Pumpkin-orange walls radiate cozy, autumnal vibes at Fiore’s IV Italian Restaurant as servers deliver warm bowls of mussels and comforting slices of lasagna. As crisp as a freshly ironed lettuce leaf, white linens lend tables an air of elegance, which extends to signature dishes such as lobster ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes and pink vodka sauce. Salads and house-baked rolls accompany each entree, accenting chicken, veal, and sole with verdant hues and crunchy textures.
Plainville Restaurant & Pizza has been stacking sandwiches, baking specialty pastas, and slathering sauce and toppings across tasty thin crust pies for 25 years. Diners can mouth-mash appetizers such as fried cheese ravioli ($8.75) before sinking incisors into more substantial fare from the expansive menu. Specialty pies include the extra-large spinach and ricotta pizza ($17.50), which sates adventurous taste buds wandering across a mozzarella field strewn with sausage and olive boulders. Verdure votaries can dive mouth-first into the vegetarian pizza awash with broccoli, mushrooms, and eggplant ($17.50). Specialty and baked pastas include fresh veal parmigiana ($13.95) and stuffed manicotti ($9.95), with the latter guarding gooey cheese from prey inside tantalizing tubular noodles. Sandwich-seekers can lure wandering coyotes with more than 20 grinders ($4.50–$9) or bun-splitting chicken sandwiches such as the crispy chicken with bacon and cheese under a blanket of ranch dressing ($8).
Confetti applies the compounded knowledge and one-of-a-kind recipes of three generations of Mediterranean chefs to craft its Italian-inspired menu of fresh seafood and handmade pastas. The Zagat-rated eatery galvanizes gun-shy appetites with starters such as sauteéd Prince Edward Island mussels bathed in garlic, oil, and fra diavolo ($9). The kitchen roasts its twin Grecian lamb shanks ($22) until they house more stores of tenderness than the feelings of an artistically inclined kitten. Meanwhile, fresh scialatielli with clam sauce arrives sporting shucked clams, minced mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and aromatic basil ($15). Minimalist-minded diners can keep dinner simple with a single grain of salt or a light greek salad adorned with vine-ripened tomatoes, cured olives, imported Greek feta, and extra-virgin olive oil ($10; $5 with an entree).
Forged in oven fires from dough mixed fresh each day, Naples’ menu of thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas are one-ring flavor circuses where traditional ingredients cavort and tumble alongside artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, clams, and eggplant. DIY disk-diners can order their pies in three sizes ($11.65–$14.75), then sprinkle the surface with pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, and more ($1.25–$2/topping). Otherwise, choose from one of Naples’ specialty pizzas, such as the Shrimp pizza with capers and red onions ($15.75–$19.75) or a barbecued-chicken pie ($14.55–$19.15).
Owner Randy Price curates a creative menu of New Haven–style "apizza" in more than 30 styles. His team crafts fresh dough daily using unbleached flour, creates sauce from handpicked italian and chilean tomatoes, and sprinkles pies with cheese from home-schooled cows. The famous Challenger—a 22-inch pizza stuffed with a mélange of vegetables and meats that weigh in at nearly 10 pounds—presents the hungriest visitors with a challenge to conquer the hot wheel in an hour or less, a feat that has earned a place on the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food roster of surmounted food battles.
"I grew up around restaurants. I came from hospitality," Angie explains, looking around at Luna's newly painted taupe and gold walls. Luna Pizza has indeed traced her family tree; Angie and her son took over the business from her brother.
In the eatery itself, marble-top tables shine in their wrought-iron bases. "West Hartford––it's an old town with a small-town character,” Angie says. “Many of our customers can walk from their homes." The impetus for that walk is the shop’s distinctive thin crust and adventurous palette of toppings, including breaded chicken, pesto, and cherry peppers, which are prepared as needed. "We won't do a batch," Angie explains. "All the veggies are roasted fresh." The sauces are also homemade, and the ingredients sourced locally when possible. The resulting pies can hold a powerful draw, Angie says. "There are many customers who have been coming to Luna Pizza for well over 20 years. They order the same pizza, the same toppings. That's loyalty, and that matters."
At Treva Restaurant & Bar, owner and head chef Dorjan Puka emphasizes simple, peasant-style Italian dishes of homemade pasta and rustic prosciutto, earning his restaurant a favorable feature by the New York Times. Northern Italy’s rich culinary traditions dominate his menu with creamy polenta, savory cured pork, and hearty servings of fresh fish and pheasant. In the bustling kitchen, chefs attack their craft with a focus on handmade authenticity, their hands waving as fast as a caffeinated weatherperson’s as they make their own stock and forge ravioli, gnocchi, and tagliatelle by hand.
In the dining room, guests enjoy brunches of panettone french toast with mascarpone cheese or dinners of tender strip steak as they sip smooth Tuscan wines or cocktails and martinis. A contemporary European vibe permeates the decor, with decades-old photographs of pastoral Italian scenes dotting walls the color of whipping cream and butter. Minimalist chandeliers, meanwhile, nod to an industrial aesthetic, with their bare bulbs casting warm light over polished black tabletops and Old World–style wood chairs.