HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
Moonlight Pizza Company doesn't settle for traditional pizzas. Instead, their artisan chefs sprinkle pies with more than 50 gourmet toppings, including avocado slices, pine nuts, and shiitake mushrooms, and construct gluten-free crusts upon request. They extend the same care to the rest of their menu, which spans a variety of casual Italian dishes, such as calzones, antipasto, and strombolis. Their salads come with a choice of six dressings that, like US ambassadors' gingerbread body doubles, are made from scratch each day. Their Farm to Fork Craft Menu presents guests with new entree options each month while continuing to use locally grown ingredients.
Outside, tree-covered outdoor seating on two recently improved patios complements mouthwatering slices and buttery crusts. Inside, bright-green walls create a vibrant backdrop for exuberant conversations or cooking shows with lots of special effects.
Over plates of Italian dishes and drinks, visitors to Ciago?s can spot multiple generations of the Candes family bustling between the kitchen, dining room, and full bar. The family and staff carry plates of veal parmesan and pizzas crowned with artichoke hearts, jalape?os, and eggplant, which diners wash down with more than 20 wines. Beneath spotlights at the 20-seat bar, patrons look up breathlessly at high-definition televisions as athletic events reach their conclusion and players are doused in Gatorade to prove they aren?t robots. Tabletops line up beneath the awning of the outdoor patio and snake out into sunnier areas dappled by the shade from marinara-red umbrellas. Glittering strings of hanging lights illuminate the patio when night falls or when oversized passing parade floats eclipse the sun.
Sicilian-born chef Franco Cominato continues to man the stovetops at Pulcinella's, a task he has performed since the restaurant first opened more than 10 years ago. He relies on his knowledge of his native land when creating thick-crusted, Sicilian-style pizzas as well as thinner, Neapolitan-style pies, each available with sun-dried tomatoes, sausage, banana peppers, and 11 other toppings. But pizza’s only part of the story; zesty or spicy marinara adorns the pasta platters, and sautéed chicken breasts emerge in either a citrusy white-wine sauce or a rich and creamy marsala sauce. Guests feast on these dishes in a dining room where sconces light burnt-orange walls, which are adorned with gilt-framed paintings of Italian cities and the Roman Coliseum's famously decadent hopscotch tournaments.:m]]
zpizza— voted best pizza in Raleigh by CitySearch and Best Pizza in Cary by WakeCary Magazine —is known for its inventive, California-style pizzas: think zesty Thai-style chicken pizza with peanut sauce and cilantro, or Mexican-style pizza loaded with taco fixings. But even a simple cheese or pepperoni pizza from zpizza is sure to be memorable. That's because the restaurant's cooks use only top-shelf ingredients in their brick-oven-baked pies, from the Montana winter wheat that goes into their hand-thrown crusts to the organic tomato sauce and Wisconsin skim mozzarella layered on top. Diners can customize pizzas with other toppings, including locally sourced meats, fresh produce, and gourmet ingredients such as truffle oil.
The cooks at Cinelli's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria craft New York-inspired classic and modern Italian entrees, including tilapia encrusted with crabmeat, filet gorgonzola, tortellaci—a homemade beef and veal dumpling—in a wild-mushroom ragout with truffle oil, and a goat-cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom topped with arugula, fire-roasted peppers, and balsamic reduction. Their success has allowed them to spread across multiple locations, each of which also serves New-York-style pizza.