At Fortesa, diners entwine forks with specialty pastas and Italian staples on an outdoor patio that overlooks downtown Rochester and Paint Creek or inside a dining room lit with elevated candelabras. After perusing the menu, friends and families can acclimate taste buds to the flavors of Italy with a house side salad and the shrimp fortesa with garlic-and-lemon sauce. Diners then sink their fangs into the potato-parmesan gnocchi with truffle oil or don flippers to justify the freshness of the lobster-, shrimp-, and crabmeat-laden seafood fettuccine. Carve up a filet mignon in a truffle demu-glace or slice through the deep-maroon center of perfectly cooked lamb chops ai ferri in a port wine reduction.
Zaa! Simply Unique Pizza's dough doyens masterfully embellish crispy-thin crusts with myriad toppings and freshly grated cheese to create a menu populated with eclectic pies. Match appetites against the Que Zaa! pizza that slings grilled chicken, smoky barbecue sauce, and garlic aboard a doughy saucer ($9–$14), while the Progressive Zaa! pizza ($9–$14) bears artichoke hearts, spinach, and shreds of Jane Adam’s biography. Diners can also wrap their mitts around a variety of noncircular savories that include meatball or veggie Zaandwiches ($7.25), or dive forkfirst into the greek salad ($7.99), which conglomerates gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, and olives under a drizzle of balsamic dressing.
Jet’s Pizza—ranked among the best-selling pizza franchises in 2010 by PMQ Pizza Magazine—has exploded with more than 200 locations since brothers Eugene and John Jetts opened their first shop in 1978. The menu teems with customizable pies ($9.89 for large), each built on traditional hand-tossed crust, thin crust, or deep-dish crust, available in eight flavors such as poppy seed, Cajun, and garlic. Chefs fling dough disks into as the air while Olympic shooters blast the flying, red-sauced rectangles with one of 18 available toppings ($1.49 each on large pizza). Various 8-inch subs also pay visits to hungry mouths, toting bready luggage stuffed with a range of warm meats and cheeses ($5.99). Before digging into a main dish, share an order of bubbly, triple-cheese Turbo Stix, which come topped with mozzarella, cheddar, romano, garlic, and butter ($5.99 for 12 pieces) and are served with pizza sauce perfect for dipping or drawing designs on crisp dress shirts.
Since 1968, Vendetti's has dished out Italian subs, salads, pizza, and pasta to a loyal clientele. The eponymous "Spanky" (a homemade sub roll stuffed with mozzarella, pepperoni, and signature red sauce for $5.75), is served fresh daily with a cup of oil and vinegar that it cannot resist dunking its dense, bready head in. Other favorites include meatball, grilled-chicken, and veggie subs and the turkey antipasto brimming with lettuce, turkey, swiss cheese, tomatoes, black olives, and pepper rings ($6.95). Take home a pizza ($6.49–$7.99) or family pasta dinner (serves five to eight people for $24.95) laden with homemade meat sauce and parmesan, plus salad and bread, to feed your family/friends/life-size cardboard cutouts of the 1974 Cincinnati Bengals. Enjoy a low-key meal in Vendetti's dining room, or carry out and dine at home, in the park, or on the roof of your old high school.
Alfoccino’s menu of Old World favorites pollinates the air with irresistible aromas emanating from homemade bread, hand-sliced meats, and signature sauces bubbling in pots. The shrimp scampi appetizer primes palates for a hearty Italian feasts with a quartet of jumbo Gulf shrimp bathing in a fragrant pool of white wine, lemon, and garlic butter. Alfoccino’s round and square pizzas earn their golden crust with a duel-baking process and don a choice of fresh toppings such as bacon, hot peppers, and tomato ($7.95+). Those who use forks as backscratchers can wrap their mitts around the half-pound Alfoccino burger ($7.50), or dive face-first into a four-cheese lasagna in meat sauce ($14.50). While quenching appetites bite by bite, guests lap up splashes of house wine plucked from California and Tuscany ($6/glass, $24/bottle).