A list of nearly 70 wines would be reason enough to visit The Vintage Italian Restaurant, but the housemade pasta, ravioli, sausage, and gnocchi give the bottles of red and white a run for their money. The Pollo Vintage pairs chicken breast with Sicilian artichoke hearts, sausage, and sun-dried tomatoes, and several of the restaurant's hearty pasta dishes can be made with whole wheat or gluten-free pastas.
Large pots regularly crowd the burners in Vinhus Restaurant & Lounge’s kitchen. A peek into the cauldrons reveals bubbling mixtures of seafood suggestive of what might happen if chefs strolled through a fish market and scooped up a few things from every stand—one combinations in particular pairs lobster, clams, and shrimp with a choice of green or red sauce.
These seafood surfeits belong to a menu inspired by Portugal’s seafaring traditions, complete with dishes such as grilled cod with skinned potato chunks, roasted peppers, and onions. The menu reaches east, as well, pulling flavors from Spain, France, Italy, and the Mediterranean into dishes such as veal marsala or a seafood plate whose lobster comes accented with chorizo, chicken, and saffron rice.
The fresh seafood and sizzling steaks perfume a dining room whose wooden floors and taupe-colored walls set the stage for decor including neatly arranged lighting fixtures, attractive artwork, and verdant foliage. Before or after meals, guests can retreat to the lounge, where patrons sip spirited beverages beneath a slanted ceiling that offers its protection to the room’s roaring fireplace.
The front counter at Little Italy showcases the spectacular array of pizzas that the skilled chefs whip up back in the kitchen—thin-crust pizzas lined with gooey circles of mozzarella, deep-dish pizzas dotted with sausage, and square-shaped pizzas decorated in slender slices of lemon. Once pizzas are showered in combinations of vegetables, seafood, or meat, and loaded into the oven, chefs turn their attention to other Italian specialties—cheesy chicken parmigiana, crunchy Italian-style subs, and plump calzones.
Customers split orders of wings out in the warm dining room, where soft, white curtains surround large, light-baiting windows. Others opt for delivery services, preferring to enjoy meals in the comfort of their own home or the fancy bank lobby they like to pretend is their home.
During the day, Trattoria Bel Paese cuts a humble figure with its deli area bursting with grilled panini, fresh salads, and Italian hero sandwiches. By night, though, chefs draw a curtain around the glass counter and, according to Teresa Politano of the Star-Ledger, this "unassuming little Clark Kent of a restaurant" sheds its eyeglasses to fight villainous hunger with a menu of authentic Sicilian and Italian specialties. Heaping portions of pastas with sweet red sauce and veal with cream sauce perch atop the floral tablecloths with gluten-free and organic ingredients substituted in by request. Platters of hot chicken parmigiana and fresh black mussels with marinara also zoom to special events or impromptu reenactments of special events under the supervision of Trattoria Bel Paese's catering team.
At each of Michelino's Restaurant’s four locations, kitchen staffers build upon three different depths of pizza crust—thin, deep dish, and Sicilian-style—with ingredients such as sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, steak, and pineapple. The tasty results are served alongside platefuls of baked pastas and hot sub sandwiches layered with veal cutlets, eggplant, or chicken and mozzarella, all adding their own rich scents to the dining rooms’ Italian perfume.