Pasquale’s Ristorante Italiano crafts house-made pastas, entrees, and decadent desserts for an elegant, old-world menu of Italian favorites. A clutch of pan-seared scallops and shrimp spill over an umami-laden porcini risotto ($20.95) like a gift from a mermaid secret admirer left on the shore, and boneless short ribs with a port-wine glaze recline on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes ($20.95). Light-as-air gnocchi hopscotch through bolognese sauce studded with mascarpone cheese squares ($13.95). A slice of Nonna’s cheesecake, finished with raspberry puree, puts a ricotta exclamation point at the end of savory meals. Homey floral arrangements and warm, golden walls meet sleek booths and a streamlined full bar in Pasquale's dining room, suiting moods ranging from casual to extravagant. Reservations are recommended.
Since 1967, the Mandreucci Family has lured in diners with the scent of bubbly margherita pizzas, sopressata sandwiches on semolina bread, and chicken, sausage, and shrimp mingling with rich sauces on plates of pasta. Tan brick and colorful murals of wholesome Italian ingredients surround families and couples as they twirl linguini around their fork tines or munch on slices of vodka-penne pizza, a specialty pizza topped with vodka sauce and diced ham. During catered events, guests can avoid eye contact with an old lab partner by preoccupying themselves with fresh fruits, antipasti, penne pomodoro, lasagna, and veal.
At The Original Primo Pizza & Grill, chefs whirl handmade dough and whole, peeled tomatoes into a variety of thin-crust pizzas. While the menu includes classic standbys such as the hawaiian pizza, customers can also create their own perfect pies from toppings such as garlic, mushrooms, pepperoni, and sausage. What really shines through, however, is the restaurant’s large selection of specialty pies: buffalo-chicken pizza is topped with chicken and zesty buffalo sauce; Nutella pizza with brown and powdered sugar; and the American-style pizza gets topped with steak, peppers, onions, american cheese, and a pervasive dislike of the metric system.
While pizza dominates the menu, diners can also explore traditional Italian entrees, including dinner specialties such as chicken scampi, veal milanese, and spaghetti with clam sauce.
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.