Ecco’s Pizza provides hordes of beach-roaming mozzarella apostles with a menu full of fresh ingredients, inventive recipes, and wedge-shaped slices of edible Italia. Pies come in four sizes and brave Ionian Sea currents with choices such as Ecco’s greek pizza ($10.25 for 10”/ $18.89 for 16”) with sun-dried tomatoes, imported olives, and feta cheese. Populate your mouth’s hull with The Ark, a pizza weighed down by sausage, ground beef, pepperoni, canadian bacon, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, black olives, and every other animal Noah trapped on his seaplane. Dinners include spaghetti marinara ($7.95) and the herbivore-friendly eggplant parmigiana ($9.50), as well as deli sandwiches and fresh salads.
Though Michael’s on Naples serves authentic Italian dishes, the team doesn’t rely on imported ingredients. Instead, they makes their own pastas, sausage, and mozzarella each day, and pick herbs and seasonal veggies from the rooftop garden. This home-grown approach is a no-brainer considering the owner's background: before entering the restaurant business, Michael Dene used to bottle his own sauces to give as gifts to his New York neighbors. Inside the kitchen, chef David Coleman brings the menu to life using local and organic components whenever possible. As such, many dishes change with the season, but offerings typically include delicacies such as whole-grilled Mediterranean sea bass with artichokes, and oxtail-stuffed pasta with brown butter and breadcrumbs. Conversely, the wine list focuses primarily on Italian varietals. Should the 16-page collection prove dizzying, undecided patrons can find a perfect wine by completing a brief magazine quiz or by asking General Manager––and wine expert––Massimo Aronne for a recommendation.
They say that practice makes perfect. Open since 1973, Gallo's Italian deli has had 40 years to perfect its Italian sub sandwiches. Each one starts with Gallo's fluffy bread, which is then topped with cheeses such as cheddar, swiss, jack, or provolone, and meats such as mortadella, capacolla, and pastrami. Customers can compile these deli cuts into custom sandwiches, or opt for one one of the house specialties like the Italian meatball sub, which is topped with Gallo's signature tomato sauce.
When Sagi Rochman was drawing up the plans for his new restaurant, he knew he wanted it to be cool. So he named it Sababa, which is Hebrew for "cool"—a designation the chic lounge has easily lived up to. The space brims with plush curtains, modern art, and sleek couches, where groups sit as they sip on craft beers or one of Sababa's award-winning specialty martinis. The spa martini is particularly refreshing, a blend of cucumbers and freshly muddled strawberries that cools patrons as they sit on the outdoor patio under the rays of the Earth's only remaining sun. "The" Margarita is also popular with guests, an unorthodox mixture of tequila, Grand Marnier, freshly pureed passion fruit, and pineapple juice, which one regular swears is the best margarita outside of Mexico.
The cocktail list gets some stiff competition from the food menu. To build up the gustatory roster, Rochman enlisted the talents of celebrity chef Eric Greenspan, a contestant on Food Network programs such as The Next Iron Chef. Inspired by Rochman's heritage, Greenspan constructed a fusion of Mediterranean and Israeli flavors, resulting in dishes such as goat-cheese pizzas and seared ahi tuna with harissa mashed potatoes. There are plenty of small plates as well, including grilled eggplant with tahini and chicken kabobs with an olive-date sauce. As if the inspired tapas and lauded cocktails weren't enough, the lounge regales diners with a slew of events held throughout the week, including wine flights on Tuesdays and dance parties with live DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.
Somewhere, it's always five o'clock—and that somewhere is Five O'Clock Wine Bar. Even brunch is buoyed by copious amounts of wine, in the form of bottomless mimosas. In the evenings, as Naples Island shimmers in the distance over merlot-filled Alamitos Bay, groups toast with fine California wines around fire pits on an outdoor patio overflowing with greenery. The food is designed for pairing and sharing, with options such as cheese plates, gourmet flatbreads, and chocolate fondue. Live musicians provide the soundtrack several nights per week.
At Malarkey's Grill & One Hell of an Irish Bar, live entertainment is a constant, but the species of the performers is not. Musical acts take the stage on Friday and Saturday evenings, filling the dining room with bluesy twangs or rock 'n' roll riffs. However, just as often, pelicans make plummeting dives into the waves beyond the restaurant windows, and dolphins frolic in the neighboring surf. Their theatrics typically lead into shoreline sunsets—a more romantic conclusion to meals than playing "That's Amore" for your date on the rims of your wineglasses.
Even when it isn't hosting such dynamic displays, the sea remains an integral part of Malarkey's menu of upscale comfort food. Housemade crab and halibut cakes are a popular fixture throughout the entire day, from their breakfast perch atop eggs benedict to their spot on appetizer plates during lunch and dinner. Guests craving a more landlocked experience can eat alongside a dining-room display of shelved bicycles and motorbikes, partaking of macadamia-crusted chicken or pulled pork that has been slow-cooked in banana leaves for seven hours. Aside from the weekend's bands, the calendar boasts trivia nights and football screenings.