The quaint bakery of Il Sogno Dolce caters to sweet teeth with brownies, cookies, cakes, biscotti, and other treats crafted on site. Each dessert is made in small batches to capture a homemade taste without setting bear traps under welcome mats. Cake pops ($8 for six) combine the decadence of cake with the convenience of a lollipop and are available in combinations such as carrot cake and cream-cheese frosting, german chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, and yellow cake with lemon frosting. Crunch into house-made cranberry and white chocolate biscotti ($6.99/bag), or softly sink chompers into Earl Grey fudge ($8.99/half lb.), which was infused with the namesake leaves after cracked eggs revolted against oppressive electric mixers by dumping tea bags into batter.
Vivid Italian oil paintings adorn the walls of Milano Grille’s dining room; together with the crisp, white-clothed tables and the soft lights cast by hanging lamps, they create a facsimile of Italy on par with the plates of pasta and meat-based entrees to come. Servers’ heels click against the tile floor as they emerge from the kitchen carrying lunches of paninis, personal pizzas, and calzones or dinners of veal, chicken, and seafood. Though Milano Grille offers full delivery and catering, the restaurant lures guests in to its dining room with a BYOB policy that allows them to bring in their favorite bottle of wine or flask of virgin moonshine.
Mia Sorella 337's chefs fill their kitchen with the authentic aromas of classic Italian classics. They hand-bread calamari in buttermilk batter before browning it in a pan, and sauté veal in a brandy demi-glaze sauce or with hot cherry peppers. Guests feast in a spacious, bright dining room, where a flat-screen television runs the game from over the purple-lit, wood-paneled bar. The restaurant's BYO policy lets diners bypass the barkeep in favor of supplying their own drinks in the form of one brought-from-home bottle or 1,000 Dixie cups.
After honing their pizza-making craft at the helm of Paisano’s in Watchung, Greg Oliva and Jimmy Nelson opened the doors to Amici Pizzeria in Raritan, where they produce hand-tossed, crispy thin-crust pies crowned with savory tomato and white sauces. Familiar toppings of pepperoni, chicken, parmesan, and meatballs provision company pizza parties and little-league-baseball celebrations, while more exotic garnishes of broccoli raab, anchovies, and artichokes cater to refined palates and little-league-cricket celebrations. Hot subs filled with melted cheese and steak make for satisfying lunches, and feasts of baked ziti, mussels fra diavolo, and chicken marsala ensure homestyle warmth even on nights when you can’t cook.
For more than 20 decades, the staff at the family-owned PJ's Grill & Pizza has instilled everything from Sicilian pies to veal parmesan with the personal touch of homemade recipes. In addition to classic pizzeria fare, the menu also boasts a few Mediterranean classics such as falafel, gyros, and greek salad, and moist slices of red velvet cake make for a satisfying end to a meal or effective energy boost during a marathon.
Bella Pizza’s gourmet pizzas—made with a secret sauce and housemade dough—helped the Italian eatery earn a Hillsborough Patch Readers’ Choice award this year. Along with signature pizzas, such as the cheesesteak and buffalo calamari, the chefs also create made-from-scratch calzones, sandwiches, subs, and submarines—actual submarines. They also whip up oven-baked pastas and dinners such as chicken parmigiana. Bella Pizza’s owner, Akhtar Farzaie, has demonstrated his commitment to the community by supporting a local 7-year-old boy who organized an impressive coat drive.
Inside an expansive dining room, servers float between elegant table settings carrying Italian dishes that have earned various accolades since Panico’s inception in 1987. Below the diffused light of wall sconces, conversations buzz along the expansive leather banquette as vodka-sauce penne, pan-seared lamb, and seafood-stuffed ravioli make their way from the kitchen. Diligent servers painstakingly debone the grilled whole fish of the day tableside before pouring bottles of red and white vino from the extensive wine list. To conclude meals or inadvertently incite stooge-level food fights, they serve a lineup of desserts that includes Italian sorbetti, amaretto cheesecakes, chocolate-chip cannolis, and apple and pear cobblers.