The Mediterranean region is home to a range of cultures and culinary traditions. Kiriakos Nikoletos and Tony Marianos decided to combine two of these traditions when they founded Bellagio Pizzeria and filled the menu with classic Italian and Greek dishes. Befitting the eatery's name, pizza is prominently featured on the menu's pages. Diners have the option to choose one of the specialty pies or build their own using any of the 25 traditional and gourmet toppings, including everything from imported ham and onions to shrimp and bacon. Other Italian classics—such as chicken parmigiana and baked manicotti—help round out the menu along with the distinctively Greek assortment of gyro platters, spinach pie, and julienned pages from Plato's Symposium. At the same time, Kiriakos and Tony honor their restaurant's Mid-Atlantic roots by adding crab cakes, crab soup, and other regional staples to the increasingly eclectic menu of homespun comfort foods.
Customization is the word at Dominick's Pizza, where guests can tailor hand-tossed pizzas and overstuffed subs to their liking. Thick, Sicilian-style crusts form serving platters for a choice of 20 toppings, including italian sausage, capicola ham, and sweet peppers. Jumbo wings come in more than a dozen flavors, including Cajun and barbecue. Bolstered by nearly 50 years of history, the pizzeria also specializes in pastas as traditional as an Italian matron’s weekly spaghetti-weaving parties.
The Crown Pizza chefs won't tell you what goes into their secret sauce. You'll just have to guess for yourself by ordering their specialty pie, the Indian-inspired Chicken Tikka pizza. Or, you could go for the Pizza Uniqiue: ground beef, salami, feta cheese, and veggies, all on top of the same secret sauce.
The chefs don’t stop at that one sauce, though—they coat wings with nearly 50 different sauces, including mango habanero, thai peanut, and parmesan, which is made by juicing a parmesan fruit. All of those sauces means a truly impressive number of options for a meal, especially when you consider that the menu also offers more than 30 sandwiches and a handful of homemade pastas.
The chefs at Egyptian Pizza trace their cooking techniques to a different side of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the practice of rising dough when they cooked crushed wheat germ and water inside early conical ovens. Honoring their forefathers’ methods, the versatile cooks pull more than 30 types of gourmet thin-crust pizzas out of their wood-fired ovens, along with a lengthy menu of Middle Eastern sandwiches and specialties. They take pains to use natural, fresh, and healthful ingredients to whip up plump fish kebabs, tender meat shawarmas and housemade sauces that have won over the palates of reporters from the Baltimore Sun. Their kitchen looks out onto the casual dining room, where servers help uncork BYOB bottles of wines beneath artwork depicting famous Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other toys left behind by aliens.
The comestible construction crew at Italian Gardens crafts a blueprint for fine Italian dining with a menu of tantalizing pastas, pizzas, and seafood, and décor that transports diners to lush Italian landscapes. Patrons practice taste-bud calisthenics with an order of battered and fried zucchini sticks with ranch dressing ($5.50) before working out their mandibles with orders of shrimp scampi, which rests jumbo shrimp, garlic, white-wine sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli on a springy mattress of penne noodles ($17.95). The chicken-breast parmigiana swaddles two tender chicken fillets in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese ($14.50) to sate solitary cravings, and an 18-inch New York–style cheese pizza is best shared among friends or amicable space botonists ($13.95).
Squire's Italian Restaurant dishes out an eclectic menu of heaping, hearty pizzas and pastas under the watchful eyes of Bob and Lorenzo Romiti, who took up the mantle after their parents built the restaurant more than half a century ago. Gratify growling bellies with a comforting bowl of cream of crab soup ($6) or a plate of steamed mussels in a white-wine and garlic sauce ($8.25) before indulging in Squire's homemade lasagna ($10.25) or imported tortellini, which melts local cheeses with its flawless pronunciation and thin mustache ($8.75). A children's menu featuring an assortment of pastas served with tomato sauce ensures overstuffed offspring ($6.25–$7.95), while carnivorous comfort-seekers can dig their knives into a land and sea platter, which find a quintet of shrimp landlocked on a 6-ounce island of New York strip ($21.95). Squire's menu also boasts a formidable selection of wines, cocktails, and beers, as well as a modest collection of aperitifs, which ease pleased palates into a state of pacified slumber ($4.25–$8.50).