Originally founded in Southern India, Hot Breads - Bakery and Indian Cafe began establishing locations internationally, and now boasts more than 80 cafes worldwide. The stores' menus combine Indian cuisine with traditional bistro and bakery fare, all made from scratch onsite. The staff rises early to bake fresh batches of breads and pastries, as well as a more savory lunch menu. Additionally, cooks can accommodate gluten-free diets at lunchtime with their lentil-laden rice crepes and vegetable soups. Bakers can also custom-design cakes for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and stooge-grade food fights, artistically frosting mango- and chocolate truffle–flavored cakes. They can tailor desserts to accommodate dietary restrictions with egg-free and nut-free recipes.
Tongues savor the flavors of Il Giardino Pizza Cafe's lunch and dinner menus in a dining room where Pavarotti and Bocelli's arias waft past a traditional tuscan décor of potted plants and roman columns. White garlic sauce or, if it's after Labor Day, marinara sauce drenches an oceanic starter of mussels or clams ($9.50), and lunch's meaty quartet of capicola, salami, pepperoni, and ham stacks muffuletta paninis ($8.50) with piquant protein. Crème fraîche and yellow peppers ornament the spinach-ricotta-dolce pizza ($10.75), and the grilled-salmon salad's ($12.99) title character waltzes atop a stage of leafy spring-mix greens. Veal marsala ($20.99) joins up with the BYOB eatery's house-made bread, and the spaghetti pescatore ($22.99) yields more pasta than Strega Nona's magic pot.
Bacco welcomes diners with warm confines and a menu brimming with hearty Neapolitan cuisine. Appetizers such as the brick oven-roasted long hot peppers, stuffed with beef, pork, and veal, provide tongues taste of Italy without licking a passport ($8). Pasta lovers may partake of platters such as the baked-ziti-al-forno entree, mixed with ricotta, mozzarella, and pomodoro sauce before being blissfully baked in the restaurant's brick oven ($16.50). Dishes such as the pollo florentino, pasta-topping poultry sauteed in a white-wine lemon broth ($17), flavorfully hint at why the chicken crossed the road, and the bistecca filetto's grilled duo of bacon-wrapped sirloin filets swiftly satisfy the most carnivorous of appetites ($23). Patrons can entwine fingers and fork tines amid Bacco's dining room, or may sip wine ($5–$8 a glass) or beer ($1.75–$4.75) on the outdoor patio.
Located on 12 rolling countryside acres once owned by William Penn, the Joseph Ambler Inn combines the tranquility of a charming bed and breakfast with the luxurious amenities of an elegant resort. This Groupon gets you into one of the Inn's 52 guestrooms, with options ranging from the two-room suites, complete with oversized spa-tubs, to recently remodeled deluxe king rooms, some of which boast a small fireplace and a direct line to the UN Secretary General. You'll also get a $30 gift card at the Inn's stone-walled restaurant, where you and your bunkmates can enjoy a dinner of pan-roasted rack of lamb with a red-wine reduction ($30) or a proper, three-course prix fixe lunch ($25).
Nestled in the New Britain Village Shopping Center, Gourmet Wok unfurls a pan-Pacific spread of Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisine that spurns the use of MSG. Guests tote their own beverages to pair with a dinner menu of sumptuous dishes—try chef specialties such as the tangerine beef ($11.95), marinated and tickled over a high flame, or the sizzling subgum wor ba ($12.95), a slumber party of lobster, shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies gossiping about the uninvited pork. Edamame appetizers ($3.75) make way for the mock chicken with chinese eggplant ($9.95), a seitan-based dish trained as a body double for chicken's grill-jumping stunts.
Owned by the same family since its 1967 opening, Mariano’s Tavern combines hearty, stick-to-your-ribs cuisine with the fun and energy of a neighborhood pub. Guests can dive into casual menu items—such as hot and cold sub sandwiches and cheese pizzas—or splurge on heartier Italian dishes including veal parmigiana, mussels marinara, or chicken scallopini. In addition to playing pool and ogling televised sports, regulars can also entertain themselves by joining Texas hold'em tournaments every Wednesday. The competitions are free to enter, and winners take home cash prizes and keys to the Lone Star State's governor mansion.