For Avi and Michaella Ben-Ari, opening a restaurant was an obvious step to take together. Avi's keen mind for business and his entrepreneurial experience, coupled with chef Michaella's degree from Tadmor Culinary Arts school in Tel-Aviv, made for a natural partnership. With the goal of introducing area diners to the warmth and hospitality inherent to Middle Eastern dining rooms, the Ben-Aris and their staff fill the restaurant with the aromas of handmade dishes and photos of each diner's grandmother. They make all of their Levantine staples from scratch, crafting them only with organic vegetables and meats. In the bustling kitchen, chefs eschew canned and frozen ingredients for healthful ones such as fire-grilled eggplant, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken, and freshly diced tomatoes and cucumbers.
In the Tao Restaurant kitchen, chefs labor over stoves during the three-day process of crafting housemade noodles and broth for their authentic Japanese ramen dishes. Iron grills sizzle with the meats and seafood of Japanese teppanyaki and teriyaki entrees, and sushi chefs slice up colorful maki rolls, adorning them with flourishes of cucumber flowers, slivers of radish, and intricately sculpted dollops of wasabi. Servers bear plates out into the dining room, where sunlight pours in through towering windows onto sleek tabletops. Nearby, pots of bamboo shake gently as though they were caught in a ge
From the humble beginnings of a single, small pizzeria in Palo Alto back in 1978, Mountain Mike's Pizza grew to open more than 150 locations across California, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah. Today, each restaurant maintains a low-key, family friendly vibe, serving up a rousing menu of pizzas such as Everest, a mountain of pepperoni, italian sausage, salami, linguiça, beef, mushrooms, black olives, peppers, and onions.
The casual confines of Mountain Mike's Lafayette location showcase mountain photography, sports memorabilia, and a long line of craft-beer taps sporting the logos of Shock Top, Firestone, and Heretic. In addition to boasting the "largest on-tap craft beer selection in Lafayette," this Mountain Mike's is dedicated to its community, donating regularly to local schools, teams, and service organizations that build houses out of pizza dough. Live music and open-mic nights keep its calendar full, and a weekly buffet tops plates with unlimited portions.
This family-owned, Italian flag-colored eatery fed its first patron in 1998. Ever since, its chefs have stood behind stainless-steel countertops in the kitchen to hand-toss disks of dough into pizzas, which they slide into hot ovens on wooden peels. While the pies bake, they also stir the house-made pasta sauces bubbling atop burners. Lasagnas with meat sauce, marinated mushrooms, and ricotta cheeses bake inside ovens alongside signature pizzas. An example of one of these specialties is the pesto genovese with pancetta and fresh tomatoes. Traditional, house-made minestrone soup with seasonal vegetables, crisp salads, and veal parmigiano warms the palates of those who'd rather not swallow the planet Mercury.
The bright, clean walls of the dining area exhibit colorful paintings that include a wall-sized display of pink cherubs flying across a red background with pizzas in their outstretched arms.
Executive Chef Jason Scott and his staff of culinary gurus add colorful flourishes of sauce to deftly plate progressive American cuisine at Monaghan's On the Hill. A bouquet of aromas drifts from the golden crusts of chicken pot pie, swirling past a fireplace that warms hands and unrolled silverware. During warmer months, the strains of live Latin jazz, blues, and rock on the outdoor patio serve as a melodic backdrop to the syncopated click of billiard balls on expanses of green felt.