The skilled chefs at Brunello Bistro tantalize the culinary lobes of the brain with a fusion menu of Italian and Mediterranean fare served with aesthetic flair. Enchanted epicureans, like disoriented Christopher Columbuses, will immediately set a course for Brunello's antipasti plates, such as mussels served either bianco in a garlic-and-wine sauce or spicy pomodoro in a hot fra diavolo sauce. After a second course of soup or salad, all roads lead to Brunello’s entrees, which include the signature lobster-potato gnocchi and the lamb osso buco in a port-wine sauce with mascarpone-cheese polenta. Diners worried about upsetting humanity’s uneasy truce with sheep can instead venture out into one of Brunello's idiosyncratic plates, such as braised duck with wild-mushroom risotto and asparagus. Each duo's chew-a-thon concludes with sweet bites from the frequently rotating dessert menu.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts 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.
The culinary wizards at Lil Vinny’s Ristorante silence growling stomachs with a multifaceted menu of toothsome Italian fare. Now kicking off the kitchen's steady parade of aromas starting at 11 a.m., a new lunch menu debuts deliquescent paninis ranging from eggplant parmigiana ($9.95) to the Sloppy Joey ($9.95), which lets midday munchers live dangerously as they try to keep its mix of bolognese, pancetta, and fontina away from work shirts or lab coats.
Vinny's Ristorante encapsulates the notion of a hidden gem—upon arrival at the address, customers often first think they're lost, as it appears they're mistakenly at a convenience store. The Italian eatery is tucked in the back of this store, so once customers spot red-checkered tablecloths, along with "the vaguely Sopranos-esque clientele sucking down pasta fazool," it's clear they've made it.
Boston magazine reviewers—who observed the Tony Soprano lookalikes when they deemed Vinny's worthy of the Best of Boston list for affordable Italian in 2006—highlight the restaurant's antipasto bar and "massive" portions of handmade pasta as the major draws. And although the word's been out for some time about this secluded Sicilian hotspot, Vinny's marinara and handmade mafalda noodles, impressive Zagat rating, and ceiling fans modeled after da Vinci's helicopter blueprints continue to captivate loyal regulars.
Bring a friend and a healthy appetite to the heart of Inman Square in Cambridge for a mouthwatering meal at City Girl Cafe. Don't be fooled by the quaint green awning that shades the unassuming storefront of City Girl Cafe—the food inside is anything but quaint. With today's Groupon, you get $35 worth of expertly executed pizza, panini, pasta, and more for just $15.