Pizza Primo's staff members scurry to patrons' front doors and table sides bearing fresh pizzas, pastas, and subs. The shop's chefs rise bright and early to make dough from scratch and concoct homemade pizza sauce with vine-ripened tomatoes and a house blend of spices. Raised in a stone oven, specialty pies come in all tastes and sizes such as the 14-inch Primo's Special ($13.99), piled with a meaty trio of sausage, pepperoni, and meatballs, and the 14-inch Greek pizza ($13.99), topped with black olives, feta cheese, and a pillar from the Pantheon. Off the beaten path of artful pies, diners can also indulge in a hot sausage-and-green-pepper sub ($5.99) or spin a fork through a hearty plate of fettucine alfredo ($7.99).
The "Desi" in Ellie's Desi Kitchen refers to the diaspora of people from South Asia settled in all parts of the world?a fact reflected in the diverse range of dishes in the restaurant's menu. Guests chow down on an eclectic spread of steaks, chicken po' boys, veggie stir-frys, fluffy naan bread, spicy curries, and their specialty, a spicy chicken sub. The decor also reflects the cosmopolitan flavor of the bill of fare. Wall scrolls of flowers and birds hang over tables laden with American ketchup and mustard bottles, while a photomontage places Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum, and the Taj Mahal side by side?just like they are in real life.
Though born in Sicily, Gianpiero Cangelosi moved throughout Europe, developing his skills as a restaurateur. In 1987, he finally landed by parachute in Pembroke Pines and opened Capriccio's Ristorante with the help of his wife Karen. Their traditional take on Italian cuisine quickly earned them a loyal legion of followers, and eventually the demand was too great to fit into one dinning room. They expanded their space with a second dining room and a lounge where a 6’5” chandelier shimmers above an octagonal granite bar. But as much as its surroundings have changed, the quality and authenticity of the food—which has earned the eatery multiple OpenTable Diner’s Choice awards—has not. The restaurant’s waiters ferry dishes of salmon and pine nuts, rack of lamb, and Black Angus filet mignon to tables of quietly salivating guests. Bites of braised veal shank or calamari pair with a dizzying array of wines from Italy, California, and Chile.
The restaurant’s decor reflects the origins of its cuisine–white Corinthian pillars flank sunny yellow walls marked by brick accents, arches, and ornately framed paintings. Diners lounge in wrought iron chairs as they listen to the standup routines of local violinists and pianists.
Owner Jeff Cohen can still be found manning The Pizza Loft’s line more than 30 years after its inception, dishing up a menu of made-to-order Italian cuisine in an ultramodern kitchen wholly devoid of deep fryers and microwaves. Crafted by hand and topped with a robust homemade tomato sauce, the Loft’s piping panoply of pizzas is doughy shores bedecked with 100% real dairy mozzarella, fresh veggies, and hearty servings of sliced meatballs, ham, and sausage ($10.95+). Diners can scale the lasagna’s precarious layers, fixing pickaxes into its meat-packed peaks while scooping up the aromatic avalanche of a rich mushroom sauce ($11.95+). Plates of eggplant parmigiana, like Italy's organically grown supermodels, tastefully swathe themselves in stylish shrouds of spaghetti noodles ($13.95), and penne pasta dishes come sautéed-to-order in fragrant lochs of garlic butter or alfredo sauce ($9.95+).
Anthony Russo's parents came to the U.S. from Sicily and Naples with a mind to preserve their family traditions. So, it's no wonder that their son picked up their love for cooking. He studied at their side, learning to craft Italian food and what came to be known as New York?style pizza, though first he had to invent New York. When Anthony left New York to move to Texas, he decided to keep the tradition of his family's pizza alive by opening his own pizza joint, Russo's New York Pizzeria. Houstanians took to the pie, and the business took off. Now, people enjoy Anthony's family recipes in 16 Texas cities, six states, five countries, and multiple realities.
Chef Aldo Marcon grew up in Saronno, Italy, where he developed a passion for food in his grandmother's kitchen. He went on to attend culinary school in Milan, and after that, he worked at the well-known Cafe Fiorello in Manhattan. He eventually moved to New Orleans, where he cooked alongside such famed chefs as Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.
In 2008, chef Marcon moved once again, this time to Miami to work in some of the area's renowned Italian joints, including Quattro, and see if sharks like carpaccio as much as people. Now he is running his own eatery?Cinque Terre Restaurant.
Here, he delights diners with both Italian and Mediterranean favorites, including dishes such as Mediterranean mussels, served in a white wine garlic sauce with a touch of fresh tomato, and mele and gorgonzola, a salad of baby spinach, sweet gorgonzola cheese, sliced green apples, and lemon-olive oil dressing. For main fare, diners can choose from the likes of Mahi-mahi with shrimp, summer vegetables, roasted potatoes, and a lemon-caper sauce, or a succulent skirt steak served with roasted baby potatoes, summer vegetables, and cabernet sauvignon sauce.