A joint effort between two married couples, Chianti Cucina sees its creators pooling their varied talents together for an elegant dining experience. One of those talents just happens to be interior design, courtesy of part-owner Bonnie Robertson. The dining room exudes warmth, thanks to her vision of a floor-to-ceiling wine rack, community-table seating, and large mirrors framed with wood rescued from a Montana barn. Her husband, Mark, owned a restaurant in his native South Africa, making him the perfect complement to the eatery?s other half, longtime Bay area restaurateurs Ed and Josephine Pizzuti. Together, the couples have established Chianti Cucina as a place to explore innovative Italian fare and housemade recipes every day of the week.
Novato Café’s chef Marx Passos mans steaming pots and pans to forge a dinner menu of time-tested plates crowned with colorful sprays of fresh veggies. At the sound of the dinner bell, creamy avocado-and-bacon-cloaked cheeseburgers ($12) drive up napkin demand, and the Boston clam chowder ($6; available Fridays and Saturdays) fits swimmingly alongside a baby spinach salad, decorated with tomatoes, red onions, black olives, and cucumbers and blanketed in choice of dressing ($6 for small; $9 for large). Plates piled high with thin cuts of tenderized pan-fried steak ($9) and fillets of sautéed salmon ($12) swirl through the air from the kitchen to the table, providing the perfect opportunity to chow down and film a UFO hoax in the same night.
Generating 26.5 kilowatts, the solar panels atop Stefano's Solar Powered Pizza convert the sun’s rays into delicious pizza, earning the eatery recognition a Bay Area Green Business. Inside, ovens house pizzas such as the chicken garlic veggie pie or the Mill Valley favorite, known for its pepperoni, mushrooms, italian sausage, and firm handshakes. Calzones and hot sandwiches are sprinkled throughout the menu alongside fresh romaine salads, slices of pesto cheese garlic bread, and sips of wine or draft beer. Stefano's Solar Powered Pizza also helps with fundraising for schools, sports teams, and community organizations.
Translated from Italian, tavola means table, a place for friends and family to congregate around wine and simple, handcrafted food. Such is the inspiration behind Tavola Italian Kitchen, where chefs employ techniques steeped in Italian tradition to prepare dishes comprised of locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Along with the food, the restaurateurs behind Tavola rely on their network of purveyors to gather flowers, ceramics, and decor rather than bartering with their secret recipes for stuff at garage sales.
In the kitchen of Mauro's Pizza & Pasta, cooks make yeast-leavened dough by hand using organic flour as other cooks slow-cook tomato sauce with locally grown organic vegetables and herbs. Handcrafted signature pizzas such as the Genovese sport artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto, and custom pies are available in diverse combinations. For takeout, daily entree specials include artichoke lasagna with tomato-cream sauce and handmade ravioli pouches stuffed with butternut squash and walnut-sage brown butter—each designed to fill family dinner tables or family neck-mounted trays if tables have already been eaten.
The San Francisco Chronicle highlighted Gaspare's Pizzeria Ristorante Bar in its "Pizza of the Week" feature in 2008, in part due to the cooks who "work the dough like artists" to create the 27 different pies. Owned and operated by Gaspare, Daniel, and Robin Indelicato since 1985, the flagship San Francisco location showcases a vintage flair. The dining room sports murals of Bay Area scenes and jukeboxes blasting Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tunes. There’s even a ceiling draped with grapevines and bottles of chianti, which the servers trained to think they are bats. A second location opened in San Rafael in 2007. For his menu of Italian cuisine, Gaspare draws on his upbringing in Siculiana, Sicily, baking pans of bubbling lasagna alongside pizzas such as the feta-flecked mediterranean special. To round out meals, Robin Indelicato bakes her signature New York–style cheesecake and Italian-style tiramisu, which patrons may pair with espresso or a glass of imported Italian wine.