Although they both hail from the Mediterranean, pizza and falafel don't often appear on the same menu. Diners at Rome's Pizza, however, might be prompted to wonder why—it turns out it's quite possible for one kitchen to carry both dishes off nicely. In a 2004 review, the Current's Alejandro Pérez praised the pesto pizza's "light, crispy crust and full-bodied flavor" and the falafel sandwich's "hot, crisp patties."
This juxtaposition isn't the only surprise on the extensive menu. Sure, you can get red sauce and pepperoni atop your pie, but Rome's specializes in white pizzas slicked with olive oil, herbs, and smoked garlic. Strombolis and calzones fold in on themselves to make for a hearty meal or a high-powered alternative to a water balloon, and sandwiches and pasta display the same love of big portions and off-the-beaten-path ingredients. On the Mediterranean side of the menu, there are also staples such as dolmas, hummus, and gyros.
Babe's Old Fashioned Hamburgers delivers a sprawling lineup of delectable burgers and classic American eats. Fries are hand-cut, fried, and seasoned before accompanying juicy burgers piled with mushrooms, swiss cheese, or guacamole. Never-frozen chicken tenders arrive fresh and crispy alongside onion rings, fried mushrooms, or house salads with housemade dressings. Other options include pizzas topped with hamburger or veggies, milk shakes, and buffalo wings.
Since 1932, El Restaurante Azteca has cemented its culinary status as a Tex-Mex mainstay over three generations of family ownership. The original downtown chili con carne ($3.50), made following a recipe from the 1930s, whisks taste buds back to a simpler time before chili could be easily downloaded to home computers.
In 1853, two founders of the colony that would come to be known as Castroville built a classic Sunday Haus near the center of the new settlement. A century and a half later, that structure stands as one of the oldest in the city, and the restaurant that now calls it home doesn't take that fact lightly. The Old Alsatian Steakhouse and Ristorante retains its historic air, seating diners in one of two main dining rooms lined with old-world art and antiques, while displaying many of the building's original structural elements. Here, they serve a menu that nods to tradition, anchored by a hearty lineup of hand-cut steaks and European dishes. The selection ranges from 6-oz. cuts of sirloin and 7-oz. filet mignon to 16-oz. rib eyes, which can be eaten onsite or brought home. Cooks round out meals with plates of alsatian sausage and bratwurst, served with mustard and pickles, as well as fried calamari, jumbo shrimp, schnitzels, and more.
With the historic nature of the grounds, it's not surprising that a recent archaeological dig revealed a bounty of artifacts dating back to the Civil War. Ginger beer bottles, leather holsters, saber belt-buckles—these and a trove of other 150-year-old finds line the shelves of the restaurant's former smokehouse, which now acts as the onsite museum. Both everyday diners and attendees of special events—the space also features a grape arbor, a patio, a spacious lawn, a beer garden, and a full event center—can peruse these unique finds to learn the history of not only the restaurant itself, but a great deal of Castroville as well.
Khalid Said, the Moroccan-born chef behind Azro Moroccan & Mediterranean Bistro, draws from more than a decade of culinary experience to craft traditional Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes. Tagine, shawarma, and lightly fried kibbeh couscous balls stuffed with minced onions and ground beef highlight the authentic menu. Yet Said also incorporates international cooking techniques for fusion dishes such as the shrimp-and-flounder crepe, an off-menu item that comes drizzled with a light cream sauce. Patrons can pair meals with wine or sweeten their palates with baklava cheesecake. On Friday and Saturday evenings, belly dancers add flair to the dining experience. Customers can bring their own alcoholic beverage to enjoy, or they can select from the variety of wines available at Azro Moroccan & Mediterranean Bistro.
For more than 30 years, Quiznos has toasted its submarine sandwiches to bring out the hidden flavors found in butcher-quality meats, cheese, and artisan breads. Its classic and signature subs take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles ranging from the prime rib mushroom and swiss to the classic italian donning black olives, mozzarella, red-wine vinaigrette, and plentiful sliced meats. Those closely monitoring their waistlines can take unabashed bites of sandwiches that have fewer than 500 calories, such as the pork-cuban, Baja-chicken, and veggie-caprese subs. Quiznos' Sub Sliders offer slimmer versions of sub fare and flaunt supreme aerodynamics when shot out of T-shirt cannons and into mouths. A selection of Flatbreads, soups, and salads round out Quiznos' varied menu.