The simple red, green, and white sign on Ramona’s Pizza's façade may seem minimalist, but their menu of casual Italian food is anything but. Chefs stuff more than 10 types of calzones with a signature spicy tomato sauce and piles of vegetables and meats. A 9-inch sesame french roll creates the foundation for each of their 11 hot subs, which also bubble with layers of melted mozzarella cheese. But, the true stars of the menu are 19 different New-York-style pizzas, whose creative toppings range from barbecue chicken with onions and pineapple to clams and fresh garlic. Diners can order a whole pie, savor that day's lunch slice, or demand a pie shaped like Brooklyn for additional authenticity.
Chefs inside Palo Alto Pizza Co.’s kitchen forge dough for their signature West Coast¬–style thick crusts and New York–style thin crusts from scratch. They crown each housemade round with fresh, gourmet toppings and sauces, such as spicy chipotle cream sauce, salsa fresca, balsamic-marinated tomatoes, and mesquite grilled chicken.Diners can portion out these meat-laden and vegetarian-friendly pies in the eatery’s modern dining room, which creates a warm ambiance with its rustic wood paneling and red-accent walls lined with high-definition TVs. Guests can also descend on carryout boxes filled with signature pizzas and spicy chicken wings, ready to serve in their homes, offices, or secret home offices.
Since 1997, Caffe Riace's chefs have infused their Italian menu with a Sicilian flair, dishing up pastas, veal dishes, and seafood within the restaurant's vibrant spaces. They use some organic ingredients, cure their beef in-house, and import real buffalo mozzarella for their mozzarella di bufala salad. The staff serves pasta dishes—including the prawn- and lobster-loaded capellini aragosta with tarragon and mushroom—atop glass tables set in front of scenic murals and rustic artwork.
Towering statues survey the outdoor patio, which spreads beneath umbrellas across a tiled plaza. Lion statues and flower beds give the outdoor space the aura of a florist who tames lions or a lion tamer whose boyfriend really screwed up. The patio also benefits from a sense of whimsy—rather than spilling water from an urn, the centerpiece fountain's patina-covered figure hoists a washing machine atop her head. Inside, the roster of elegant private dining rooms includes the chandelier-crowned Riace room, where bright artwork and flowers pop against red and cream walls, as well as a wine room with wine racks and wooden wine barrels reclining in the room's nooks.
Patxi's Chicago Pizza is a Best Pizza of the Bay Area establishment that caters to indulgent pizza partiers and intimate diners alike. Printed on resilient pizza dough, Patxi's menu features a build-your-own arsenal of toppings such as feta cheese, green bell peppers, Italian sausage, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, salami, zucchini, soy cheese, and many more available atop Chicago-style crusts ($14.40 for a 10'' before toppings) and thin crusts ($9.95 for a 10'' before toppings).
At Pasta Q, chefs roll out homemade pastas and gnocchi and douse their doughy exteriors with creamy sauces and redolent spices. Eighteen diverse pasta renditions share table space with classic Italian-style meats buffered by roasted potatoes. An eclectic selection of imported Italian wines pair with bites, and homemade desserts ease the burden of spaghetti strands trying to shape themselves into the form of tiramisu. The menu’s Mediterranean flourishes extend to the décor, with its deep-burgundy and mustard-yellow walls punctuated by mosaic-tiled benches and billowy white fabric suspended from the ceiling.
Spalti Ristorante’s surplus of sumptuous feasts stars authentic Northern Italian cuisine in a Tuscan-themed setting of understated elegance. The homemade vegetarian triangoli, teeming with ricotta cheese and spinach, backstrokes in a cream of tomato-and-sage sauce ($10.95 at lunch; $12.95 at dinner), and the mezzaluna's carnivore cornucopias, stuffed with chicken, veal, and fennel ($11.95 at lunch; $13.95 at dinner), fend off the growls of ravenous stomachs. Hearty servings of secondi piatti, such as pollo spedini—skewers of grilled chicken, bell peppers, and onions ($10.95 at lunch; $14.95 at dinner)—poke pleasure centers with flavorful resistance. Red, white, and sparkling wines are available to wash down nibbles of nourishment. A spacious dining area, wooden chairs, and colorful artwork create an elegantly comfortable atmosphere, and the candlelit outdoor patio serves as a romantic backdrop for business lunches.