The Skinny Italian Kitchen presents a menu of casual and healthy Italian cuisine that was spotlighted by the Phoenix New-Times and Fox 10. Owned by local restaurateur and Mediterranean food aficionado Bobby Mancuso, the restaurant blends traditional recipes from Mancuso’s mother with updated dishes that hew to the principles of the Mediterranean diet—which involves drinking lots of salt water and gargling it in French. Chefs create “skinny” pastas such as shrimp fra diavolo with clams and spicy marinara. The dining room to which they deliver this food features earth tones relieved by just a dash of bright aqua blue and walls built of horizontal stone. Beneath vivid modern paintings, the staff serves glasses of wine or pints of craft beer. They also walk under shiny black chandeliers suspended over a row of curved booths to dish out hand-tossed pizzas covered with fennel sausage or fresh mozzarella and supported by a gluten-free crust upon request.
Papa Murphy’s serves up a tasty menu of handmade "take ‘n’ bake" pizzas created using dough, cheeses, meats, and veggies that are freshly prepared every day. After customers choose their pie, Papa Murphy's personable pizza fashioners will build the pizza in-store and then package it for customers to bake at home in the oven, in a pottery kiln, or over a pile of burning cookbooks. Customers can select one of Papa Murphy's signature pizzas or customize their pie to a more specific taste, culling from the four sauces, three crusts, and more than 20 toppings available. Watch as Papa Murphy’s pizza professionals corral the ingredients of a signature pizza such as the Cowboy ($11.99 for the 16” family size), complete with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, and black olives, or request a Chicago-style stuffed pizza ($14.99 for the family size), packed with onions, mozzarella, four kinds of meat, and one of the most efficient public-transit systems in America. Thin-crust fans can opt for an Herb Chicken Mediterranean deLITE ($11.99 for a large), smothered with feta cheese, olive oil, and spinach, and veggievores can avail themselves of Papa Murphy’s gourmet vegetarian ($15.99 for the family size) option, which comes saturated with a creamy garlic sauce. Side your pizza with a chicken Caesar salad ($5.99), an order of cheesy bread ($3.99), or a two-liter soda ($2.09).
The dishes that emerge from the kitchen at Trattoria Arrivederci are a little different than those of its Italian-restaurant brethren. That's because the eatery specializes in a cooking style they've dubbed "nouvelle Italian cuisine." Striking a balance between healthy foods and hearty, traditional flavors, the restaurant's signature brand of southern Italian fare results in a menu of dishes characterized by loads of vegetables and fresh, preservative-free ingredients. This blend of the healthy and artisan travels well and has led to several restaurants spread throughout the southwest where chefs still craft homemade pastas and sauces, pouring saffron cream over hand-rolled gnocchi or Bolognese sauce over rival chefs. Crowds often gather outside the main dining room in the lounge, where a full bar offers daily happy-hour specials that complement live music performances.
The cucina at Va Bene pampers palates with the authenticity and fresh flavors of classic Italian cuisine. Starters set tongues wagging with the pan-seared sea morsels served with pesto sauce and crostini in the scallops Va Bene ($12.95 dinner). The melanzane ripieni wets whistles for melodic grazies with baked eggplant dressed in mushrooms, squash, mozzarella, and homemade marinara ($6.50 lunch, $7.95 dinner). Dressed in herb-crust armor, the new york steak ($28.95 dinner) carries roasted potatoes and french beans at the ready to trounce hunger with a porcini-sauce body slam, and pollo alla pizzaiola douses chicken breast with fresh tomato, capers, and olives ($8.95 lunch, $15.95 dinner). Desserts ($6) incite sweet dreams and meaningful fork-collisions with tiramisu, New York–style cheesecake, and chocolate-espresso crème brûlée.
With its broad spectrum of Italian eats, NY 54 Pizza & Ristorante's menu "has everything you've been craving," according to Go Gilbert! magazine. The kitchen staff whips up fresh pizza dough and sauce each morning before baking crusts to a golden brown in a stone oven. The restaurant's crusade for freshness extends into wings that never see the inside of a walk-in freezer and breadcrumbs ground and seasoned in-house.
In keeping with NY 54's Big Apple theme, chefs import authentic treats from New York City, including knishes from Coney Island and crumb cake from a Brooklyn bakery. Inside the restaurant, a backdrop of exposed brick peeks from behind vintage framed photos of the Yankees and native New Yorker Robert De Niro.
At Florencia Pizza Bistro, spreading tomato sauce on a disk of housemade crust is indeed tradition, but not a rigid one. The Snow White—a recipe that has been with the bistro staff for more than 30 years—arranges basil, minced garlic, tomatoes, and cheese atop a coat of extra-virgin olive oil. Eight specialty pizzas and five pesto pizzas embrace this tomato-less approach, allowing the richness of toppings such as walnuts, italian sausage, and kalamata olives to hold the tongue's attention.
With the menu as their guide, guests can select a preestablished pizza or build an original one of their own. Gluten-free crust and low-fat cheese options accommodate dietary restrictions, and half-baked pizzas allow patrons to heat up their meals later, in the comfort of their gym’s sauna. Calzones, sandwiches, and paninis—made with the same housemade pizza crust for bread—also wrap meats and veggies in a toasty embrace.