Seated beside a crackling fireplace, diners at Bartolino's Italian Ristorante converse over candlelight and regional Italian dishes featuring handmade pastas, milk-fed veal, and fresh seafood. A diverse offering of appetizers includes sautéed mussels in marinara, fried calamari, and grilled, rolled eggplant filled with ricotta and topped with marinara and melted mozzarella. Patrons can sink forks into gnocchi bolognese with meat sauce, dig into broiled pork chops with vinegar peppers, or enjoy risotto with shrimp, clams, and mussels in a tomato cream sauce. White cloth-lined tables sit below a colorful mural depicting Rome before it was turned into an amusement park.
The crackling fireplace in Masso’s dining room—a carved wooden mantle that surrounds simple stonework—spreads warmth to guests just as the restaurant’s chefs do. They specialize in hearty Italian fare, piling plates with fettucini in prosciutto-flecked cream sauce, homemade gnocchi drizzled with butter-herb sauce, and steamed mussels served over beds of linguine. They also take the time to bake classic entrees such as four-cheese lasagna and chicken parmesan. After dinner, they deliver desserts or hot cocktails, often spiked with Bailey’s and stirred to the perfect consistency with a gondolier’s oar. Masso also welcomes guests for lunch and brunch.
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Each day, Sapori D'Ischia transforms from a specialty food shop selling cheeses, cured meats, and oils into a classic Italian dining room filled with intimate cloth-topped tables and twinkling candles. The tiella di polpetti alla griglia—charred baby octopus sleeping soundly in a candlelit terracotta crock ($14)—is an appetizer oft-ordered by regulars, and the asparagi al forno con canestro di pecorio—oven-roasted asparagus nestled in a pecorino romano basket with a toasted pine-nut blanket ($11)—is frequently asked to do Gumby impressions. Watch and learn as Sapori's servers arrive at your table to prepare the fettucini al'Antonio, a heaping portion of al dente pasta stirred inside a wheel of imported parmigiano reggiano cheese and sprinkled with prosciutto di parma and organic white-truffle essence ($24). Or simply dig into the kitchen-prepped costole di maile—wild fennel-encrusted pork chops flanked by black guanciale lentils and whipped potatoes ($23).
Bella Via is an acclaimed coal-fired pizza contender, supplementing its menu of thin-crust pies ($10.95–$13.95 for a small, $14.95–$18.95 for a large) with fresh Italian cuisine. On a foundation of classic margherita sauce, Bella Via builds innovative circular concoctions such as the quattro staggioni, a four-part symphony of artichoke, mushroom, ham, and biancaneve. For extra flavor, footnote your pie with topping addendums of eggplant, grilled chicken, truffle oil, goat cheese, and prosciutto. If you've been turned off to the taste of pizza by your failed attempts at a pizza smoothie, a non-radial entree of petto di pollo all'arlesiana ($17.95)—a free-range chicken breast topped with eggplant and fontina cheese—will quell your most querulous cravings. Otherwise, give dumplings a starch lift with the homemade spinach-ricotta gnocchi with fresh-diced tomatoes and olives ($14.95), or take on the capellini's ($15.95) savory powerhouse of shitake and shrimp as they engage in a delicious legal battle for custody of your fork.
Nestled beneath the same awning as its inaugural pie in 1967, Pizza Sam's fourth generation chefs deliver a classic menu of sicilian pies and traditional Italian cuisine. Appetizers include a dozen baked clams ($12) or meatballs ($5), which roll out saucy red carpets for dainty, thin-crusted pizzas. Personal pan pizzas simplify selections with options including cheese ($6) or white ($7.50), and toppings such as artichokes, pineapple, and veggie medleys sink into singed mozzarella quicksand atop thin specialty pies (up to $28). In addition to pizzas, eggplant parmigiana ($9.50) comes cloaked in flavorful breading and stuffed chicken breast ($15) packs as many goodies as a magical nanny's knapsack. Whispy tiramisu caps meals as it melts on watering taste buds.