String lights glimmer on the hunter-green walls like stars through evening foliage. A large mural depicts a distant city against a burgundy-and-gray dusk. Some of these accents date back to Cafe Vienna’s inception 40 years ago, but the torch has since been passed to Tony Klobuchar, whose son Steve mans the kitchen. From those clattering confines spill the aromas of time-tested Austro-Hungarian cuisine, including steaming bratwurst platters and marinated herring. Though the servers move quickly, there's much that goes into the preparation of these dishes; tender beef-loin sauerbraten, for example, marinates in traditional spices and red-wine vinegar for a minimum of five days. Above plates of grilled pork schnitzel, imported German brews from Spaten and Franziskaner crash together, sending flecks of foam to tablecloths in the deep red hues of a fire truck that has been driving around with hair curlers on.
Gigi's Italian Restaurant is a family-owned eatery that has been injecting diners with the recommended dose of pizza, pasta, and parmigiana since 1967. Initiate meal time with appetizers such as the calamari, lightly fried to crispy resistance ($8), or Gigi's bruschetta, a toasty platform topped with fresh tomatoes, zesty snips of red onion, and dewed by balsamic vinegar and olive oil ($7). The specialty brick oven pizzas tempt taste seekers with the minimalist pizza margherita ($14.17 for a medum) and Gigi's special, an ensemble of pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, sausage, and green pepper peacefully playing culinary bocce ball within the boundaries of a thin-crusted circumference ($21.94 for a medium). Gigi's dinner menu represents the full gamut of authentic Italian favorites, including creamy pasta carbonara ($12), chicken piccata sautéed in a lemony garlic sauce ($15), and eggplant a la parmigiana, where slices of thick, breaded and fried eggplant are crowned with Gigi's sauce and accompanied by a hearty portion of pasta ($14). Pair plates with beer and wine, or a libation from the full liquor bar at the South Pasadena and St. Petersburg locations.
Let them take you to downtown Tokyo at Hiro’s Tokyo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. The decor at Hiro’s is modern with its clean lines, exposed pipes, and red and white accents. The food at Hiro’s reflects its style. It’s fresh, enticing, and innovative. The menu includes dishes like seasoned baby octopus, seared steak with ponzu sauce, and the Jump Up and Kiss Me. Join them for lunch or dinner and enjoy an array of options from the kitchen and from the sushi bar. And, don’t worry if you’re a sushi beginner! The servers and chefs here are more than happy to help you out. Be sure to check out their late night special menu!
The empanada is a doughy pocket, which is shaped like a crescent regardless of the lunar cycle. It's stuffed with a wide variety of fillings, ranging from savory beef, chicken, sausage, and crab to fruits and veggies, as well as blends of premium cheese. This treat is popular in many countries across the world, and it's the star of the menu at the family-owned Mr. Empanada. There, the chefs fill empanadas with a dozen different combinations of innovative ingredients, including italian sausage and cheese, guava and cream cheese, spinach artichoke, and barbecue chicken.
Luckie B's cooks up batches of authentic barbecue, smoking meat up to 10 hours to create a tender, robust flavor. After memorizing the menu, hang a fang on a 1/3 rack of baby back ribs, dry rubbed and slow smoked with your choice of sauces ($10.95), or befriend the barbecue-smoked half chicken, rotisserie smoked and lightly seasoned ($8.95). Other edible options include salads, sandwiches, and a plethora of sides. A full liquor bar helps keep conversations lubricated, and a relaxed, family-friendly vibe will make diners feel like their clingy home is following them around again.
Since 1987, St. Pete Bagel Co.'s bakers have crafted New York–style bagels and both old-fashioned and yeast-raised donuts every morning. Rabbi Uriel Rivkin presides over each day's batch of certified-kosher dough rings bedecked with salt, onions, and poppy seeds, which share space with sandwiches and assorted spreads on the café menu. Fluffy and sweet specialty donuts such as PB&J, red velvet, and strawberry-glazed bike tire join coffee and espresso drinks for maximum donut slam-dunks. Around the shop, wood and leather stools seat diners, who can pass the time by admiring colorful flora and photos of bagels snapped at the food pyramid’s class reunion.