The All-You-Care-to-Eat buffet at Gatti’s Pizza packs bellies with a smorgasbord of classic pizzeria eats. After gaining entrance to the buffet ($3.99–$6.99 depending on age), patrons can refuel with slices of Gatti's signature pie, heaps of hot pasta, and stacks of cheese sticks. Those with stomach vacancies left for dessert can grab a piece of the dutch apple treat pizza, or encourage a friend to hastily get it for them by passing them a cinnamon stick like a relay runner's baton. Patrons can rhythmically graze on veggies from the expansive salad bar, loaded with more than 40 items, as their eyes exchange glances with friends or dreamily gaze into the pixilated pupils of the dining room's big-screen TVs.
Sicily natives and Chianti restaurateurs Enrico and Nino Giacalone serve rustic, taste-bud-wooing regional and Northern Italian fare in a romantic atmosphere. Settle in with a glass of Geyser Peak sauvignon blanc ($6.00) or Columbia Crest Two Vines shiraz ($8.25), and stoop to conquer appetizers such as the funghi in padella con granchio, jumbo lump crabmeat and mushroom caps boldly bathed with white wine, parsley, and lemon-butter sauce ($9.50). Entree eaters may become beguiled by oceanic fruits including the Pagello "Albert,” a sautéed snapper as fresh as a mint-scented wink from a stranger ($19.75). Conduct a forked foray into the house signature dish, scaloppini alle noci e more, a flavorful juggling act of veal scaloppini bursting with blackberries and shrimp; sautéed with mushrooms, shallots, and roasted almonds; and flamed with blackberry brandy in a rich cream sauce ($25.95). Hearty portions may sway even selfish sweet teeth to share succulent slivers of the mocha-almond butter cream cake ($4.95).
Ristorante Giuseppe is a cozy and romantic eatery that boasts homemade cuisine, global wine offerings, and views of the open kitchen from the comfort of a candlelit table. Take in varied menu items like the lunch-perfect smoked salmon panini ($12) or the small-plate prosciutto ravioli ($8) starring pork short rib in a noon-time matinee of pasta pockets. For hunger-havers with a moon date, send dinner appetites on a voyage with the large-plate shrimp and calamari-laden fritto misto ($20) or sink rich flavor-loving teeth into the lasagna ($13), teeming with butternut squash, pancetta, and wise sage. Sweet post-meal treats come in many guises, such as the fiore di fragola ($7), a cookie shell laced in almond skates with a duo of triple luxing apricots and fresh strawberries smoothed over by zabaione cream.
Rated among the top fast-food chains by Zagat in 2010, the crust contractors at Papa Murphy's assemble every ingredient of a pizza before the customer's eyes and pass the uncooked creation on for firing in a home oven. Fashion a custom pie ($9+ for a large) from a palette of 23 fresh toppings, or test the design acumen and hand aerodynamics of Papa Murphy's in-house tastemakers by going with a discus from the signature, stuffed, or delite menus. The Chicago-style stuffed pizza ($14 large; $16 family) smuggles layers of pepperoni and italian sausage under the cover of roma tomatoes, onions, and a mozzarella trench coat, and the hawaiian ($11 large; $13 family), from the signature lineage, comes topped with an archipelago of canadian bacon, Dole pineapple, and mozzarella cheese on a beach of tomato sauce.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original crust made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Grab a stool at the long counter inside Cascio's Market Bistro, then close your eyes. In that moment, you're no longer in Bossier City, Louisiana. The casual restaurant's dining room fills with aromas that can't be pinned to a map: a fusion of Italian ingredients, cajun spices, and down-home American cooking.
Take the Reuben panini for example, which comes with sweet potato fries and a shaker of cajun seasonings. The meatball po' boy, on the other hand, combines the best of Louisiana and Italy. For more traditional flavors, try the homemade lasagna, plus some cannoli or gelato for dessert. Diners can even learn recipes for themselves without hiding a tape recorder in the soup?the bistro has its own supply of communal cookbooks.