Using fresh seasonal ingredients from local sources, Via Toscana's menu of traditional, upscale Italian dishes preps palates for a sensory serenade with a starter of mussels la spezia ($8) in a lemon white-wine preparation. The pollo marsala ($14) provides a dance floor for a multicultural cast of sautéed chicken, woodland mushrooms, sage butter, and marsala wine with roasted new potatoes. And the penne vodka di mare's sautéed scallops and shrimp in a crema-rosa vodka sauce ($18) mix alcohol and the ocean in a lifeguard-approved manner. Otherwise, sharpen your toothy band saw on the succulent vitello saltimbocca (sautéed veal scallopini, $18), or feast eye-mouths and mouth-eyes on the Colorado lamb chops ($25) with provencal herb marinade and potato gratin. Via Toscana's extensive wine selection can matchmake any meal with more than 600 varieties of fermented fruit, and a gluten-free menu is also available.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. Marco's Pizza has 350 locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh cheeses.
Street Legal Pizza's stalwart kitchen crew kneads its own dough and stirs up fresh sauce daily to construct a menu of stone-fired New York–style pizzas. One large pizza surrounds grana padano cheese and fresh basil with a crust drizzled in olive oil before anchoring dough disks with up to two toppings, such as green peppers, meatballs, garlic-infused chicken strips, or genuine chunks of leaning tower. An order of garlic bread and two sodas bookend each bite of pizza, ensuring that each mouthful receives individualized attention.
Named best area pizza source by Yellow Scene Magazine, Zamparelli's Italian Bistro crafts innovatively assembled pastas and East Coast–inflected thin-crust pizzas acclaimed by Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine. Watch the kitchen for rising steam signals that mean either your pepperoni pizza ($12) is emerging from the brick oven or that rival tribes of eaters are attacking the gastro-garrison. Sharp-eyed servers guide patrons through the monolithic menu, which uses rich Italian sauce in inventive configurations that better irrigate your fields of taste buds. Sink your teeth into succulent pappardelle Bolognese ($14), or sink your spoon into a bowl of seasonal soup ($4.75). Cold sandwiches, such as a turkey club featuring Nueske’s bacon ($7.75), and hot handhelds such as an eggplant parmesan sandwich ($7.75) give silverware a respite from its dinerly duties. Unlike 18-and-older pizzerias and seniors-only jungle gyms, Zamparelli's welcomes tiny people with a quartet of $5 children's dishes that bring sprightly smiles to miniature mouths.
Charles Stanford didn't grow up eating chicken fingers and spaghetti. The son of a Le Cordon Bleu Paris–trained chef, Stanford honed his palate at a young age and was taught by his father to pull a cork and mix a cocktail when he was just a kid. Working at a restaurant wasn't much of a reach for him.
These days, Stanford boasts more than two decades of experience in the industry, and he's paired up with chef Greg Keesy to present Asti d'Italia. Stanford acts as the resident sommelier, pouring a selection of wines that complement Keesy's cuisine—fresh, inventive takes on Italian classics, such as lasagna with buffalo meat, crispy polenta bruschetta, and chicken marsala cut by robots.