Panda Palace fuses artful noshes with foreign favorites in a menu of authentic Chinese fare, focusing on delicacies drafted from Sichuan and Shanghai. Adventurous eaters can pack for trans-Pacific swims by filling swim trunks with steaming pork egg rolls ($1 each), and then floating around while hustling up some fresh shrimp-fried rice midjourney ($5.39/small, $7.20/large). Regular takeouters can gnaw on time-tested tasties, such as the beef with broccoli ($7.50), and more ambitious eaters can hang fang on a half-serving of peking duck ($15.99).
Inside the kitchen of Cafe Lazeez, cooks draw upon halal ingredients to craft traditional Pakistani dishes including tandoori chicken and naan. In the dining room, the lighted menu above the cash register hints at skewers laden with beef, which travel on red trays to tables. Working patrons look up from their projects to appreciate free WiFi or realize they’ve been typing on a dish of goat and rice the whole time.
Since 2001, the cooks at India's Kitchen have fashioned fresh vegetables and halal meats into northern and southern-Indian cuisine. They simmer tikka masala with charcoal-roasted shrimp, roast ginger-marinated chicken in a tandoor oven, and fry battered morsels of housemade paneer cheese. Patrons savor these dishes in an inviting dining room with red walls and hanging chandeliers.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger—the Whopper sandwich—consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and an Oreo sundae keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
In addition to 29 types of nigiri and sashimi and more than 70 different maki, Sushi Japan's chefs create specialty rolls with everything from lobster and green onion to banana tempura and kiwi. In the kitchen, the rest of the chefs stick to homestyle Japanese flavors, cooking entrees such as shrimp tempura, stir-fried yakisoba, and hibachi-grilled beef. Although Sushi Japan's shoji screens, kanji-bedecked lanterns, and fabric prints demonstrate a firm commitment to traditional Japanese culture, some aspects of the restaurant's decor—the cozy booths, a chair-lined counter—evince a more modern aesthetic.
When founders J. Kim Tucci, Joseph A. Fresta, and John P. Ferrara first opened The Pasta House Co. in 1974, they wanted to elevate pasta to an art form. “Some artists sculpt, some paint, and some sketch,” they write on the restaurant’s website. “But, at The Pasta House Co., we create authentic Italian culinary delights.” A few of the locations even have giant, exhibition kitchens so you can watch as pizzas, pastas, and entrees come to life.
Naturally, The Pasta House Co.’s menu revolves around the Italian staple from which it gets its name. There are more than 25 varieties of pasta to choose from, including linguine with chicken livers and the signature lasagna, plus weekday specials such as stuffed manicotti. Meanwhile, the mangia bene menu—which translates to “eat well” in Italian—showcases the more wholesome side of Italian eating, with dishes low in fat and calories that won’t peer pressure you to break curfew.