It would be easy to pass an entire afternoon in Frank Anthony's lush garden courtyard, reclining on comfortable patio chairs and slowly polishing off a bottle of BYOB wine. Servers stroll through the forest of linen umbrellas, expertly balancing trays of Italian dishes while refilling glasses of San Pellegrino. Inside the elegant dining hall, intimate tabletops host guests, whose faces are illuminated by the glow of soft hanging lights. In the kitchen, chefs fold fresh meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables into traditional Italian dishes, tossing crispy calamari in garlic, baking crusty Italian rolls, and crushing plum tomatoes using only their minds. Meanwhile, pizzas rise in the oven, speckled with toppings of wild mushrooms, savory sausage, and spicy peppers.
With more than two decades of experience in the restaurant industry, owner and French Culinary Institute graduate Alberto Traficante could envision exactly what his Italian restaurant, Tosca, would be like. Authentic Neapolitan recipes would come to life with fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as homemade pastas, daily-made mozzarella, and pizzas baked in a wood-burning brick oven. It's safe to say Alberto fulfilled his dream, because since its inception, Tosca's has satisfied locals with these handcrafted and artfully plated Italian dishes. And now with head chef Alfredo Colle—an Italian native whose resume includes a stint as personal chef to Francis Ford Coppola—at the helm, Tosca's menu churns out authentic Italian entrees with a contemporary twist, including bruschetta topped with goat cheese and tender baked chicken an seasoned with a finely ground original Michelangelo fresco.
Vintage olive oil bottles stand in line against Giuseppe's brick walls, and fuchsia tablecloths add a colorful splash of elegance. In similar fashion, the menu blends the classic Italian recipes with new-world American favorites. As cheese bubbles burst on hand-tossed pizzas, their steam mingles with aromas of baked ziti, hearty subs, and juicy grilled burgers. Diners are also free to enjoy their favorite BYOB beverage, or search how to make a wireless router out of lingini on the restaurant's complimentary WiFi.
Fortissimo's kitchens produce steaming family-style platters of rich, classic Italian dishes, including pizzas, pastas and subs. Summon the satiety rains by seeding stomachs with house-made crab cakes accented by roasted peppered puree ($11.95), or channel Poseidon sans the seaweed-festooned beard with Fortissimo's salad homage, brimming with mixed baby greens, fried calamari, and balsamic vinaigrette ($8.95–$10.95). For the main event, pick a flavorful fistfight over platters of meatier munchums such as the family classic chicken parmigiana ($14.95). Alternately, savory pie lovers delight as specialty pizzas twirl about in suits of tasty toppings, such as the glitzy Las Vegas ($9.95–$18.95), topped with potato wedges, bacon, gorgonzola-cream sauce, sequins, and a live tiger show.
It would be easy to spend an entire day at Calandra's Italian Village—perusing the colorful packaged Italian imports in the market, lingering over a cup of pistachio gelato in the gelateria, and finishing off with a glass of wine in the bar. Wanderers who stroll to the left of the village stumble into Il Vecchio Cafe, where Italian tapestries adorn the walls and diners chat animatedly at wooden tabletops. Servers dart across the sunlit floors, bearing plates of homemade penne alla vodka, eggplant caprese panini, and broiled tilapia and refilling glasses of wine. A counter overlooks the kitchen, where a wood-burning oven bakes thin-crust pizzas. Wooden beams and vintage-style walls enclose the tabletops that speckle the outdoor stone deck, creating the look of a rustic Italian farm or the set of a movie where a rich businessman learns the value of friendship from a talking countryside mouse.