Andiamo Bistro offers patrons a menu of various regional, homemade edibles from the country that invented pasta tots. Slurp a soup of stracciatella ($6) to prepare for escargot de bourgogne ($14), flavored with garlic, thyme, butter, brandy, and moxie. A dish of chicken marsala ($18) supported by mushrooms and shallots stretches stomachs without leaving marks, and various choices of pasta—such as the penne puttanesca, which divvies out a healthy heap of tomatoes, anchovies, olives, and capers ($15)—enliven culinary fantasies with sparks of real-life spice and satisfaction.
Though they don't knead the dough themselves, customers at MyPie by Crust certainly have a hand in their pizzas' creation. That's because they dictate their assembly every step of the way. At the restaurant's front counter, chefs take requests for custom-built Neapolitan-style pies directly from their hungry patrons, beginning with the selection of a fresh-made white, wheat, or gluten-free crust. To top that fresh foundation, customers then select from five different sauces—including conventional pizza sauce, spicy fra diavolo, and savory BBQ—and an assortment of meat and vegetable toppings. Each pie then enters an 800-degree oven that cooks it to perfection in two minutes—roughly 10 times faster than a home oven might take, and roughly 100 times faster than it would take to bake it over a single candle. Though custom pizzas are the restaurant's forte, they also craft traditional varieties such as Margherita and Hawaiian—both mainstays of MyPie's parent company, Crust, whose multiple Arizona restaurants continue a legacy of using fresh, homemade, and local ingredients in crafting their signature pies.
Bravo Bistro's menu highlights local organic produce and fresh seafood and stems from the capable hands of co-owner and chef Tony Hamati, whose epicurean seeds were planted at the Culinary School of Jordan and the Sorbonne in Paris. Tickle tummies with the popular hummus and pita ($4) before shoving back head-rearing hunger with firm-handed forks and ricotta-and-spinach-stuffed eggplant ($17). The veal osso buco melts mouths with moist veal shanks, braised vegetables, and saffron-infused risotto ($38). Crunch through the lemon black-pepper-encrusted, pan-seared salmon ($21), or inquire about the fish of the day, flown in daily in the pouches of trustworthy pelicans (market price). Palates test their decision-making skills with a 47-bottle wine list, which includes varietals from California, Italy, Germany, and Australia.
The Gelato Spot’s frozen-dairy hotshots merge ingredients imported from Torino, Italy, and churn a bevy of creamy gelati and sorbets daily. The gelateria’s small tongue-chilling batches have earned the shop the title of Best Frozen-Yogurt/Ice Cream Spot in AZ Central's 2011 readers’ poll, which praises the eatery’s extravagant displays and cheerful staff. Though The Gelato Spot specializes in traditional Italian flavors, such as stracciatella and amarena, they also craft American renditions such as Snickers, new york cheesecake, and salted caramel. As diners shovel in glacial delights on The Gelato Spot's heated and misted patio, they can also cruise the web with complimentary WiFi.
Amid the bright, contemporary decor and open-air seating of Grazie’s two locations, the restaurant’s chefs roll out fresh, flavorful pizza dough and compile classic Italian specialties. Their menu of pastas and gourmet pizzas—which are crowned with toppings such as prosciutto, capers, and ricotta—complement the tannins of an expansive, all-Italian wine list. The pizzeria doubles as an off-sale wine shop, with each bottle curated by wise wine experts who tirelessly sniff out rare imports with the enthusiasm of grape-fixated bloodhounds. When Grazie's hospitable staffers aren't serving lunch or dinner, students from regularly scheduled Italian-language classes flood the restaurant space with the delicate syllables of useful phrases such as “What’s your name?” and "Are you going to finish that lasagna?"