The culinary artisans at Luigi's Patio Ristorante fill lunch and dinner menus with family recipe pastas, pizzas, and entrees in a rustic Italian villa setting. The evening array boasts vegetarian options such as eggplant feathered with parmesan and perched atop a nest of capellini pasta ($13) and specialties including pistachio-encrusted red snapper ($24) and duck breast sweetened with balsamic and orange-toffee sauces ($21). Or quell midday cravings with toasted panini ($8+) or a pizza generously bombarded with toppings such as italian sausage and pesto sauce. Diners can groove to live music most nights in Luigi's warmly lit indoor courtyard patio, which, like a Roman piazza, is populated by street lanterns and gatherings of garrulous pepperonis.
For 30 years, Cenare's sconce-lit walls and elegant menu have entranced diners, inviting them to linger luxuriously over plates of pasta, tiramisu, and creamy espresso cups. Fresh, daily made bread greets guests with a firm, crunchy handshake, moisturized to taste with imported olive oil. While kitchen magicians arrange 15 layers of beef, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese for the homemade lasagna ($10.99), noshers may savor stuffed mushroom cap starters, drizzled with a Creole mustard sauce ($6.95). The tortellini alla diavola accessorizes a saucy ensemble of chicken, ham, fresh mushrooms, and chipotle cream with cheese-filled pasta rings ($12.95), while the secret ingredients of the spaghetti al telefono are discoverable only through long, whispered games of telephone ($7.95). Gluten-free pasta is also available.
Inspired by the artists living around him in Laguna Beach, Sid Fanarof sought to do something creative in the kitchen. The result was zpizza, which now has locations across the globe, each filled with bustling chefs experimenting with ingredients traditionally associated with Indian, Californian, and Mexican cuisine. Pizzas use organic vegetables and skim-milk mozzarella, and their organic wheat flour bakes over an open flame to a crisp finish. “If you don’t hear the crunch, it’s not a zpizza,” Fanarof says of the crusts on his website. Chefs first slather the crusts with sweet basil pesto, roasted-garlic sauce, or organic tomato sauce. Their hands flutter across, sprinkling on fistfuls of toppings such as MSG-free pepperoni, additive-free sausage, three types of mushrooms, roasted eggplant, and pine nuts. Vegan cheese and gluten-free crusts allow everyone to enjoy the pizzas except for those trying to hide the fact that they superglued their mouths closed.
Mangia's clever chefs cook up a panoply of American and Italian delights, including the signature Chicago–style deep-dish pizza replete with towering, buttery crust and heaps of cheese and tomato sauce. Build your own circular masterpiece by slathering toppings such as chicken, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and more onto signature stuffed ($5.10/6", $19.25/14") or traditional thin-crust ($4.35/6", $13.65/14") pies, flat enough to slide into mouths or under doors. East Coast eaters can enjoy the grilled rib eye or grilled-chicken philly cheesesteak, served on a 7-inch roll with white american cheese ($7.29), and those craving south-of-the-border sustenance can warm insides with a bowl of tortilla soup ($4.75). A selection of soft drinks ($2.15) and desserts, including Mangia's Ooey Gooey brownie ($3.95, $5.45 with ice cream), round out the meals.
Papa G’s menu of pizza and Italian fare packs more hearty goodness onto each page than Abe Lincoln had money packed into his top hat. Preheat your mouth oven with mozzarella sticks ($3.99 for a half order) before letting it decoct the Big Papa pizza, which is stacked with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, ripe olives, onions, and green peppers ($19.99 for a large). For those who would rather choose their own pie toppers, Papa G’s has a list of more than 10 options, which includes zucchini, spinach, anchovies, and Canadian bacon—the bacon that only grows above the border. Classic Italian delights include lasagna ($10.49), eggplant parmesan ($8.99), and fettuccini alfredo ($9.99 with breaded chicken).
Like so many of you, the founders of Promise Pizza care very much about the quality and source of the food we feed our friends, families and loved ones. Not only where it comes from, but how it's produced, its quality and its impact on the world around us