The savory pie slingers at Bella Napoli serve a hearty menu stuffed with circular comestibles, such as calzones, garlic knots, meatballs, and a wide selection of specialty pizzas. Pies start with a solid foundation of fresh-baked dough, available in regular, gluten-free, or whole-wheat varieties, expertly tossed and twirled on the premises with the care of a Faberge-egg juggler. Next, a layer of red or white sauce nestles an array of more than 25 delectable and electable toppings, including such offbeat choices as hot wings, eggplant, and hot cherry peppers ($1.60–$4.25 each). Hearty calzones come stuffed with cheeses, meats, and veggies ($4.26–$12.73), and sides include classic coleslaw ($1.75), fried ravioli ($5.25 for small), and garlic bites–a dietary staple used to drive New England’s most fearsome vampires back to their Harvard classrooms ($4.50 for small).
When opening Taberna Restaurant, Jaime and Daniel Lopez decided to stick with the food that they knew best: tapas and pan-Mediterranean cooking, which they'd started refining at Norwalk favorite La Paella. The chefs draw most of their inspiration from Spanish and Italian recipes while occasionally incorporating flavors from North Africa or closer to home. The resulting presentation and cuisine itself are "gracefully restrained," says the New York Times.
Soft polenta arrives with a simple, savory combination of grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. The handmade, duck-confit-filled tortellini benefits from the creaminess of fresh ricotta cheese and the aromas of fresh herbs in brown-butter sauce. Taberna Restaurant's Spanish influences are more apparent in its selection of tapas, such as the sautéed chorizo with white beans and mushrooms in a red-wine sauce and the servings of serrano ham and manchego cheese. As for larger plates, there's traditional seafood paella brimming with enough fish, shellfish, and saffron-tinted rice to feed two people or one homesick whale.
Behind a simple, gleaming wooden bar, bartenders mix pitchers of sangria and uncork bottles of wine from a list that, naturally, features a wealth of selections from Italy and Spain. Brushed metal sconces illuminate white tablecloths and walls decorated with paintings and vintage-style posters. During the sunnier seasons, the restaurant opens its outdoor patio.
In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
The crew at Gaetano's Italian Steakhouse believes that Italian cuisine should strive to be fantastic. To accomplish this, the kitchen staff uses fresh ingredients to prepare tailor-made dishes to delight guests. Their competitively-priced entrees ensure each experience is tasty and care-free.
Led by their mom, Cassandra, brothers Mergim, Burim, Durim, and Agim turned a cache of generations-old family recipes into 4 Brothers Pizza & Mediterranean Restaurant. With these unique culinary formulas, the tight-knit clan infuses classic Mediterranean and Peloponnesian flavors into their sprawling lineup of Italian and Greek dishes, which includes flaky spanakopita, linguine with clam sauce, and creamy penne with chicken and broccoli. Each of the brothers also boasts a favorite pizza that bears their name, agreeing that whoever’s pie is the most popular gets to claim the remote control forever times infinity.
Although Matteo's cooks draw from a menu filled with classic Italian and seafood dishes—such as chicken parmigiana, tilapia piccata, and linguini with clams—they aren’t afraid of breaking from culinary tradition and allowing patrons to design their own personalized pasta feasts. Willing guests don the proverbial chef’s hat and build from the bottom up, choosing a noodle base—such as angel hair or rigatoni—before selecting from a lineup of five sauces that range from classic alfredo to pink vodka.
The cooks adopt a similar collaborative approach in their pizza-making process, letting diners take the reins and choose their own toppings—such as broccoli, bacon, or eggplant—to create a wholly unique pie. Of course, they offer a prearranged mélange of specialty pizzas as well, including the margherita, shrimp and bacon, and Clams Casino.