Rifle through the pages of the menu at Nirvana Cafe, and you'll see dishes inspired by cuisines from across the globe—there's tender gyros and kebabs from the Mediterranean, plump perogi from Eastern Europe, and tangy Korean-style carrot salad. But there's also a variety of American favorites, such as chicken salad wraps and creamy new york cheesecake. As chefs bring these dishes to life in the kitchen, diners lounge on banquettes amid the bold red walls of the bright dining room, sipping freshly squeezed juices and imported Russian beers.
Named for gangsters and criminals such as John Gotti, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde, Wise Guys Pizza Cafe's slate of deli-style sandwiches arrest hunger with fillings such as roast beef and cheddar, tuna salad, turkey, and meatballs. Chefs also hand-toss New York-style pizza crusts, topping pies with such ingredients as bacon, black olives, and pepperoni. Burgers, wings, and stromboli round out the menu, and calzones hide ingredients inside gooey pockets of ricotta cheese, where they are eventually uncovered by forks that have become FBI informants.
Open until 2 a.m. seven days a week, Flashbacks Lounge caters to caffeine fixes at all times of the day with local brews from Sweetwater Organic Coffee and Tree City Roasters. In addition to coffee and espresso drinks, the staff serves a variety of spirits in a laid-back, relaxing environment devoid of intrusive noise or loud music. Guest can also gather on the outdoor patio to sip beverages in the fresh air.
Scamper across Gilmon's Bakery's checkerboard floor to view colorful display cases stocked with freshly baked cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, and watch confectioners decorate their wares at a visible frosting station before smuggling home a variety of cakey cups. Each day, batter-whisperers bake 9–12 different flavors for customers to serve at weddings, parties, or successful parole hearings. Chocolate-chip cookie dough nestles next to red velvet, and tangy key lime and sweet strawberry shortcake gossip about the carrot cake's latest frosting hat. Always stylish, cupcakes regularly step out in sugar decorations that reflect the season, sports teams, or aesthetically pleasing psychic visions. Cleanse palates between cupcake courses with coffee ($1.25), bottled water ($1), or a mini cannoli ($1.25), which are not included in the price of this Groupon.
Taverna's menus sport a spread of decadent dishes that feature traditional Mediterranean flavors fashioned from an elegant combination of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and quality imported products. Initiate a successful lunch campaign with daily changing bruschetta ($8), then crunch into a wood-fired, Neapolitan-style soppressata pizza topped with fried egg, house-made mozzarella, and San Marzano tomatoes ($16). For dinner, let the sautéed calamari starter massage taste buds with Israeli couscous, tomatoes, capers, and nicoise olives ($10) before diving snout first into a plate of scallops, risotto, corn, and truffles ($24). Fuel your stomach's brunch-time (Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) desires with a prosciutto, gruyere, and rosemary scone ($2) or a helping of Greek-style sunny-side-up eggs with feta, tomato, and green beans ($10).
Hamburger Mary flipped her first burger in 1972 in San Francisco’s SOMA district. From her humble origins as the lovably eccentric icon for a late-night beer-and-burger joint, she has now crisscrossed the nation with her brand of family dining, which welcomes all open-minded people and focuses on members of the LGBT community. With cleverly mismatched dinnerware, diners dig into a menu rooted in Angus-beef burgers such as the Buffy the Burger Slayer or the 1-pound Proud Mary. Bold colors splash the walls, and colorful collages and artwork frame a fun, quirky space to encourage diners to get out of their comfort zone and finally attempt to bench-press their family members.
Chefs warm up bodies and taste buds with fiery seasonings on their collection of traditional Jamaican recipes. Appetizing disks of Jamaican beef and chicken ($2 each) load flavor software via mouth drive to prepare tongues for scorching main courses. A colorful fan of vegetables complements piquant chicken pieces in De Real Ting’s signature jerk chicken dinner ($9), which arrives at tables with an additional bottle of jerk sauce to souse their entree or a rude passerby.