The chefs at Zaro's Café import the Mediterranean flavors of Greece and Italy onto plates brimming with Old World flavor. After perusing the extensive menu, dish archaeologists can excavate the Greek moussaka's layers of eggplant, potato, and ground beef doused in a béchamel sauce ($15.50), or an assortment of pastas that includes penne salmon, tossed with asparagus drenched in a roasted-pepper pink sauce ($15.95). Five models of tzatziki-topped gyros putt-putt toward mouths, from traditional to a hot, whole-wheat vegetarian gyro, stuffed with grilled asparagus, zucchini, white onion, and lettuce ($9.25). Neapolitan and square Sicilian pizza pies are available whole or by the slice, and calzones, rolls, and stromboli transport dough-wrapped flavor to mouths directly from the Boot. Or stamp culinary passports with Italian entrees, with classic options including veal marsala—veal medallions as tender as constructive criticism—sautéed with marsala wine and fresh mushrooms ($18.95).
For almost half a century, Rose and Frank DiMartino and their equally able staff have been unfurling handrolled Neapolitan and Sicilian crusts, piled high with pizza-appropriate ingredients. Using family recipes brought over from Napoli, the brick oven torch is now carried stalwartly forward by their four children. Thin- and thick- rimmed crusts are laden with old standbys, including sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, anchovies, and peppers found on the Pappardelle’s supreme ($19.95/neopolitan) or more elaborate garnishments like fresh eggplant ($17.50/neopolitan). Beyond sauce-ensconced saucers, Pappardelle's invites diners to orally explore Italy with fresh salads ($6.25–$13.95), pasta al forno ($9.25–$14.95), and meaty entrees ($7.95–$20.75).
The cooks at Frankie's Eastside Pizza prepare all pies and pastas fresh daily, which is no small feat when you consider the massiveness of their menu. It includes more than 45 specialty pizzas alone, loaded with eclectic toppings that run the gamut from eggplant rollatini to sweet barbecue rum chicken. The culinary team even crafts pies with gluten-free crusts or in the classic Brooklyn style, where each slice is shaped like the letter B.
The rest of Frankie's menu encompasses plenty of Italian classics, from generous portions of chicken scampi to hearty servings of housemade lasagna. For more American appetites, cooks toss fries in Cajun seasoning, pile roast beef into heroes, and fill wraps with ingredients like honey maple turkey.
A display case of oven-fresh pizzas and savory side dishes greets diners when they approach the counter at Vincent's Pizzeria. The cooks bake dough in all shapes and sizes, selling slices or entire pies of Neapolitan, Sicilian-style, and deep-dish pizzas. Each cheesy canvas emerges from the oven with a layer of toppings from a selection of 12 meats and vegetables, which includes garlic, bacon, and spinach. Pizza eaters also have the option of customizing their pie-crusts with sesame, garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and salt, known as "The Edge." To lend a rustic touch to the pasta entrees, the cooks roll meatballs and simmer housemade tomato sauce over smoldering copies of Little House on the Prairie. Although the restaurant only holds a handful of tables in its dining area, it can also serve its customers by delivering orders to homes and catering special events.
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.
Calda Pizzeria & Restaurant’s extensive menu of pizzas, piles of pasta, and burgers parades past gleaming tables flaunting time-tested Italian flavors. Diners can share 18-inch chicken-club pizzas ($21.95) decorated with produce, bacon, and ranch dressing, or guard their own personal-size eggplant-and-ricotta pies ($9.95) from herbivorous velociraptors. The Pizzeria burger ($9.95) merges the best of both worlds by draping a half-pound slab of Angus beef in homemade tomato sauce and a mantle of melted mozzarella. Linguine fruti di mare ($17.95) lets a school of mussels, calamari, and shrimp play Marco Polo in a pool of marinara sauce, and california penne with sun-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken, and broccoli spears ($12.95) lobs crisp fistfuls of veggies like a farmer on a Carnival float. The Levittown eatery features soft lighting and a row of burnt-sienna stools, and windows at the Hicksville establishment admit cascades of natural light.