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.
Customers at Caldwell Seafood Market & Cafe can take home morsels of fresh raw seafood handpicked daily from the Fulton Fish Market or sit down to sample the cafe’s menu of chef-prepared gourmet fare. At the market, adopt a fresh pound of plump pink shrimp, a heavy slab of Norwegian salmon, or a gaggle of glistening sea scallops to take home and cook for an evening feast. Prices for raw seafood vary daily depending on each variety’s market value and the number of engagement rings it swallowed before being caught. Then sidle up to the cafe to sample prepared fare such as grilled rainbow trout sprinkled in Cajun seasoning ($17.95) or the combo platter, on which a 4-ounce fillet bundled in breading beds down with three large fried shrimp, three jumbo sea scallops, and a teddy bear named Eddie ($19.95).
South America meets the Iberian Peninsula at Bohemia Restaurant, where meals of tapas and wine fuse Latin and European influences. Vivid yellow and red walls surround guests as they dine on ceviche flavored with a Peruvian red-pepper sauce, empanadas, or skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Bartenders concoct sangria, mojitos, and caipirinhas, only adding to diners' confusion that they might actually be on the coast of Spain. Bohemia also offers wine by the glass or the bottle, with the list featuring different varietals such as garnacha, rioja, and cava.
The Fieldhouse Pub beckons to visitors with the inviting smell of American-steakhouse fare mixing with that of Italian, French, and German cuisine. Head Chef Hans Jurgen Stender loads the tables with saucy veal schnitzels, spinach- and ricotta-cheese-stuffed capon, sauce-laden pastas, and juicy blackened steaks. Like 2001: A Beer Odyssey, his pub menu explores beer's longtime on-and-off relationship with burgers, overstuffed wraps, and shareable finger food.
Hanging plants hold court alongside a sun-friendly, greenhouse-style glass wall in the dining area. Upstairs, grainy timber accents define a bar that features a jukebox and stools clad in billiard-table-green leather. DIRECTV sports packages keep guests entertained with the glory of games, and occasional karaoke and all-ages stand-up routines keep them in stitches over the antics of professional comedians or amazed and terrified at human Auto-Tune impersonations.
Chef and owner Maurice Gallo brings more than 30 years of experience to Carnevale Ristorante, where dishes flourish with classic flavors culled from the gustatory traditions of both northern and southern Italy. Glass art and décor inspired by the colorful Carnival of Venice surround white tablecloths that cover the tables under which hide the best hide-and-go-seek players from Florence. Local New Jersey wines join customer-toted libations in the BYOB eatery, where live music sprinkles freshly harvested, mellifluous notes onto forks every weekend. Gourmet dishes, such as veal in cognac sauce and truffle-oil-drizzled mushrooms and brie, team up with gluten-free and whole-wheat pasta options to please even persnickety palates.
The culinary wizards at Spanish Pavillion adroitly sate hunger pangs with their multifarious lunch and dinner menus that feature authentic Spanish cuisine. Noontime noshers feast on handheld victuals such as an imported ham-and-cheese panini with saffron aioli ($8) or delve carnivorously lunching forks into the meaty depths of the 8-ounce filet mignon with mojo verde ($16). During dinner, put kindergarten-honed sharing skills into practice with the savory tapas menu, which dishes out small plates including a Galician bean stew ($4), grilled chorizo ($9), and octopus with hot paprika ($11). Larger entrees include the paella calasparra, hosting a toothsome protein party of clams, mussels, prawns, calamari, scallops, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo congenially hot-tubbing in a saffron seafood broth ($26, $49 for two). Red-wine-braised short ribs delight mouths with their tender flavor-kisses ($24), and the 1.25-pound grilled twin lobsters team up in matching red costumes for a palatable duet ($31).