Drawing on skills he refined at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Benvenuti's Ristorante's executive chef, Anthony Compagni, deftly incorporates contemporary touches into the menu's traditional, Old-World recipes. Hints of saffron lend a twist to the lobster ravioli, and herb-crusted lamb chops appear alongside sautéed watercress and greek yogurt. Although he imports handmade pastas from Abruzzo, Italy, Compagni also makes mozzarella in-house and sources local, organically grown produce whenever possible.
Wooden cube shelves dominate the dining room's brick walls and display a selection of wines from the restaurant's 150-bottle-strong wine list, which includes representative tipples from countries around the world. A rolling, library-style ladder allows servers to effortlessly snag a bottle from the higher shelves without the hassle of welding spare corkscrews into a jetpack.
Othello's has been dishing out authentic Italian eats in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere since 1973. A salivary-gland punching perusal of the menu reveals fried calamari sprinkled liberally with parmesan cheese and served with a sidecar of cocktail sauce ($7.99), along with a fresh caprese salad ($8.99) to spike the net of your flavor sensors. Savor a center-cut fillet grilled to grilly perfection ($20.99), or the chicken marsala served with a side of spaghetti ($13.99). Fettuccini alfredo ($8.99) and portobello parmigiana ($9.99) round out a list of classic selections, much like a viewing of The Terminator at a bildungsroman marathon. Pizza pies are available with scrumptious toppers such as olives, artichokes, garlic, and fresh basil (starting at $10.99 and ranging up to $14.99 for a 16" with unlimited toppings). Friendly, even-handed staff members dole out sage advice to patrons deliberating over which dessert, wine, or martini best complements their meal or complexion.
Fontana Italian Restaurant's family of epicures transforms fresh pastas, meats, and seafood into plate-bound celebrations of flavor and texture. The chefs forge baked pastas–such as manicotti and eggplant roletini–with smooth ricotta cheese, and coat chicken and veal in crunchy breading and gooey mozzarella. Topped with pepperoni, sausage, and onions, specialty pizzas come in three different sizes, much like bullfrogs' yearbook photos.
Hot, bubbly pizzas are the name of the game at Take or Bake Pizza, no matter whether patrons purchase them baked or raw. For the latter, they can pop them in the oven or store them in the freezer upon arriving home. The pies—available with three kinds of crust, four kinds of sauce, and nearly 15 topping options—can be paired with calzones, wings, and breadsticks.
Deli-meat missionary Danny Falcone emigrated from New York's Little Italy to bring Falcone-family favorites to Oklahoma City. A hot sandwich, such as the meatball parmigiana, makes an Italian classic accessible in the forkless wasteland that is lunchtime eating ($7.95). A slice of spinach pizza satisfies triangular cravings ($3), and an entire square Sicilian pie corners growling stomachs ($14.99). Try a Manhattan Special soda, which washes down deli delights in a sugary sarsaparilla bath, or tickles sugar tusks with vanilla bean-y bubbles ($2.50). For those who prefer to eat at home, where there’s a comfortable armchair and no unfamiliar ghosts, there are by-the-pound deli items, such as olives stuffed with prosciutto, garlic, jalapeño, and cheese ($9.50 per pound) and imported Italian artichokes ($12.99 per pound). Click here to see the full menu.
At Napoli's, reverent chefs recreate the tastes of their Old World ancestors in the form of scratch-made pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Build-your-own pies arrive sprinkled with 100% real provolone and toppings ranging from pepperoni, ham, and bacon to onions, black olives, and green peppers. Doused in house-made sauces, Napoli's pastas include Italian mainstays such as spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, and five-cheese lasagna. Their sandwich menu continues the old country love fest, filling plates with Mediterranean specialties including chicken cacciatore subs, meatball heroes, and paninis cut into the shape of Silvio Berlusconi.