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.
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).
As its name suggests, Three Brothers Pizzeria and Restaurant is a family affair. In addition to the titular owners?Frank, Freddy, and Alfredo?the siblings' mother often graces the pizzeria's kitchen to make sure that no one has any schmutz on their cheeks and that everything runs smoothly. That means overseeing the meticulous assemblage of more than 15 specialty pizzas, which emerge from the oven topped with everything from baked ziti to the fixings for chicken masala. The team also crafts customizable neapolitan and sicilian pies for more traditionally minded pizza connoisseurs. The rest of the massive menu encompasses housemade Italian classics such as linguine with mussels, baked cheese ravioli, and veal piccata, all of which are available for takeout, delivery, or feasts inside the dining room.
At Villa Maria Pizzeria and Restaurant, the chefs prepare far more than just pizza. They also make street foods, such as hero sandwiches and calzones, as well as more elegant eats, such as Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine and paired with marinara. They round out the menu with veal, chicken, and eggplant entrees and tortellini made by hand.
Bella's Pizzeria's chefs take their time to make every dish special, from the utterly familiar pepperoni pizza slice to the unusually tasty veal francese. Their pizza dough is made from scratch daily, and the chefs top each disk with homemade sauce and fresh toppings. The chefs imbue pasta dishes with secret spice combinations, and they bake up a few special treats, like buttery garlic knots to warm up the appetite, or nutella-filled calzones.