Pulling from his years of formal training in culinary arts, chef Gabe Catalano captains a crew of highly trained chefs in Terrazza's kitchen. The team labors over pots of bubbling pastas and pans of sizzling meats and seafood before adorning them all with handcrafted sauces. Meanwhile, behind the bar, drink masters dole out glasses of fine Italian and California wines alongside specialty cocktails.
In the dining room, white tabletops speckle the floors beneath a sweeping mural of an Italian countryside. In the front of the restaurant, a red awning stretches out over a sunny front patio. Like an eye using a magnifying glass as a monocle, the restaurant's elegant bar transitions into a hotspot as the night wears on.
At Bar Cara, chef Ryan DePersio uses rustic Italy as the inspiration for his upscale, mouthwatering meals, served in a modern and casual environment. Kick-start a culinary quest with an order of mascarpone polenta fries, served with gorgonzola sauce ($10), then envelop hug-loving taste buds in an embrace of slightly charred thin-crust pizza, such as the tomato basil with mozzarella cheese ($9). When overhead jumbo jets ring the northern hemisphere's primary dinner bell, meat-fanciers can opt for the veal Milanese with arugula and a cherry-tomato salad ($19). The impressive wine list at Bar Cara includes champagne and prosecco along with whites and reds, served both by the bottle and the glass. After dinner, let pastry chef Cynthia DePersio’s cupcake platter, which includes banana with caramel buttercream, carrot with cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate with chocolate buttercream, take your endorphins on a magic platter ride. Glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick craft a warm and rustic aura around Bar Cara, and evenings are suffused with amber illumination from low lighting.
Al Cavaliere Ristorante was built upon three pillars of a classic Italian culinary experience: good food, friendly service, and engaging décor. It’s no wonder, then, that the restaurant doesn’t turn to generic recipes, or a Magic 8 Ball, as inspiration for its menu. Instead, Al Cavaliere prepares dishes that have populated tabletops across Italian villages for generations—including those influenced by the changing seasons. Those edible bits of history make themselves known in more than 10 different pastas, such as the rigatoni vodka, which features hollow pasta in a sweet or spicy sauce with tomato, basil, and a hint of cream. The restaurant’s hospitality efforts extend to a dining room that emanates Tuscan charm, complete with warm maroon walls and sprawling oil paintings.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.
The Carlino family serves authentic, home-style Italian fare as well as gluten-free versions of Italian favorites to satisfy pasta-craving customers. Diners commence with a small plate of stuffed artichoke or white anchovies with green olives and capers. Postantipasti, forks delve into plates of pasta with broccoli and baby shrimp or backflip into a ball pit of tender veal meatballs with house-made tomato sauce. Hearty entrees furnish equal parts meat and Old-World nostalgia, with seafood risotto and chicken cacciatore served with mushrooms, pancetta, and herbs splashed with a white-wine sauce to conjure memories of Nona's kitchen. A gluten-free menu accommodates the wheat-weary by carefully editing Italian staples, swapping regular pasta for gluten-free penne, topping eggplant parmigiana with gluten-free breadcrumbs, and outfitting the restaurant's resident angels with synthetic wigs instead of their traditional edible strands.