The flavors of northern and southern Italy can be tasted from across the Atlantic at Stella D'oro. What seems like an impressive feat is actually quite simple: chef Sammy Cecunjanin just follows his family recipes. Dishes include classic pairings such as rigatoni, sausage, and white wine sauce, as well as heartier eats such as rack of lamb with a cognac sauce roasted into the meat. Unsurprisingly, lobster—which is the East Coast's official regional crustacean—finds its way onto the seafood-heavy menu by way of the lobster-filled ravioli, the lobster and pappardelle, and the lobster tail and linguini.
No, he wasn't born in Sicily. In fact—according to a 2011 article in the Boston Globe—Doug Ferriman started out in the pizza business without even knowing how to make dough. But he learned fast, besting 120 competitors and two Italian chefs to take second place at the International Pizza Challenge later that year. Ferriman is also one of only two people to have won the International Pizza Expo's Pizza of the Year honor more than once, in 2004 and 2007, according to trade magazine Pizza Today. Finally, in the 2013 competition, Ferriman won first in the non-traditional category in the northeast region.
Today, Ferriman brings his dough tossing know-how to Crazy Dough's Pizza, which he co-owns with his wife, Melissa. Their labor-of-love-turned-small-business-success-story, which has been documented in media outlets such as the Boston Business Journal, can be explained by their commitment to quality ingredients and diverse recipes. Their chefs start with a solid pizza foundation of North Dakota flour, vine-ripened California plum tomatoes, and Wisconsin cheese. Next, they transform raw dough into three pizza types: pan-baked, rectangular sicilian pies; hearty brick-oven rounds; or their specialty fire-grilled pizzas, cooked to a crispy, smoky finish on an open-flame hickory grill.
Finally, guests can choose from a huge selection of off-the-wall toppings and signature combinations, such as cheeseburger bacon or potato bacon cheddar. The shops also attract guests with $5 Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers, calzones, and Crazy Dough Bowls—salads whose bread-bowl exterior can be eaten or worn as a savory hat.
At any given moment, there might be three kinds of bars operating inside Amalfi Oceanside. One produces signature cocktails ready to be sipped in view of the Narragansett beach. Another, which springs up on Sundays, allows visitors to concoct their preferred variants on a bloody mary to pair with their brunches. The third is a raw bar, where lobster tails sit alongside native littleneck clams and oysters that were farmed locally, rather than shipped via friendly pelican.
These seafood samples function as chilled appetizers for a host of oceanic entrees. Pasta options such as shrimp scampi and the seafood fra diavolo—mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, and marinara sauce over linguine—complement plates of baked cod and pan-seared scallops. Lobster sliders and beer-battered-fish tacos also augment a list of burgers and sandwiches. Breaking from the maritime theme, rib-eye steaks and grilled specialty pizzas round out the menu in addition to slow-roasted cuts of prime rib, which are only available on Fridays—like a feeling of relief among America's work force.
A family-owned sustenance staple for more than 60 years, Leo's Ristorante's homey redbrick exterior greets families to generous portions of homemade Italian and American comfort-food dishes culled from fresh ingredients. Leading off a stacked menu is the hearty New England clam chowder ($4.59 cup, $5.59 bowl), which sets the table for wholesome, heavy-hitting handhelds such as the chicken parmesan sandwich ($7.99 small, $8.99 large) and the Big Red meatball sub ($6.99 small, $7.99 large). The tortellini a la Carolina ($16) surrounds its tricolored, circular cheese pasta with grilled chicken and a light butter sauce, while the spaghetti a la Gina's ($12.99) savory red-sauced noodles send forks into a pasta pirouette. Enjoy a large, one-topping pizza ($12.99), adorned in culinary confetti such as pepperoni or olives, or wrap taste buds around the Milano panini ($8.99), containing grilled eggplant, smoked mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and garlic olive oil.
The menu offers seafood, veal, pasta, and chicken prepared from time-tested family recipes. Rev an appetite engine with coconut shrimp ($11) or homemade fennel-sausage antipasti ($9) and a glass of wine, such as Beringer Pinot Grigio ($6.50) or Trivento Pinot Noir ($7). Traditional Italian entrees include lobster, shrimp, and scallop cannelloni gratineé ($16); chicken campagnolo (egg-battered medallions with prosciutto, mozzarella, sherry, and mushroom demi-glace, $19); and veal bella Napoli (sautéed veal, shrimp, asparagus, portobello, tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella, $23). Point Judith clams with shrimp and your choice of white, red, or fiery fra diavolo sauce over linguine ($22) and shrimp and scallop della casa ($22) will make any fisherman fondly remember his finest seafood- or mermaid-catching sprees. The trattoria experience would be incomplete without dessert, so sweeten endings with crème-brûlée cheesecake, tiramisu, or spumoni (all desserts are $7).
Cavalieri's Wood Street Pizza is a family-owned-and-operated cookery that has been serving up house favorites and custom creations for 18 years. While the basic variety of pizza exists ($6.75 for 10" to $16.25 for a full sheet), Wood Street's pizza menu shines with exotic topped discs, such as buffalo chicken pizza, taco pizza fiesta, and a lasagna pizza pie. Specialty pizzas are $9, $18, or $27 (or $18.25 for thin crust), depending on size. If you prefer your pizza folded into a crescenty pocket of flavor, opt for one of the 20 varieties of calzones ($2.75 for single up to $27 for a 25" giant). Wood Street also whips up appetizers, grinders ($5.75–$6.75), a soup of the day ($4.25), salads ($2.50 for a side salad, others $4.50–$7.25), and pasta creations ($6–$9.95). Check the menu for changing specials for lunch, dinner, sandwiches, soups, and pizza, such as June's chicken Caesar.