The comestible construction crew at Italian Gardens crafts a blueprint for fine Italian dining with a menu of tantalizing pastas, pizzas, and seafood, and décor that transports diners to lush Italian landscapes. Patrons practice taste-bud calisthenics with an order of battered and fried zucchini sticks with ranch dressing ($5.50) before working out their mandibles with orders of shrimp scampi, which rests jumbo shrimp, garlic, white-wine sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli on a springy mattress of penne noodles ($17.95). The chicken-breast parmigiana swaddles two tender chicken fillets in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese ($14.50) to sate solitary cravings, and an 18-inch New York–style cheese pizza is best shared among friends or amicable space botonists ($13.95).
The menu at Arlon's is even more accommodating than the carryout policy. Spanning classic dishes of American, Italian, and Indian cuisine, everything is available for preparation for gatherings large and small. Submarine sandwiches and stromboli are served among other popular hand-held eats, while entrees include house-made crab cakes and tandoori-style chicken and fish curries. Between all these eclectic dishes, though, the chefs are hard at work crafting their signature dish: thin-crust pizzas made with fresh dough and and a trusty sauce recipe. House specialties include the buffalo chicken pizza drizzled in spicy sauce and bleu cheese, and the seafood pizza, which features shimp and crabmeat seasoned with cocktail sauce and Old Bay.
Customization is the word at Dominick's Pizza, where guests can tailor hand-tossed pizzas and overstuffed subs to their liking. Thick, Sicilian-style crusts form serving platters for a choice of 20 toppings, including italian sausage, capicola ham, and sweet peppers. Jumbo wings come in more than a dozen flavors, including Cajun and barbecue. Bolstered by nearly 50 years of history, the pizzeria also specializes in pastas as traditional as an Italian matron’s weekly spaghetti-weaving parties.
The owners of Pasta Blitz employ recipes and cooking techniques inherited from their Neapolitan mother to create a menu of homemade pastas, grilled seafood, and veal-based entrees. Mirroring the aesthetic of an Italian trattoria, the restaurant’s relaxed, convivial atmosphere puts diners at ease as they indulge in authentic delicacies such as baked ziti, mushroom risotto, and calamari with caper-and-lemon sauce. Once the sun sets, the restaurant transforms from a casual eatery into an intimate spot for first dates or an awkward location for traffic-court proceedings.
The chefs at Egyptian Pizza trace their cooking techniques to a different side of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the practice of rising dough when they cooked crushed wheat germ and water inside early conical ovens. Honoring their forefathers’ methods, the versatile cooks pull more than 30 types of gourmet thin-crust pizzas out of their wood-fired ovens, along with a lengthy menu of Middle Eastern sandwiches and specialties. They take pains to use natural, fresh, and healthful ingredients to whip up plump fish kebabs, tender meat shawarmas and housemade sauces that have won over the palates of reporters from the Baltimore Sun. Their kitchen looks out onto the casual dining room, where servers help uncork BYOB bottles of wines beneath artwork depicting famous Egyptian landmarks, such as the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other toys left behind by aliens.
The chefs at Yia Yia's Pizzeria toss specialty pizzas topped with imported ham and various cheeses and forge a menu's worth of pasta dishes and sandwiches. Diners divvy up a 14-inch cheese pizza ($9.99) or hire a geologist to identify the various layers of lasagna in meat sauce ($9.99). Five-piece chicken tenders quell poultry cravings beside an order of fries, and the lamb gyro ($5.99) complements a greek salad. Punch-card-carrying patrons can gather around a 16-inch rib-eye philly steak pizza inside the restaurant or await free delivery of a hawaiian pizza stacked with imported ham and fresh pineapple chunks. Diners can customize a 16-inch pie with any two desired toppings or by spelling out the name of their accountant in pepperoni.