An extensive wine selection washes down elegant Italian meals at Saltimbocca Italian Bistro. Chefs slow-braise veal shank to craft the eatery’s signature osso buco entree, and fresh herbs such as basil and tarragon sprinkle plates of shrimp, scallops, and snapper. Steaks and chops don dapper dressings, including sautéed crimini mushrooms and a 25-year-old balsamic reduction still unsure of what to do with its liberal-arts degree.
A blue awning and fragrant wall of tropical flowers transform Taso’s Greek Taverna’s patio into a private enclave, illuminated by a string of twinkling lights. Inside, the ambiance is no less welcoming: sunlight streams through windows and illuminates pale-yellow walls and paintings of Mediterranean vistas. At the restaurant’s sister location, Taso’s Greek Taverna 2, the atmosphere is just as charming, with glistening wooden tables and a serpentine ceiling outlined with fluorescent light.
The ambiance is the first sign of Chef Taso Katechis’s commitment to celebrating Mediterranean culture. In the kitchen, chefs roast lamb and beef, stuff fresh fish and flaky filo dough with spinach and feta, and garnish their edible masterpieces with traditional accoutrements of Greek potatoes and warm, homemade pita. Additionally, they serve up a kid’s menu of Greek specialties to help create an experience that’s pleasing to both children and parents, much like a sock-puppet rendition of Law and Order.
As a pleasantly unpretentious pizza and pasta paradise, Rotelli entices regulars who stop by for lunch and dinner to gather with friends, raise a few glasses, and indulge in fine Italian meals. The menu taps its homeland heel with light starters, such as bruschetta italiana ($6.99) and crispy calamari ($9.99). It sends a swooping high-kick well north of Sicily with chicken parmigiana, layered in ricotta and mozzarella, served with pasta ($15.99), and hand-tossed Napoletana pizza, dressed in pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and sausage ($10.99 for 10", $18.99 for 16").