Mara Cucina Italiana, which opened at the Mall at Wellington Green in May 2013, is the latest addition to Lirim Jacobi's restaurant group. Chef Joshua Flores curates the eatery’s menu of gourmet Italian classics, tossing pastas with housemade sauces and layering pizzas with specialty toppings. There are lighter options, too, like grilled salmon served over mixed greens with fresh lemon. Diners can sip cappuccinos or drinks from a full bar while talking or gazing at flat-screen televisions.
The airiness of pale exposed brick and blond wood contrast with the heartiness of the traditional Italian fare at Vic & Angelo’s, helping explain why Zagat rated the Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens locations highly for both food and décor. In the kitchen, chefs douse pastas with rich toppings such as crab meat and white-wine sauce or slow-cooked beef ragu. The coal oven blasts pizzas with 900 degrees of heat, and all-natural steaks arrive from Chicago after being dry-aged for 21 days. To accompany meals, diners can choose from a long list of mostly Italian wines, or venture onto an outdoor patio to fill glasses with complimentary moonbeams.
Brick walls, wooden shutters, and a color scheme as warm and red as the homemade tomato sauce—Buongiorno Pizza & Pasta’s decor really sets the stage for a homey Italian meal. The home-style approach extends well into the kitchen, where chefs craft gourmet pizzas from scratch in both New York and Sicilian styles. They toss and top them to order, strewing them with a medley of guests’ favorite toppings or whipping up one of their inventive signature pies, such as a pizza topped with a penne à la vodka sauce. Wines culled from Italy and California pair well with Mediterranean-inspired entrees such as chicken parmigiana heroes and veal marsala, while also facilitating conversation between a couple on their first date or a poet and his muse.
Aromas of roasted garlic and basil waft from the warm ovens at Cafe Centro as chefs prepare a menu of Northern Italian seafood specialties. Beneath the dining area's rustic timber ceiling, servers deliver plates of fettuccine crowned with lobster and brandy cream sauce or fillets of grilled salmon, yellowtail snapper, and branzino. Other dishes include crusty calzones with soft, melting interiors and housemade desserts such as tiramisu. Wrought-iron chandeliers cast a warm glow over racks of bottles filled with fine wines and rolled parchment notes from the pirate who lives in the cellar.
microbrews to complement its Italian-American bistro-style menu. Brewmaster Fran Andrewlevich—whose past work has won gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival—whips up lagers, pilsners, and seasonal beers right onsite. In the open kitchen, chefs feed flatbread bruschetta and hand-stretched pizza dough to a hungry brick oven, and craft ranch burgers filled with Angus beef, bacon, monterey jack cheese, and dreams of running away to join the circus concession stand.
Chicken, roasted peppers, and parmesan. Artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil pesto. Spinach, kalamata olives, and gorgonzola. These fixings mingle with mozzarella atop City Pizza Italian Cuisine’s gourmet pies. For something more conventional, try the menu’s build-your-own pizzas or a customer’s creation such as the meat lover’s, topped with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, ham, and bacon. The restaurant’s other Italian grub includes hero sandwiches, pasta, calzones, and stromboli.