The robust dinner menu at Ristorante Il Porcino showcases the chefs' passion for natural ingredients and authentic Italian cuisine. Save fruit from the ignominious demise of being tossed at a clown with the prosciutto melone, which pairs fresh-cut melon, thin slices of prosciutto, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar ($7.95). Pasta plates such as the vegetarian-friendly ravioli alla crema di noci tuck spinach and ricotta inside pillows of homemade ravioli beneath a blanket by a walnut cream sauce ($10.95). Meat-seeking mouths can nosh on the vitello de la casa ($13.95), with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese nuzzled alongside hefty sautéed veal medallions opulently torn from rappers’ necklaces. Walls lined with shelves of wine selections surround patrons with vine-grown meal-pairing options.
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.
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.
Papa Murphy's was born out of the owner's frustration with the bad versions of pizza he tried at chain restaurants, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. With the ultimate goal of changing the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient?all of which are never frozen?onto crusts right in front of customers before they grab them to bake at home home. Consider the goal met: that dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
At any visit, visitors can create their own take on pizza or chomp into one of the signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. Appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
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.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.