The chefs at FalconesPizza can cater to any pizza palate. Depending on a customer's personal tastes, they toss crusts that are hearty and thick or as thin as the parchment from which Leonardo da Vinci placed his first take-out order. Toppings, too, range from traditional flavors, such as the pesto, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil that make up the Napoli, to the inventive combination atop the shrimp pizza, which pairs succulent seafood with chorizo, pepperoni, and onions. Italian meats such as mortadella and capacolla join fresh mozzarella on salads and sandwiches, and family-style trays of baked ziti or lasagna keep large groups from taking over a grocery store.
As visitors devour spoonfuls of sweet, creamy frozen treats at Menchie’s, they may notice a string of ’90s-era sitcom stars arriving to sample the wares and chat with the man in charge. That’s because owner/operator David Lipper first made a name for himself on Full House playing D.J. Tanner’s boyfriend Viper. Today, Lipper proudly sits atop a local frozen-yogurt empire, edging out his fellow cast mates’ enterprises, including Dave Coulier’s network of Swiss banks and John Stamos’s ’50s-themed doggy daycare. Inside the shop, diners select from a colorful array of flavors, such as low-carb pistachio or fruity watermelon tart, and crown their creation with toppings including sprinkles, mocha, hot fudge, and locally grown fruits.
When owner Frank White took over this Downey eatery—then called Granata's Italian Restaurant—in 2011, the Granata family had already been serving Italian cuisine there for more than 54 years, according to the Downey Patriot. Today, White still plucks recipes from the family cookbook but has also added his own touch with a new menu of hot and cold Spanish-style tapas. Made with gourmet ingredients such as fresh clams, spanish piquillo peppers, and rich serrano ham, the new plates are small enough to be shared with friends or slingshotted spitefully at enemies. The chefs also use locally sourced ingredients for classic Italian meals whenever possible, festooning linguine carbonara with fresh sweet peas and veal parmigiana with rich tomato sauce.
In the renovated dining area, blue pendant lamps light the full bar and surrounding cherry-wood tables and chairs. Flat-screen TVs share wall space with murals of the Venetian canals where Leonardo da Vinci first learned to jet ski.
Outside on the sun-soaked patio, or inside the casual earth-toned dining room, The Marketplace Grill Cafe's staff cooks items from a sprawling menu of American and Mediterranean-influenced dishes and serves them all day. Their sweet breakfast crepes fold around berries, bananas, Nutella, walnuts, and whipped cream, which is the kind of cream most likely to get along with a locker-room towel. The Marketplace's pastry chefs craft a host of their sweet specialties each day, using all natural ingredients to create sheets of flaky baklava, Greek-style walnut cake, and pastaflora—homemade cookie 'pies' made with fruit preserves.
Philly's Best prepares authentic Philadelphia-style sandwiches with fresh ingredients and traditional Amoroso rolls imported from the land of non-brawling brothers. Dig into a cheese steak, whose thinly-sliced meatstack is layered with molten white American cheese ($5.99), or challenge your mouth to duel with the Italian hoagie, a breaded battering ram of capacolla, salami, mortadella, and provolone ($5.99). Chicken sandwiches, burgers, and plenty of genuine Philly extras are also available—pair up your meal with Wise chips, Frank's soda, the non-alcoholic Pennsylvania Dutch Birch beer, and Tastykakes. Click here to browse through the restaurant's menu.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.