Mozzarella. Meatballs. Salami. Pastas. Italian sausage. Trattoria Tiramisu's chefs' dedication to Italian home cooking is made apparent by the number of items that they continue to make the traditional way: in house and by hand. These homemade touches lend a bit of Old-World authenticity to the menu's selection of classic comfort foods, which includes everything from wild-mushroom ravioli and linguine with meaty bolognese to eggplant parmesan and polenta-encrusted tilapia.
This rustic Italian cuisine stands in contrast to the BYOB eatery's somewhat modern dining room. Simple chairs and a mocha-hued banquette flank the tables that fill the blond hardwood floors. Natural light streams through the large front windows and contributes to the glow of the pale-ocher walls, which are sparsely decorated with impressionistic oil paintings of wine bottles, as well as neon signs indicating the locations of the exits that cast a romantic glow if the tableside candles get blown out.
Built in 1929, the Lovett Barn's stalls no longer house rows of dairy cows. What remains of the old farm structure's interior forms booths and seating arrangements in the appropriately named La Stalla, the Italian eatery that now inhabits the space. Rather than wipe out all vestiges of the edifice's origins, the owners celebrate its rustic charm by decorating it with period paintings and artifacts from its previous incarnation, as well as by occasionally mooing at their visitors.
Of course, the chefs also serve delicious Italian food to boot, focusing on a family-style approach that's reminiscent of the culinary philosophy prevalent in the Tuscan countryside. They decorate dozens of kinds of pasta in light sauces, bread and pan-fry chicken and veal, and sauté giant shrimp with butter and garlic. They also serve special meals in their intimate wine room, including chef-chosen courses that, in good Italian tradition, pair perfectly with celebratory bottles of wine.
The chefs at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse are artists, and their media are beef, blades, and fire. Behind tabletop grills, the red-hatted specialists slice and sizzle meats at lightning pace, then fill the freshly-dropped jaws of their clientele with the resulting savory cuts of sirloin and filet mignon. The hibachis cook up lobster tails, chicken, and and shrimp as well. Not everything is flaming hot, however. Arirang also boasts an impressive sushi menu, with unique offerings such as the coconut shrimp roll with raspberry puree, and their bar pours out everything from imported Japanese beer to specialty cocktails.
While growing up in Naples, Italy, Ernesto Leone developed his love for authentic Italian style pizza. He eventually brought it to the United States, opening several restaurants. In 1980, Leone designed his Café Riviera as a cafeteria-style restaurant where his chefs prepare salads and Paninis in front of the customers. Behind the pizza counter, servers dish up slices of fresh pizza cooked by Leone himself. The restaurant’s walls are adorned with Italian home recipes and blue tiles, and the interior also features padded booths and bright suns dangling from the ceiling, kind of like Spider-Man in a good mood.
Whether crafting breaded bites of chicken parmesan, molding hearty gnocchi, or layering lasagna, Annabella Restaurant's chefs adhere to the tenants of homestyle Italian cooking. They fan layers of eggplant, prosciutto, and fresh buffalo mozzarella over veal scaloppine and dispatch it to a softly lit, mauve dining room. When not busy studying walls filled with vintage family photos and colorful depictions of Italy, patrons swig libations they brought from home and dive into plates of pasta with forks they bought from a wandering tinker.
With its black and white photos, stained-glass lamps, and rough-hewn ladderback chairs, Kelch House embodies an elegantly appointed historic room. In the daytime, sunlight streams through floor-to-ceiling windows that face the Delaware River, affording prime views of passing boats and the whales that gently nudge them along. Come evenings, candlelight illuminates the dining room and a live pianist takes the floor, transforming the eatery into a romantic enclave.