"Owner Madison Curry's warm, smiling presence is underscored by baked goods that all but dare not to be ordered." This quote from a NOLA.com article hints at Il Posto's charm. But it only encapsulates a fraction of what makes the cafe so interesting. Italian cuisine forms the backbone of the menu, which features paninis such as the Bologna with mortadella, roasted red peppers, and balsamic dressing, as well as fontina grilled cheeses with inventive add-ins such as tuna, honey, and walnuts. Antipasti spreads can be built from a choice of meats or cheeses. In the mornings, on the other hand, the restaurant brews and serves its own house-blend coffee. Their java complements bagels, organic granola, and a rotating selection of pastries that can't stay long, as they have to get back to starring in peoples' dreams.
Fresco Café and Pizzeria has been serving pizza, pasta, and golden-brown strombolis for more than a decade. Nearly everything on the menu is made in house, including white or whole-wheat pizza crusts, hand-rolled meatballs, and the pasta sauces used to write the daily specials on the wall. Fresco Café's lavash rolls, a unique specialty, are worth a try—they feature roasted eggplant and pesto, pulled pork, or gyro meat rolled into warm lavash flatbread and served with rosemary potatoes. Of course, it wouldn't be Fresco Café if al fresco dining weren't an option—patrons can enjoy their Italian food inside or out on the patio.
Coco Bamboo Pizzeria infuses traditional Italian fare and pizzas with tropical flair in an extensive menu of freshly prepared edibles. Fourteen-inch specialty pizzas, assembled atop dough made daily, arrange toppings into symphonies of flavor on par with Mozart's Pepperoni Fugue #2; a Volcano chicken or shrimp pizza ignites palates with hot sauce and optional jalapeños, and the Tikis Supreme heaps Italian sausage, green peppers, and five other toppings onto a sturdy base. Coco Bamboo's chef whips up sauce from scratch for each pizza and offers a wheat-crust alternative upon request.
Salads are also served with tropical flair at Coco Bamboo Pizzeria, which uses unique ingredients such as mandarin poppy seeds, kalamata olives, and coco bamboo dressing in their Avocado and Asparagus, Spinach and Melon, and Crazy Nuts salads. Sandwiches and wraps conceal permutations such as the Voodoo smoked house built around seasoned chicken or shrimp or the Tropical, which combines grilled chicken with pineapple and avocado.
To augment savory flavors, sip on a smoothie, which pulverizes fruits from raspberries to mangos to avocados, or a Caipirinha cocktail, an elixir of cachaca rum accented with sugar and lime. Colorful potted palms and plants sprout up in the corners of the warmly hued pizzeria, flanking a large flat-screen TV and nonchalantly cuddling up near tables to try and steer conversations toward the constitutional rights of bonsai trees.
Reginelli’s Pizzeria merges a menu of traditional Italian fare with casual, modern décor to forge an Old World dining experience for contemporary feasters. Hand-tossed by a crust master upon request, the Classic Combo pizza bursts forth from kitchens crowned with a panoply of pepperoni and italian sausage, a scepter of fresh veggies, and a gooey cloak of mozzarella ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Smokin’ Chicken pie honors its piquant namesake by pairing a spicy smoked-tomato sauce with marinated chicken breast, pancetta, and a snapshot of George Clooney in a chicken suit ($11.95 for 10”, $16.75 for 14”). The Uptowner sandwich’s melty mélange of smoked turkey breast, provolone, and hot-pepper relish ($8.25) proudly represents Reginelli’s focaccia-based capital alongside The Downtowner’s posse of Italian meats, mozzarella, and kalamata-olive pesto ($8.25). Diners can deploy forks into the lush forestry of a refreshing Chicken Salad ($9.75) or navigate the tortellini trees sprouting across the Shrimp Forrest’s loch of spicy red-pepper-cream sauce ($12.50).
The basic pizza needs no introduction, but Pompeii's menu discloses the secrets of even the most elusive species of pie. Order a large E's Special with barbecue sauce, chicken, pineapple, bacon, jalapeños, and extra cheese (16", $17.95), or go for the large Big Round (chicken, bacon, pepperoni, and extra cheese with a side of ranch, $17.95). Pizza heretics can rejoice with a stromboli (pepperoni, ham, Genoa salami, and cheese inside a doughy cocoon, $7.95), Philly cheesesteak ($7.95), or a huge order of 20 Buffalo wings ($16.95, also available in barbecue flavor). You can also order small, not exactly small, and bigger-than-your-head pies with any of 19 toppings, including black or green olives, anchovies, and shrimp (one-topping 8", $4.50; 12", $9.95; and 16", $13.45; additional charge for premium-topping chicken or shrimp). Wash any solid foods down with a half-liter bottle of Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper soft drinks ($1.25).
East of Italy serves up a menu of flavorfully fused Cajun and Italian plates, tantalizing taste buds with a unique dining experience. Local noon-time noshers can excavate layers of stacked sandwiches such as the Italian Special, a gravity-challenging product of gastronomy that tops pepperoni, ham, and salami with mozzarella cheese, black olives, and red onions before snuggling them between signature baked bread ($6.95). Dinnertime brings generously portioned plates such as the fettuccine alfredo, with garlicky notes paying tribute to an Italian classic ($10.95), and the lobster ravioli, dressed with a creamy pesto-cilantro sauce to nod toward stateside flavors ($13.95). Slice savorers can sink teeth into an array of nine pizzas ($11.95–$16.95) that includes the meatlovers, topped with pepperoni, italian sausage, ground beef, chicken, and ham, and the pesto chicken, sprinkled with pesto sauce, grilled chicken, and flavorful veggies. Creative types can catalyze their inner cook by building their own pie sans sauce gun or cheese saw using a list of both standard and premium toppings ($6.95+). Today’s Groupon is also good for East of Italy’s happy hour (daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.), which features a bevy of $5 martinis, unlike other venues' miserly hours where drinks cost twice as much.