The chefs at Amarsi Ristorante handcraft every sauce on the menu, from the lemon-white-wine sauce that adds brightness to veal piccata to the classic marinara that preps meatballs to be shot through a cannon. The from-scratch condiments contribute to the traditional menu’s appeal, which was summed up in Tucson Weekly when the restaurant was described as “one of those places where I wish the company would spring for more than just two visits.” Servers–all of whom boast at least 20 years of industry experience–are happy to recommend pairings from Amarsi Ristorante’s ample wine list. As diners sup, their eyes can wander from crisp white tablecloths topped with fresh flowers and candles to views of the mountains outside.
At J. Marinara's, chefs create Old World dishes that showcase East Coast Italian ingredients such as aromatic garlic and sweet tomatoes. Dining posses grab a seat by the fireplace or sip on a selection from the full bar at J. Marinara's outdoor dining area. If a single plate of pasta ignites a newfound culinary fixation, ask a server about take-home bottles of their housemade sauce, available for purchase and a flavorful complement to any bare linguine or minimalist wall hanging.
For decades, the dedicated pizza purveyors behind Magpies have woven together appealing pies that burst at their dough-seams with ingredients made fresh on-site every day. The expansive menu presents an appetizing array of options. Specialty pies—such as the Godfather, which manages a tightly knit family of mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, and romano cheeses and a meaty gang of Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, and capicola ($2.99 slice, $14.99 12", $17.99 14", and $20.99 16")—carry out quick, efficient digestive hits. Culinary constructioneers, meanwhile, can design their own doughy disc ($2.99 per slice, $10.99 12", $12.99 14", $14.99 16"). Starting with a foundation of New York–style regular, wheat, or crispy-sourdough crust, add a decorative daub of fresh sauce such as house red, tomato pesto, or barbecue sauce. From there, add on cheeses, veggies, and meats (extra ingredients cost $0.50 per slice, $1.49 each for 12", $1.79 each for 14", and $1.99 each for 16")—or indulge your mad scientist by piling together anchovies, fresh cilantro, pineapple, piñon nuts, and feta cheese and then bringing it to life during an electrical storm.
Hailed by Phoenix magazine, among others, for its "mix of whimsy, talent, kitchen smarts and great service," Jax Kitchen concocts upscale comfort fare that blends the familiar with the sophisticated. The eatery’s seasonal dishes, featuring favorite foods of the owners and head chef Virginia Wooters, dress up new york strip steak with sunny-side quail eggs and load sea-scallop chowder with poblano peppers and house-made cornbread croutons. Inside the dining area, soft lighting illuminates each bite, and brick archways form the entrance to an outdoor patio area where patrons can sip cocktails and wines and inhale uninhibited amounts of oxygen.