The most difficult decision to be made at Giovannis Pizza is where to begin the meal. The buffet table includes not only pizza and pasta, but also a baked-potato bar, garlic bread, and a 30-item salad bar with housemade ranch and blue- cheese dressings. At any point in the meal, sweet cravings can find satisfaction in bowls of ice cream or squares of brownies. Diners who like to taunt hungry birds can take their plates to tables outside.
Jerry's Restaurant opened in 1961, and since then it's served family-style meals, which incorporate some of the 15+ vegetables the kitchen uses. The team cooks breakfast, lunch, dinner, and whatever meal humans think up next. Their food ranges from cheesy spaghetti and lemon-pepper chicken entrees to potato skin and onion ring entrees. Jerry's serves the popular J-Boy sandwich—a double-decker cheeseburger with a special sauce—and even a hot fudge cake.
Growing up in Guinea, Mamadou Savané—"Sav" to his family and friends—loved watching his sisters prepare family meals. He learned to cook himself, and, after marrying a Peace Corps volunteer, packed up his recipes and moved to Lexington. The change of scenery continued to fuel Sav's culinary passion, inspiring him to open Sav's Grill & West African Cuisine. Here, he combines Southern specialties with the traditional food of his youth to create a unique dining experience.
Visitors to Sav's find a wealth of global flavors at their finger- and fork-tips. Simmering stews arrive loaded with savory chunks of local goat meat, eggplant, and potatoes, and plantain-based fufu rounds out plates. Besides West African classics, Sav whips up a few staples of Southern American cooking, such as pork ribs with sides of cheesy grits. A locally roasted blend of Ethiopian, Mexican, and Brazilian coffees can complement feasts, which unfold in a casual space adorned with paintings of African landscapes.
In Happy Falafel’s kitchen, cooks roast eggplant for baba ghanouj or dunk falafel bound for pitas into sizzling oil. Shawarma platters clatter onto tables alongside hot lentil soup, which warms the body without the risk of attending a surprise party for a dragon.
In the middle of July, alfresco diners at Le Deauville might dive headlong into a Bastille Day celebration, watching as servers light red, white, and blue cupcake towers with sparklers or mediate street-side matches of pétanque. Though they bathe their sidewalk bistro in patriotic colors on state holidays, the staffers also immerse visitors in French culture year-round. Chefs populate seasonal menus with traditional French dishes such as steamed mussels in tomato and herbs, roasted rack of lamb with bordelaise mint sauce, and sea scallops with wild-mushroom risotto. They sometimes augment these dishes with globe-hopping guests including Caribbean lobster and Spanish mackerel, introducing new flavors to French preparations without having to pass sushi off as really, really strange-looking ratatouille.
In warm weather, servers ferry these dishes to sidewalk tables draped in white tablecloths next to the restaurant's French-door-covered façade, which is illuminated each night by strings of colored light bulbs. Gray tiled floors inlaid with intricate designs spread out inside, running between dark-wood-paneled and exposed-brick walls. Here, patrons gather at café tables or sidle up to an old wooden bar, where servers pour from a full stock of beer, wine, and spirits.
Casanova Italian Restaurant's owner Leo Capezzuto is one of eleven siblings, so it's no surprise that he has made Casanova a family affair. Leo is the proprietor, and the restaurant features cheeses made by hand by his brother and ingredients sourced from his sister's store, Sapori D'Italia. All of these factors culminate in a menu of authentic Southern-Italian cuisine that showcases more than fifteen different types of pasta, such as the scialiatielli con gamberi—artisan handmade egg pasta tossed with shrimp that chefs sauté with garlic, olive oil, and fresh cherry tomatoes. To prepare the filetto al pepe verde, they simmer a dry-aged Angus filet mignon in butter, and then top the delicacy with green peppercorns and cream brandy sauce. The menu also sources seafood from renowned fish regions, culling cuts of Atlantic salmon, Pacific swordfish, and Pacific cod. Like a DJ's closet, the wine list features more than 35 labels, collecting red, whites, and sparkling wines under the same roof.