After bringing their family across the pond from Milano to Maine, restaurateurs Fabiana de Savino and Enrico Barbiero wasted no time in opening Paciarino. There, pasta made daily by Barbiero "raises the bar for pasta," according to the New York Times. “His tender ravioli are stuffed with sweet local shrimp and haddock, and his spaghetti is hand-stretched and perfectly cooked,” the reporter continued. The chef draws from a palette of imported Taggiasche olives, garlic from Sicily, and peppers, mozzarella, and salamis from around Italy. When possible, the produce is sourced from organic farms, and the selection of seafood, like a neighbor’s level of anger at your Halloween display, depends on the season.
Paciarino's airy interior keeps the mood light and focused on the cuisine, which is complemented by red and white wine. “You can hear a surprising amount of Italian language among the diners,” said a writer for The Boston Globe after a visit, “ and everyone seems a little more cheerful than they did when they walked in."
Pat’s Pizza’s menu, which carries on a culinary legacy that began in 1931, arrives at tables bursting with Italian classics and hearty takes on family fare. Diners can test out recently sharpened incisors with a mexican pizza topped with sausage and salsa ($8.25) or challenge a 14-inch greek pie ($16.25) to a duel with taste buds. Nine different salads ($3.25–$6.75) fill gaps in nutrition or in brick walls, and cheese-packed calzones ($5.50+) cradle fresh ingredients in the warm embrace of house-made dough. Diners can also eschew more circular fare for a range of burgers ($3.25+) and sandwiches, including meatball ($3.75+) and classic ham, cheese, and bacon hoagies ($4.25+).
A bachelor’s degree in international language has lent Chaba Thai Cuisine & Sushi's owner, Lawan Seelawongsayree, an advanced understanding of human communication. However, at her restaurant—which she opened in 2004 and where she perpetuates family recipes passed through generations—Lawan speaks to her customers through her cuisine: a language primal yet international and sophisticated all at the same time.
Spicy, sweet, bitter, and citrusy flavors collide in dishes that hold true to Thai tradition while playfully thumbing their noses at stodgy conventions such as chewing. Curry dishes marry sweet coconut milk with spicy red-chili paste, a combination sewn with coriander and cumin threads in the massaman version. With every guest’s meal, Lawan aspires for a dining experience rich with sanuk, a term that denotes fun and pleasure at the table without forcing guests to sculpt mashed potatoes into Bobcat Goldthwait.
Eschewing modern mixes and thickeners, the dessert designers at Maple's transform fresh milk, eggs, and cream into a host of more than three dozen gelato and sorbetto flavors crafted in-store in front of salivating patrons. Maple's ice engineers buy ingredients directly from Maine's local family farms and embrace traditional artisanal methods such as working with microbatches and running chunky cream through a cotton gin.
Bonos Pizzeria Grille puts its own gourmet spin on Italian culinary tradition. In an open kitchen, executive chef Anthony Guerriero and his team use local ingredients to craft specialties such as slow-braised short ribs with pappardelle, fingerling potatoes, and peas, and juicy burgers crowned with Boursin cheese and wine-poached pears. They also layer pizzas with specialty toppings such as fig jam and hand-picked lobster before firing the pies over flaming Maine hardwoods. A children’s menu offers kid-friendly options like peanut butter and jelly pizza.