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.
The pizza experts at Vinny's Pizzarama endlessly innovate new flavor combinations to construct a robust menu sizzling with an impressive array of pan, gourmet, and stuffed pies. Tasting teams begin synchronized digestion with starters such as the curly cheese fries with cheddar or mozzarella, or a plate of beer-battered onion rings. Patrons can relive perilous lemon-hunting expeditions on the isle of Capri with a large chicken caprese salad, which bursts with romaine, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and diced tomatoes. Dough-lovers can nosh on a pan pizza, such as a red or white bacon-tomato pie, or stuffed pies including the chicago pizza with fresh-ground sausage. For voracious herbivores, the veggie lover's pizza delivers with broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms, and the gourmet hot-wings pizza combines tender chicken wings with a sauce hotter than the Swedish Bikini Team's five-alarm chili recipe.
When Benito Marcantuono opened his pizzeria in 1999, he chose the name Soprano's because he has a fondness for music. Three months before, however, the HBO series The Sopranos premiered, and its popularity helped this little pizzeria gain a following. That following has stayed with the eatery, due to its vast menu, which lists something for virtually anyone. New York–style pizzas, pasta, hoagies, and calzones present a wide portion of the Italian-food spectrum. Specialty pizzas take on unusual toppings such as provolone cheese, cheesesteak, and hot sauce—making for menu items that are unexpected and delicious, like a plot twist on The Sopranos.
Tony Altomare’s Italian eatery crafts Neapolitan-style pizzas with freshly made dough and homemade sauces, gaining accolades such as the title of best pizza from the Philly Hot List in 2010. Diners can peruse the menu and sink teeth into one of the pre-designed pies, such as the mozzarella-, basil-, and tomato-sauce-adorned margherita pizza ($13.99 for a large), or the romano pizza splattered with pepperoni, sausage, philly steak, and bacon ($15.99 for a large). The grilled eggplant and verdant fillings of the veggie delight wrap ($6.59) offer a tastier alternative to nibbling on various houseplants; a buffalo chicken stromboli ($7.59–$15.59) or one of the homemade hoagies ($6.29–$6.59) reenergize patrons who have spent long hours writing a book in binary code. Tony’s menu varies with each location, so check each restaurant’s website for a complete listing of its belly-tickling fare selection.
Piesmiths at Apollo Pizza partner an array of sides and salads with made-to-order pizzas slathered with sauce, covered in cheese, and polka-dotted with a potpourri of toppings. Descend fork first in to a chicken-caesar or greek salad before eschewing silverware to grab sides—such as onion rings, jalapeño poppers, or bacon-and-cheese-topped mega fries—with hands or telepathic mind powers. A serving of 10 buffalo wings smothered in sauce round out pre-main-course noshings before a fully customizable pie arrives at tables laden with four toppings plucked from a cache of more than 15 accouterments, including roasted peppers, ricotta cheese, and sausage. Throughout the meal, diners can split 2 liters of Coca-Cola, sipping it from individual glasses or, in accordance with Italian tradition, chugging it straight from the bottle while dancing the tarantella.