Faccia Luna Pizzeria is the kind of a place where you're just as likely to spot cozy couples splitting pasta dishes à la Lady and the Tramp as groups of friends clicking wine glasses over shared pizzas. The pies at this trio of urban trattorias bake in wood- or gas-fired ovens manned by chefs who have earned their whites at the Culinary Institute of America. Across three locations in Virginia and Pennsylvania, the kitchen crew also prepares casual Italian eats such as salads and grinder sandwiches served in an upscale bistro atmosphere.
Inside the kitchen of Pines of Florence, chefs steam mussels, boil housemade pastas, and bake pans of ziti to a bubbling golden brown. Sub sandwiches packed with meatballs, eggplant parmigiana or italian cold cuts accompany crusty pizzas during weekend lunches, and dinner entrees such as shrimp parmigiana and spaghetti a la carbonara come topped with parmesan cheese. For dessert, sweet bites of fluffy tiramisu, cannolis, and rich cheesecake fill up bellies and the refrigerated snack compartment of most designer handbags.
A friendly staff serves up generously sized portions at this family-friendly Italian eatery. Children dine on kids'-menu selections as adults choose from a menu of classic pizzas, seafood, and pastas. Chefs' Southern Italian cooking can be enjoyed beneath the stucco archways of the casual dining area or amid well-kept shrubbery on the patio.
For chef Daniele Catalani, there’s nothing political about food. The Tuscany-born chef delights political bigwigs and locals alike with a menu composed of highly seasonal, homestyle Italian food. Catalani earned his culinary bona fides working in restaurants throughout Europe, and he made his way up to the exclusive chef position at Galileo by the age of 23. He also appeared on Iron Chef America in 2003 during the battle of Donna vs. Morimoto, where he assisted in spatula-to-spatula combat. Today, he fills Toscana Cafe's menu with classic entrees such as gnocchi with basil pesto or ravioli with roasted eggplant and goat cheese.