Vibrant murals of an Italian countryside span the walls of Palermo Pizzeria & Restaurant, setting the scene for a dining experience inspired by the region. Lobster tails, grilled steaks, and piles of spaghetti populate plates atop linen tablecloths in the dining room, alongside crispy pizza crusts weighed down by plum tomatoes, Spanish olives, and blue cheese. A wood-hewn bar ensures wine glasses and mugs stay full throughout meals and its attached TV keeps patrons entertained.
The glowing embers in a rustic brick hearth reach temperature heights of 700 degrees Fahrenheit as they bake pizzas. Once they’ve been adequately roasted, pizzas emerge from brick ovens bubbling and topped with now crisp leaves of basil, soft tomato slices, arugula, and tender chicken. Chefs prepare 15 specialty varietals of pizza using traditional maple- and oak-fired methods that date back to the time when the Ancient Romans invented fire and imparts a toasty crispness to each disc. Pasta noodles mingle with creamy pesto sauce or skirt steak, while slices of foccocia bread ensnare morsels of roasted eggplant, meatballs, or lightly breaded chicken.
Diners can customize pies with à la carte ingredients such as sausage, fresh pineapple, and arugula or opt for the prearranged flavors, which include a ricotta-bedecked bianca pizza and an entree-combining chicken-parmigiana pizza. Four fountain drinks keep bellies happily hydrated, although a diplomatic BYOB policy allows guests to supplement dinners with fermented beverages. Diners can nosh in an all-season garden room, where a vaulted-glass ceiling maintains a pleasant climate through summer, winter, and impending ice ages.
Chomp down on a forkful of Italy in North Bergen at 90 Park Restaurant, which serves up a traditional menu of Italian favorites. For a light lunch, consider a cup of minestrone and a grilled chicken panini, bolstered by mozzarella, arugula, roasted peppers, and garlic pesto. Come dinnertime, tear into a brick-oven pizza Romana—fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, chopped tomatoes, arugula, and olive oil—or a heaping plate of eggplant rigatoni. For a sweet take on your entree, look no further than the pumpkin ravioli. An international list of wines and classic desserts round out the menu.