In 1963, Salvatore Vatrano founded the first Antonio’s location with a menu of casual Italian eats. Though Vatrano left his native Calabria, Italy, for Massachusetts, he retained the sense of hospitality and pride in his food that characterize his home country. His original restaurant location has expanded to three storefronts, each of which slings cheesy or meat-laden pizzas and meaty grinder sandwiches on heat-pressed rolls. The seafood dishes at Antonio’s make the most of the coastal location, with dishes such as fish 'n' chips, shrimp, or flaming shark mousse. Vatrano and his family also accommodate health-conscious eaters with veggie wraps, chef salads, and breakfast omelets, which are pizzas that accidentally got made with eggs and folded in half.
As a child in Greece, Tony Rizos would watch his father set out in a tiny boat to catch fish for the family. The image clung to Tony throughout his youth and into his adulthood, eventually inspiring him to open a restaurant in its honor. The façade of Kaptain Jimmy’s bears the image of Tony’s father at age 20, reimagined in pirate gear. Inside the large eatery, tables populate with fruits of the sea, such as steamed lobster and pan-seared scallops, as well as harvests from land and sky, including prime rib and "parrot" wings. Each meal comes with a splash of entertainment, as servers saunter up to tables dressed to the nines in red and black garments, bandanas, and flashy rings and earrings.
The Opa Tap Bar is fashioned to look like the side of a giant ship, with three faux masts supporting the tap handles for more than 60 brews. If beer is not a diner's choice of beverage, an onsite microdistillery—a passion project of Tony’s—cooks up more spirits than A Christmas Carol, including whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, and ouzo.
Pananas Restaurant continually surprises diners with a selection of upscale entrees that change with the season. The spring menu promises fresh options such as the grilled salmon, which is sautéed in creamy pesto before it comes to rest atop bitter greens and risotto-stuffed tomato ($21). Ensconced in an au poivre crust, the 16-ounce bone-in Delmonico steak frolics through sprinklers loaded with balsamic grilled onion and gorgonzola cheese sauce ($28). Pasta options abound, including farfalle aglio e olio, which adds zing to bow-tie pasta with breaded chicken and broccoli rabe sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper ($15). The stuffed artichoke Francese brims with sundried tomatoes, boursin cheese, and lemon butter sauce ($8). Since main courses rotate seasonally, chefs can take advantage of the migratory patterns of vegetables to guarantee access to the freshest ingredients.
George Carabase opened Buona Vita when he was only 23. But by spending his boyhood at his father's pizzeria, George learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business at a very early age. A graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, he draws upon his familial and formal educations at Buona Vita, which he's owned since 1998. Utilizing local produce, his traditional take on Italian cuisine encompasses generous portions of dishes such as veal sorrentino, as well as more than 20 available pizza toppings, including eggplant and clams.
Executive chef Michael Presnal oversees The Federal’s kitchen, which turns out a constantly shifting menu of elegant American dishes inspired by seasonal local ingredients. Give hunger a stylish sendoff with a starter of grilled asparagus partnered with a fried organic egg, prosciutto, parmesan, and truffle oil ($8.95). Like beach balls, The Federal’s risotto balls—served by the bucket with black truffled butter ($10.95)—are perfect for sharing with a crowd, but unlike billiard balls, they’re not meant for lobbing at noisy woodpeckers. Cornmeal-dusted soft-shell crabs ($25.95) are among the enticing entree options for the surfily inclined, whereas turfatarians can satisfy their protein passions with Portuguese-style pork and clams, which pairs charred pork ribs with chorizo-clam ragout ($26.95). A pared-down lunch menu on Fridays keeps reverse-werewolves from having to start the weekend by noshing on their neighbors.