It’s all about ambiance at Galleria Ristorante, a more-than-28-year-old institution in Westbury. On weekends, a musician takes to the eatery’s baby grand piano, filling the air with soft tunes. Every night, guests gather in the dining room, where waiters deliver hearty Northern Italian fare. Chefs ladle diced veal ragu over house gnocchi, bake shrimp parmigiana, and sauté boneless chicken breasts with four types of mushrooms: shiitake, porcini, oyster, and free lives from Super Mario. The Zagat-rated food pairs well with the restaurant’s wine menu and travels well, too—the staff also mans a catering branch.
Greek immigrant Louis Santikos founded his first movie theater in San Antonio in 1911, when silent moving pictures of train robberies and slapstick comedy were an exciting novelty. Today, the thriving regional theater empire continues the family tradition of dazzling audiences with attractions such as IMAX sensory journeys.
Santikos's expansive theaters house up to 19 screens of first-run cinematic entertainment at some locations. Equipped with popcorn and sodas, moviegoers can nervously munch and sip their way through every pulse-pounding car chase, tragic missed connection, or gripping montage of drying paint. Screenings in 3-D of select films are brought to life by the gloriously immersive illuminations of Xpand 3-D projectors.
Calda Pizzeria & Restaurant’s extensive menu of pizzas, piles of pasta, and burgers parades past gleaming tables flaunting time-tested Italian flavors. Diners can share 18-inch chicken-club pizzas ($21.95) decorated with produce, bacon, and ranch dressing, or guard their own personal-size eggplant-and-ricotta pies ($9.95) from herbivorous velociraptors. The Pizzeria burger ($9.95) merges the best of both worlds by draping a half-pound slab of Angus beef in homemade tomato sauce and a mantle of melted mozzarella. Linguine fruti di mare ($17.95) lets a school of mussels, calamari, and shrimp play Marco Polo in a pool of marinara sauce, and california penne with sun-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken, and broccoli spears ($12.95) lobs crisp fistfuls of veggies like a farmer on a Carnival float. The Levittown eatery features soft lighting and a row of burnt-sienna stools, and windows at the Hicksville establishment admit cascades of natural light.
True to its name, Crossroads marks the intersection of two seemingly dissimilar hangouts: it houses an elegant dining room clad in black linens and yellow wall sconces where pastas, steaks, and seafood are served, as well as a sports bar stocked with pub grub. As Crossroads' famous marinated skirt steak and seafood fra diavolo top plates in the dining room, the bar's 15 TVs—each one baked fresh that day in time for the game—join a jukebox in wooing eyes and ears. Special events include visits from a local medium who tries to connect clients with the afterlife, get-togethers to cheer on the Rangers and Jets, and holiday meals.
An uber-extensive menu of Italy’s favorite dishes are recreated day after day inside Papa Louie’s Pizzeria. Piles of penne and spaghetti pair with fresh italian bread ready to be dunked into a medley of sauces for their own Rorschach test. Chicken, eggplant, and veal change costumes with a marsala, parmigiana, and francaise dressing. The staff bakes 15 specialty pizzas that come in circles or squares, just like the schoolwork given to kindergartners and the most advanced babies. Heros sandwiches are chockfull of baked eggplant, buffalo chicken, and Nani’s famous meatballs. The catering leg of Papa Louie’s Pizzeria feeds partygoers at myriad celebrations: graduations, birthdays, and surprise spring-cleaning parties.
For Anthony and Domenico Sacramone, cooking is about passion and tradition. The two brothers opened Sacramone's Restaurant to share the recipes and techniques passed down through the family, from their grandmother's kitchen in Abruzzo, Italy, to their mother's kitchen in the United States. Many of the dishes on their classic Italian menu were once treasured secrets of their mother, Maddalena, and they can now be savored nightly by patrons. Entrees include traditional preparations of veal, chicken, and eggplant, and a coal oven produces blistering pizzas made with housemade mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. Diners can also add Mama's famous meatballs and sausages to any dish for an extra-meaty meal.