Pies slathered in homemade sauce bake to a crisp, golden finish over hot embers inside ovens at Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza. 15 homemade Italian dinners, authentic pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches, and salads top tables inside both locations, which each sport exposed-brick walls and a bevy of flat-screen televisions.
The ambrosial aroma of Italian spices fills the air inside Pizza Time Caffé, which dishes up an extensive menu of pizza and traditional Italian favorites. The thin-and-crispy Grandma pizza with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce ($21.99) and the pizza caprese with fresh plum tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil ($15.99) are Italian-style pies that transport diners to the old country. Meanwhile, a 16-inch New York–style hand-tossed crust topped with mozzarella ($14.99), and additional toppings such as pepperoni or ricotta ($1.50 each), brings tears of joy to Empire State eyes faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play before saving twin babies from a burning building. Adventurous appetites can try a specialty pie such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and three cheeses ($26.95) to rebel against the traditional rules of pizza creation. For those seeking a less disk-based cheese-and-sauce infusion, Pizza Time Caffé offers an astounding variety of Italian classics such as lasagna ($12.99) and eggplant rollatini twisted up with ricotta cheese and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce and pasta ($14.99). A wide selection of subs suits hands-on diners in a hurry while cappuccinos ($4 each) and espressos ($2.50 each) keep their engines running.
Executive chef Kevin Lee's 20-year career rolling sushi pays off at Japango. His skills shine at the trendy eatery, where he creates more than 50 varieties of sushi rolls, including the Japango Lobster Bomb—a bundle of tempura lobster, asparagus, and fish eggs encased by a shell of tempura lobster. Lee's experience with cuisines outside of Japan is highlighted as well, as the menu features dishes such as pad thai and beef and broccoli.
Japango's popularity has warranted an expansion to two new locations. Both hot spots mimic the original restaurant's modern vibe, characterized by clean lines and dim, tear-drop lighting, which sets the mood for a romantic evening or a tantalizing game of footsie with a table leg.
If it lives in the ocean, there's a good chance The Whale Raw Bar and Fish House serves it on its menu. From dolphin to lobster and shrimp to clams the chefs prepare a spread of fresh seafood, including a full raw bar and entrees that come in the form of sandwiches, tacos, and fajitas. The interior of the dining area makes for a fitting accomplice to the menu's selection, with lobster and crab traps on display and a stuffed orca whale suspended from the ceiling. Outside, patio dining enhances meals with lakeside breezes.
The chef and namesake of Meyer's Latin Bistro, Meyer Pinchassow, incorporates global culinary trends and personal inspiration into dishes from Spain, Cuba, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Beyond praising the food, a review in Life Magazine's Good Eats Dining Guide said, of owners Meyer and his wife, Claudia, that he is "classically trained, with skills lovingly honed by family recipes and traditions," and she "brings a business acumen, lovable people skills and a warmth to the table." Chef Pinchassow uses both his instincts and an education from The International Culinary School while creating dishes such as paella valenciana with seafood and chorizo or slow-roasted chicken with fresh strawberries and honey-glazed walnuts.
The restaurant's upbeat, welcoming vibe stems from occasional live Latin music and its warm, rustic decor. The walls have been painted with flowers and patterns that resemble natural rock formations and the boulders that are traditionally rolled through cornfields to make tortillas.
A belly dancer deftly balances a sword on her head as her hips shimmy expertly to the beat of live Greek music on the patio of Mythos Greek Taverna. Shouts of “Opa!” rise from the doorway as black-clad wait staff usher in flaming plates of saganaki, the luscious cheese going gooey at the touch of the fire. The lively atmosphere is mirrored by equally lively cuisine crafted by Chef Christina Lempesi, who emigrated from Athens in 2007. Along with her tea, the chef whips up traditional Greek cuisine from scratch, without the help of a traditional Greek kitchen minotaur. Her platters of lamb and lemon-drizzled chicken, grilled kebabs, and charbroiled seafood arrive to tables surrounded by hanging plants and faux brick and stucco walls. Outside, umbrellas in classic Greek blue shield white-clothed tables from the spray of the fountain as diners enjoy a breezy meal.