When Mike and Fera Hasemi were conceptualizing their restaurant, they knew they wanted to focus on the Persian recipes so intrinsic to their heritage. And they did just that at Arya Global Cuisine, transforming Middle Eastern ingredients into colorful dishes such as pomegranate-pistachio meatballs and the VegeTower?layers of mushroom, spinach, eggplant, tomato, and rice drenched in saffron-yogurt sauce. There are plenty of kebabs and polos (rice dishes), too, which makes it all the more curious when you arrive at the pizza section, available at the Redwood City location only.
No, Arya doesn't serve only Persian food?Mike, who is also the executive chef, spent time studying in Italy, so he devoted a considerable portion of the menu to pizza and pasta dishes. Whichever culinary style guests choose to order, they may be having their dinner during a show, as weekend nights find belly dancers or live music entertaining the crowds. Live music at Cupertino location only.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Taking its name from the Italian word for "lively," Vivace Ristorante embraces the vibrant character of classic Mediterranean cooking. The menu focuses on the cuisines of two regions?Tuscany and Piedmont?in particular, allowing traditional recipes and fresh, seasonal ingredients to give dishes character.
This dedication is evident in dishes such the ricotta- and spinach-stuffed manicotti?served straight from a wood-fired oven?and the specialty risotto that changes daily, much like the order of the colors in the rainbow. Along with a diverse assortment of Tuscan and Piedmontese bottles, the six-page wine list also features a large number of choices from Californian producers. This commitment to local viticulture has helped Vivace Ristorante earn an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator every year for more than a decade.
The glass-enclosed wine cellar's floor-to-ceiling cedar racks aren't the only elegant sights within Vivace Ristorante's dining room. With its burgundy-hued walls, stone fireplace, and crisp white linens draped across each table, the restaurant surrounds tables in a refined yet inviting setting. An open kitchen reinforces this homey character, allowing diners to watch as the cooks prepare each meal without ever resorting to magic spells.
Each pasta entree at Caprino's Restaurant begins as a mound of fresh dough. From there, chefs turn it into linguine and spaghetti and tuck butternut squash into ravioli pockets. The stuff that goes on top is also house-made, naturally: meatballs, garlic-basil cream, olive-oil/chardonnay sauce.
Pasta may reign supreme, but the menu also holds other hearty entrees, including grilled-to-order rib eye, prosciutto pizza, and chicken marsala. Sunday brunch even departs from this Italian template a bit, adding southwest-inspired dishes and catfish and grits to red-white-and-green-flecked sandwiches and scrambles.
Caprino's handsome, wood-accented dining room is equally welcoming to adults and adults-in-training. There's a full bar and, naturally, a deep wine list, split about evenly between Italy and California. But there's also a kids' menu with fun options such as mini burgers and a "dirty mashed potato" topped with bacon, cheese, and, eventually, tiny fingerprints.
Trellis Restaurant centers its menu around Milanese cuisine amid a glowing atmosphere of warm light and elegant simplicity. The appetizer list features a soup del giorno ($4.50 for a cup) and a multitude of salady selections, while pasta dishes swim in tomatoes, basil, and rich cream sauces ($9.95–$19.95). Sate grumbling stomachs with scrumptious tiger prawns sautéed in bordelaise sauce, garlic spinach, and orzo ($18.95) or try a teeth-watering grilled pork tenderloin accompanied by polenta, wild mushrooms, and roasted garlic sauce ($17.50). Enjoy entrees in between sips from the wine list, which includes both red and white domestic and Italian imports. Eaters eat in the Milan-inspired dining room or dine al fresco on the open-air patio, illuminated during the day with sunshine and during the night with moonshine.