The menu at Frank's Pizza & Restaurant is divided into stripes of red, white, and green, emulating the Italian flag while collecting dishes from across the country. Chicken marsala arrives as an entree with a dinner salad or tops a thin-crust pizza, tossed from traditional, whole-wheat, or gluten-free dough. The kitchen also presses broccoli rabe paninis, tosses linguine with fried calamari, and nods to American cuisine with chicken fingers and a collection of domestic beers.
Begin your trip down the meatball-lined sidewalks of Ciao Baby with a look at the menu of classic Italian eats. For antipasti, roll a homemade Sicilian rice ball filled with ground meat, peas, and plum-tomato sauce ($14.95) into your jaws. Lunch light with a member of the Wrap Pack, such as the Salsiccia Sammy (Italian sausage, tri-color peppers, and Vidalia onions sautéed in white wine and topped with mozzarella, $10.95), or lend some evening gravitas to your appetite with a dignified order for Nonna's Old World Meat Platter (freshly made meatballs, hot or sweet sausage, and San Marzano tomato sauce atop macaroni; half $23.95, whole $33.95).
At Vincent's Pizza, experienced chefs use fresh ingredients to whirl together pizzas, pastas, and other Italian cuisine. The menu includes specialty pizzas with whole-wheat crusts, grilled chicken and broccoli rabe wraps, and traditional entrees, such as meat lasagna.
High ceilings with exposed piping lend a modern vibe to Toro Pazzo and serve as a foil to a menu of time-tested Italian dishes. Executive chef Alan Pucci, a native of Lucca, Italy, draws upon an array of Italian meats such as prosciutto and sopressata as well as olives, grilled artichoke hearts, and fontina, gorgonzola, and pecorino cheeses. In the bustling kitchen, the crew rolls dough into potato gnocchi and fresh rigatoni, which fill pasta dishes and sate diners before trips to the National Dry Macaroni Card Museum. Curlicues of steam unfurl from veal scallopini with fresh sage and prosciutto and pistachio-encrusted salmon in a lemon beurre blanc.
Behind Toro Pazzo's bar, an indoor waterfall trickles as mixologists concoct dessert cocktails such as vodka-infused root-beer floats or birthday-cake martinis with sprinkle-encrusted rims. Brimming with bottles imported from Sardinia and Tuscany, the wine list offers pairing for any dish, and on some evenings live bands fill the eatery with lilting guitar strains.
Despite the promise of pizza implicit in its name, mr.Pies' hidden gem—at least according to customers—actually lies in the menu's appetizer section. Doused in fiery buffalo sauce, served with blue cheese for dipping, and offset by crunchy celery, the buffalo wings draw a comparable amount of eaters as the pizza. Don't fret if you can't choose between the two—you can get buffalo chicken scattered right across your pie. Or skip wings and pizza all together, and dig into a traditional Italian pasta dish instead.
Some of New York's most familiar faces have been spotted enjoying Umberto's award-winning pizza. Rudy Giuliani. Eli Manning. Victor Cruz. The Statue of Liberty whenever a lightning storm reanimates her. There are more complex entrees as well—including seafood marinara with clams, scungilli, mussels, lobster, and calamari—but the crown jewel of the menu remains the specialty pizzas strewn with authentically Italian toppings such as meatballs and broccoli rabe.