7.59–$15.59) or one of the homemade hoagies ($6.29–$6.59) reenergize patrons who have spent long hours writing a book in binary code. Tony’s menu varies with each location, so check each restaurant’s website for a complete listing of its belly-tickling fare selection.
Original Bake at Home Pizza, which started off as Mom’s Bake at Home Pizza, has been tossing its bake-at-home pies for customers in Devon for more than 20 years. Today, the chefs construct ready-to-bake creations in both Devon and Philadelphia. They slather fresh dough in white or red sauce or a specialty variety such as mexican, pesto, or wing sauce. Then they blanket the pie with the same combination of ingredients ski resorts use to create fake snow: mozzarella, white cheddar, and pecorino-romano cheese. Finally, they add toppings such as marinated roasted peppers, eggplant, grilled chicken, and turkey pepperoni, either custom-picked for the order or assembled in one of their specialty combinations.
Customers can order salads and ready-to-bake hot wings and gluten-free pasta to accompany their pizzas. Once they get home, they pop the pizzas into the oven for about 10 minutes. The pies emerge bubbling and ready to eat, making for an easy and fresh at-home meal.
Frank Sinatra tunes spill out to the sidewalk beneath the red awning of Emma's Cafe and Restaurant as servers inside carry veal parmigiana, warm bread, and sweet sea scallops to tables. Under the restaurant's BYOB policy, patrons may bring libations from home to accompany entrees.
Springfield Pasta Company traces its roots back as far as 100 years to the sunny hills of Abruzzi, Italy, where Domenico Napoletano learned the art of grain-trading and pasta-making from his parents. The Napoletano family carried their noodle-crafting tradition with them across the Atlantic—first to Buenos Aires in the 1950s, and finally to Springfield, Pennsylvania, in 1965, where Domenico and his sons, Mario, Corrado, and Claudio, set up shop on Saxer Avenue. Dedicated workers oversee the production of every fresh, frozen, and dried noodle and savory sauce, ensuring that customers load their dinner tables with Italian feasts made by a real, local human—not a distant corporate entity or a cyborg clone of Chef Boyardee.
Perusing Ristorante La Buca’s menu beforehand doesn’t necessarily give diners the full idea of what to expect. To showcase the day's fresh catches, servers roll a seafood cart through the dining room, giving diners the chance to pick whatever strikes them in the moment. And diners can rest easy knowing that whatever they choose from the seafood cart will be in capable hands. “Chef-owner Giuseppe Giuliani is a minimalist with seafood,” says Philadelphia magazine, “only lemon and olive oil on the whole fish, perhaps adding a bonus of lump crabmeat to a pan-crisped fillet.” Fish, lobsters, and scallops may receive the most attention in the dining room, but the menu also includes a number of familiar Italian dishes from terra firma, such as veal marsala and Tuscan-style chicken breast. Within Ristorante La Buca’s intimately lit dining area , a mural dominates one entire corner of the room. The ocean-side scene mimics the look of a Renaissance-era fresco, depicting small groups of revelers hefting goblets and jugs mid-conversation. This bright and dynamic scene lends a lively spirit to the rest of the dining room’s rustic assortment of brick archways, dark wooden trim, and cellar-like wine racks.
Girasole Ristorante fuses Philadelphia's harvest with Italian inspiration. That inspiration comes firsthand from the chefs: the kitchen is filled with Italian women, and one of them, "culinary maestra" Rosalba Moricci, even travels to Italy every year in search of new recipes and techniques to bring back to the restaurant.
That's not the only thing that keeps the menu feeling as fresh as the filet-mignon carpaccio. Moricci also tweaks her dishes depending on what the local farms produce season by season. Visiting the Atlantic City location in 2011, Atlantic City Weekly found seafood specials that were "as good as it gets" and desserts showing "restraint coupled with creativity," much like a bejeweled pair of handcuffs.
Along with fresh, raw beef and seafood, the menu relies on a few other perennial elements. Pastas, including a gnocchi tossed with stracchino cheese and plum tomatoes, are all made in-house. So is the bread, designed to soak up stray sauces and juices from plates such as a grilled Tasmanian salmon or hot, sweet italian sausage with veggies.