Located in an Erie landmark eatery, la bella entices appetites with an extensive menu of homemade dishes served in a casual setting. Wanting to look perfect for its big dinner plate, the curly-leaf spinach takes a quick dip into the deep fryer ($6), while the sweet italian sausage prefers a long, hot bath in a sweet-and-sour poached-fig-and-date sauce ($8). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find the ragu bolognese ($15) leading a roster of palate-pleasing pastas, as the lobster mac 'n' cheese ($25) and honey-jalapeño ahi tuna ($18) flaunt their flavors elsewhere on the menu. A nearby plant hatchery supplies the key component for vegetarian classics such as the eggplant parmesan ($18) and the eggplant veracruz ($17). Gluten-free guidelines help diners discern diet-friendly dishes such as the bittersweet chocolate-apricot cake ($8).
Rum Runners Cove serves up burgers, seafood, sandwiches, salads, and other American classics in its dining room, with views of Presque Isle Bay, thatched umbrellas, and a 40-foot atrium that give the feel of the tropics. Appetizers such as 24-ounce pretzels with three sauces prepare diners for entrees that range from grilled mahi-mahi and Maryland crab cakes to bourbon-glazed chicken and half-pound Texas steak-house burgers with banana peppers and steak sauce.
The Fifth Season Restaurant's chefs prep robust steakhouse classics with upscale panache. Situated in an old tavern, the restaurant's muted, earth-toned dining room complements its woodsy surroundings. Warmer seasons bring outdoor seating, where eyes feast upon the surrounding game reserve and mouths dine on selections from the rich menu. Oil rusty jaw-hinges with appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms broiled with crabmeat and swaddled in a melted swiss-cheese blanket ($8). Entrees include the seafood puff pastry ($25), which allows diners to taste a variety of underwater delicacies without the hassle of stealing a shark's lunchbox, as well as the center-cut USDA-choice filet mignon ($26 for 6 oz.) and top sirloin ($12 for 6 oz.). The wine list offers a cornucopia of more than 700 domestic and imported Dionysian delights.
In the old times, markets were the center of social life, and aluminum was more precious than gold. Today's deal is more valuable than Charles Martin Hall's electrolytic process for refining aluminum. Stop by the cozy Italian market il Mercato to use your $5 Groupon toward $10 worth of fresh and premium bites and sips. You can purchase as many as you want, but are limited to one use per visit.
Plucked from a watery upbringing and cast into market, seafood circulates throughout Benkovitz Seafood daily to uphold the fresh, homemade promise of every fishy feast. Start from the top of the high-seas menu with a signature fried-fish sandwich ($6.95). Clumped and lumped jumbo crab cakes ($8.95 each) or salmon cakes ($6.95 each) provide seaworthy portions properly composed to uphold most birthday candles. Fragile fingers can improve baiting dexterity with heartily shrimpy portions of shrimp in a basket ($4.95), coconut shrimp with mango sauce ($4.95), or shrimp off the deli ($12.95–$20 per pound).
In 1938, J. Oliver Wintzell opened a tiny seafood joint on Dauphin Street in historic Mobile, Alabama. With room for just six customers to hop up on barstools and sample oysters prepared in three signature styles—"fried, stewed, or nude"—the eatery harbored modest ambitions and kept itself in check with walls strewn with Oliver’s homespun sayings. Oysters this great can’t remain a secret for long, though, and Wintzell’s Oyster House began to grow at such a rate that Oliver was compelled to expand to new locations throughout Alabama and beyond—by bringing the tastes and flavors of the Gulf Coast to Pittsburgh.
Despite the restaurant’s rapid growth, remarkably little has changed since those early days. Oliver’s wit and wisdom still cover the walls, and the menu still tempts with its stuffed crabs, USDA-certified steaks, and signature oysters. In keeping with the cozy atmosphere Oliver cultivated by necessity more than 70 years ago, shuckers stationed at the oyster bar chat with diners as they garnish half shells with hickory-smoked bacon and slap away the tentacles of sneaky krakens. Tom Bross of Delta's Sky magazine has some helpful words of advice for first-time visitors to the restaurant: "Let the Southern hospitality, laid-back tempo and maybe a cold one help you unwind."