At Roma’s Pizza, patrons will find something interesting on the menu: Mexican food. Though specialties in hand-tossed pizza and stuffed subs both hot and cold headline the restaurant’s menu, chefs also sizzle fajitas, ladle jumbo shrimp over spanish rice, and slather nachos with cheese. Ten years of experience aids the staff in preparing such a lengthy selection, that, of course, includes both traditional, New York–style circular pies and doughy Sicilian squares. They also bake strombolis and calzones, press paninis, and toss fresh salads.
The chefs at Egyptian Pizza trace their cooking techniques to a different side of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the practice of rising dough when they cooked crushed wheat germ and water inside early conical ovens. Honoring their forefathers’ methods, the versatile cooks pull more than 30 types of gourmet thin-crust pizzas out of their wood-fired ovens, along with a lengthy menu of Middle Eastern sandwiches and specialties. They take pains to use natural, fresh, and healthful ingredients to whip up plump fish kebabs, tender meat shawarmas and housemade sauces that have won over the palates of reporters from the Baltimore Sun. Their kitchen looks out onto the casual dining room, where servers help uncork BYOB bottles of wines beneath artwork depicting famous Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other toys left behind by aliens.
The comestible construction crew at Italian Gardens crafts a blueprint for fine Italian dining with a menu of tantalizing pastas, pizzas, and seafood, and décor that transports diners to lush Italian landscapes. Patrons practice taste-bud calisthenics with an order of battered and fried zucchini sticks with ranch dressing ($5.50) before working out their mandibles with orders of shrimp scampi, which rests jumbo shrimp, garlic, white-wine sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli on a springy mattress of penne noodles ($17.95). The chicken-breast parmigiana swaddles two tender chicken fillets in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese ($14.50) to sate solitary cravings, and an 18-inch New York–style cheese pizza is best shared among friends or amicable space botonists ($13.95).
Squire's Italian Restaurant dishes out an eclectic menu of heaping, hearty pizzas and pastas under the watchful eyes of Bob and Lorenzo Romiti, who took up the mantle after their parents built the restaurant more than half a century ago. Gratify growling bellies with a comforting bowl of cream of crab soup ($6) or a plate of steamed mussels in a white-wine and garlic sauce ($8.25) before indulging in Squire's homemade lasagna ($10.25) or imported tortellini, which melts local cheeses with its flawless pronunciation and thin mustache ($8.75). A children's menu featuring an assortment of pastas served with tomato sauce ensures overstuffed offspring ($6.25–$7.95), while carnivorous comfort-seekers can dig their knives into a land and sea platter, which find a quintet of shrimp landlocked on a 6-ounce island of New York strip ($21.95). Squire's menu also boasts a formidable selection of wines, cocktails, and beers, as well as a modest collection of aperitifs, which ease pleased palates into a state of pacified slumber ($4.25–$8.50).
Open since 1943, Matthew's Pizza has had plenty of time to rack up awards. In fact, the first page of its menu sports nothing but glowing press. Such recent accolades have included a spot on USA Today's list of 51 great pizza parlors, as well as Thrillist's 33 best pizzas in America. The latter sang the praises of Matthew's crab pie, a "perfect union of crab and pizza" crowned with caramelized onions and Old Bay seasoning.
Besides nearly 10 other specialty pies, Matthew's lets customers top their own creations with more than 25 ingredients, including housemade Angus meatballs and artichoke hearts. Along with pizza, Matthew's cooks whip up plenty of other Italian and pizzeria favorites, such as fries smothered with pizza sauce or pizza sauce smothered with even more pizza sauce.
Having grown up in the Bronx, and perhaps best known for writing and starring in A Bronx Tale, actor Chazz Palminteri has a close affinity for the New York City borough. So, it only seemed natural for him to team up with Baltimore restaurateurs Sergio and Alessandro Vitale and bring a little bit of the Bronx to Harbor East. First, they tackled Bronx-style pizza by equipping their restaurant with a coal-fired oven. Then they rounded out the menu with dishes often found on Arthur Avenue, one of the Bronx's main culinary strips. They hark back to Chazz’s home with pan-seared cuts of filet mignon and handmade pastas. Cocktails tangle together juices squeezed fresh daily, brandy-soaked cherries, and syrups made in house, and the extensive wine list pairs with cannoli, ending meals smoothly, unlike a carpenter who just has to show off how strong his table is.