Ristorante Bella Vita's chefs carefully craft Italian cuisine to emulate that of their homeland, authenticating meals by baking thin-crust pizzas in brick ovens and dousing gnocchi in homemade pesto sauce. And the food isn’t the only feast the restaurant provides: the space itself, which includes an ample patio and robust, private event-ready wine cellar, gives diners plenty to feast their eyes on with sumptuous Renaissance-style sculpture, painting, and architectural details. In the lounge, every table is adorned with hand-painted tile mosaics that pop against the hand-brushed images of the Italian countryside. Rounding out the space, the private wine cellar—complete with brick archways and towering stacks of fine wines—also boasts a water heater that hisses out Venetian love songs on command.
Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too! has been a classic Italian eatery since 1956, from the family-style meals and traditional dishes down to the red-checkered tablecloths. The building that houses its original restaurant in Mountain View has been around since the 1920s, and it has vacillated from a speakeasy to a coffee shop to its current state as a friendly Italian restaurant. At each of the company’s five locations, chefs masterfully toss pizza dough in the air to create specialty pies such as the vegetarian fantasy or seafood ecstasy, piled with scallops, shrimp, clams, and high concentrations of euphoria. The intoxicating aromas of garlic and marinara waft through the air as families and friends enjoy meals of house-made meatballs, New York-style Italian sausage, and veal scaloppini.
At Pasta Q, chefs roll out homemade pastas and gnocchi and douse their doughy exteriors with creamy sauces and redolent spices. Eighteen diverse pasta renditions share table space with classic Italian-style meats buffered by roasted potatoes. An eclectic selection of imported Italian wines pair with bites, and homemade desserts ease the burden of spaghetti strands trying to shape themselves into the form of tiramisu. The menu’s Mediterranean flourishes extend to the décor, with its deep-burgundy and mustard-yellow walls punctuated by mosaic-tiled benches and billowy white fabric suspended from the ceiling.
Since 1997, Caffe Riace's chefs have infused their Italian menu with a Sicilian flair, dishing up pastas, veal dishes, and seafood within the restaurant's vibrant spaces. They use some organic ingredients, cure their beef in-house, and import real buffalo mozzarella for their mozzarella di bufala salad. The staff serves pasta dishes—including the prawn- and lobster-loaded capellini aragosta with tarragon and mushroom—atop glass tables set in front of scenic murals and rustic artwork.
Towering statues survey the outdoor patio, which spreads beneath umbrellas across a tiled plaza. Lion statues and flower beds give the outdoor space the aura of a florist who tames lions or a lion tamer whose boyfriend really screwed up. The patio also benefits from a sense of whimsy—rather than spilling water from an urn, the centerpiece fountain's patina-covered figure hoists a washing machine atop her head. Inside, the roster of elegant private dining rooms includes the chandelier-crowned Riace room, where bright artwork and flowers pop against red and cream walls, as well as a wine room with wine racks and wooden wine barrels reclining in the room's nooks.
Chefs inside Palo Alto Pizza Co.’s kitchen forge dough for their signature West Coast¬–style thick crusts and New York–style thin crusts from scratch. They crown each housemade round with fresh, gourmet toppings and sauces, such as spicy chipotle cream sauce, salsa fresca, balsamic-marinated tomatoes, and mesquite grilled chicken.Diners can portion out these meat-laden and vegetarian-friendly pies in the eatery’s modern dining room, which creates a warm ambiance with its rustic wood paneling and red-accent walls lined with high-definition TVs. Guests can also descend on carryout boxes filled with signature pizzas and spicy chicken wings, ready to serve in their homes, offices, or secret home offices.