Dave Pazienza first donned a toque in the kitchen of his father's restaurant where he learned family recipes from his fellow Italian chefs. He emerged from that experience eager to share those culinary traditions with as many people as possible, which he does from behind the counter at Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen. Tables gaze directly into the open kitchen, allowing guests to watch as cooks reduce steaming pots of wine, cream, and spices or whittle each individual strand of pasta. Extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and eight signature sauces invigorate the platefuls of freshly cut linguini or imported, whole-wheat penne.
From the pizza oven, scents hint at more than 20 toppings including granny smith apples, gorgonzola cheese, capers, and herb-roasted chicken. The dining room's pastel yellow and orange walls mirror the warmth of the oven beneath vintage-inspired paintings of pasta and wicker-wrapped chianti bottles.
Capo's dough doyens cater to circular chow connoisseurs and saucy sustenance seekers with an extensive menu of made-to-order Mediterranean munchables prepared from scratch. The classic margherita pizza feeds multiple diners and at least one teenage turtle with basil-bolstered mozzarella baked over a golden crust ($16). Fans of edible entanglements can take a break from chewing pretzels and spying on gummy bear yoga classes to order an appetizer of garlic knotz, a serving of freshly baked dough coiled into tasty contortions of garlic, olive oil, romano, and tomato sauce ($4 for six, $6 for 13). The Eggplant Mary Ann boasts a mouth-pleasing medley of eggplant, seasoned spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella swathed in tomato sauce and served with linguini ($10), while the pomodoro pasta satiates taste buds with sautéed shrimp, roasted garlic, tomato, basil, and romano on a bed of penne ($11).
Carefully wrapped cuts of meat and sausages and encased salami fly over the deli counter at Rocco's New York Italian Deli as staffers craft the homemade Italian entrees that compose this traditional deli’s menu. Owner Adam Kahn draws upon his family’s recipes to craft a selection of meat, cheeses, and desserts available by the pound and savory dishes that burst with classic Italian ingredients like a tomato vine when rent is due. Almost every morsel is made from scratch, from the sweet crust of Grandma’s cheesecake to the homemade bread made fresh every morning to ensconce the deli meats in a selection of hot and cold sandwiches. The deli also sources some specialty items straight from Italy to showcase the country's flavorful pepperoncini, piquant Reggiano parmigiana, and tart limonata, lending customers a taste of authentic Italian treats without needing to install a gelato-cast statue of David.
Zucca was founded by a trio of forlorn New York natives who longed for a taste of a thin, crispy-crusted, Staten Island–style pie. The results are presented on a menu dense with Italian delights. Starters such as crispy fried risotto and mozzarella balls ($7) and fresh bruschetta ($6.25) make satisfying meal bases for the award-winning pizzas. Pies are offered in two sizes—personal portions ($8+) or 18" discs ($13+)—and come customizable with more than 25 toppings, including bacon ($2), eggplant ($2), and roasted red peppers ($3). Specialty pies such as the expo-winning victory pie ($19 for 18" pie), a Margherita pizza with parsley sausage, mushrooms, and shaved parmesan, will tame topping negotiations, while hand-held calzones ($7–$9) and the extensive selection of popular pasta dishes ($10–$15) and entrees ($13–$21) are sure to delight.
Amuse!’s airy, bohemian atmosphere welcomes guests with fresh ingredients and imaginative French dishes. For lunch, patrons can begin with a helping of organic chicken and dumplings ($7) followed by an egg-bun burger with tomato marmalade, crispy onions, and mustard ($11). Dinnertime customers initiate ingestive engines with goat-cheese fritters ($7) served with honey and fennel pollen, delightful charred octopus ($10) with onion and avocado, or a leafy bibb-lettuce salad ($8) carousing in a ravishing raiment of hazelnut vinaigrette. Entrees such as the Tasmanian salmon ($20) and the peppery entrecote au poivre ($27) complemented by mashed potatoes and spinach fill stomachs to their fill points. Amuse! also offers brunch fare on the weekends, including blueberry corncakes with sorghum syrup and vanilla butter ($7) and sweet Georgia shrimp and grits ($12).
Mojo Pizza N' Pub has topped its signature New York-style sesame crust with house-made sauce since 1998. Each pizza is baked on a pizza stone, including the Muffaletta with pepperoni, smoked ham, olives, and pepperoncinis, and the Mardi Gras, which tosses smoked bacon, Italian sausage, peppers, mushrooms, and onions around the necks of enthusiastic onlookers. In addition to pizza, Mojo creates eight salads, such as Greek and chicken Caesar, douses chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, and assembles beef lasagna in house. Beers from 13 rotating taps join wine and cocktails behind the bar, whose libations complement slices both indoors and on the outdoor dog-friendly patio. Mojo Pizza N' Pub hosts trivia nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and plugs in an array of video games to entertain younger diners.
Via's multilevel space boasts a snazzy bar, a serene dining area, and a highly trained chef. Small plates let guests sociably savor spinach ravioli ($6.95/small), hummus ($6.95), and mussels di Napoli ($9.95), which also make perfect main courses for Lilliputian housewarming parties. Pizzas, smothered in San Marzano Tornato tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, rise to their crispy potential inside a wood-burning, ceramic-brick oven. Study the basic pizza-flavor profile with the margherita pizza ($10.95) or touch all taste buds with the prosciutto and fig version ($14.95). Catch up on summer reading by perusing Via’s vast wine menu, where a glass of Renzo Masi chianti cleanses the palate between bites ($8/glass).