Short of the sink, Bella Vista Brazilian Pizza's chefs pile almost every ingredient in the kitchen?from meats and cheeses to fresh fruit and chocolate?onto thin-crust disks to create 30 different styles of gourmet pizza. Waiters then meander through the dining room in the tradition of Brazilian-rodizio-style meals, serving guests as much pizza as they can stomach or fit in their cheeks for later. Slices come slathered in specialty Brazilian-style sauces and topped with brazilian sausages, and catupiry?brazilian cream cheese?as well as in other non-traditional toppings such as cinnamon, hearts of palm, beef stroganoff, and vegetarian cheese. In addition to its savory pizza staples, Bella Vista also churns out dessert pizzas and four pasta dishes.
Open seven days a week and stationed in the Brazilian Mall, Bella Vista enshrouds guests in the light emitted by a tinted-window ceiling and decorative wicker-basket light fixtures. Energetic music fills the space as diners sup on slices and sip their own BYOB beverages. And on major international soccer match days, the matches are broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.
Buffalo Wings & Pizza churns out a spread of wings, pizzas, and burgers lovingly designed to fill every hunger-shaped hole in your stomach. The eatery's menu boasts tender chicken wings in flavors that range from mildly spicy to suicide, and more than 20 toppings and 11 sauces weigh down its 9- to 20-inch pizzas to keep them from blowing away. Five beers such as Fat Tire, Pacifico, and Blue Moon splash into glasses straight from the keg, and a full bar supplies patrons with cheer-inducing libations during games displayed on Buffalo Wings' projector.
Chefs at Polentoni Italian Restaurant splash spicy tomato sauces over handmade pizzas, hearty pastas and risottos, and other mouthwatering Italian dishes. On plates, rich pesto and refreshing salads enjoy the company of piquant garlic, tender cuts of chicken, and creamy cheeses. Rustic brick walls, pristine hardwood floors, and streamlined wall sconces epitomize the restaurant?s contemporary design, which builds a cozy space where visitors can enjoy glasses of wine or knit comfy scarves out of noodles.
Motivated by the success of their first restaurant, the beachside Caffé Delfini in Santa Monica, co-founders Alessandro Ercoli and Gianpietro Silardi joined forces with Franco Lupinacci to expand their culinary expertise to Beverly Hills. The result of their collaboration is Delfini Città, which holds true to the threesome's Roman roots by welcoming whole families to carouse across several upscale Italian dining rooms, a chic bar, and a rustically urban pizza lounge where head pizza chef David Santiago unleashes his award-winning brick-oven pies.
In the central dining room, plush red pillows are individually strung behind the benches of long wooden banquet tables, offering each guest a comfortable way to recline between bites. Textural, but primarily monochromatic artwork adds sleek panache to the setting without steeling attention away from Luca Buaffi's Italian dishes, including hearty pastas and free-range veal in delicate wine sauce.
Wherever a group decides to enjoy dinner, the glow of moonlight is never far away, as most of the walls are littered with enormous picture windows. To continue revelry even after dessert, patrons can stop by the bar for a recommendation from head bartender Mark Disalvo, who mixes a diversity of Italian-inspired cocktails as well as pours from a vino list that includes more than 20 world wines and 50 by the bottle. Then, amid Delfini's low light, tipplers can enjoy their libations of choice while watching black-and-white movies on the bar's flat-screen TV, originally purchased in 1932.
Each morning, brothers Mario and Salvatore Marino stroll through local farmers’ markets in search of the ripest produce, returning back to their restaurant just in time to pull fresh bread from the oven. The pair actually oversees three LA restaurants—La Bottega Marino, Il Grano, and Marino Ristorante—each of which highlights the traditions of the owners’ homeland, Napoli, with handmade pastas, pastries, pizzas, and panini sandwiches filled with seasonal ingredients. As noted on the LA Weekly web blog, La Bottega Marino’s menu foregoes Italian-American standards like caesar salad and fettuccini for more authentic specialties such as porchetta—an herb-rolled pork loin wrapped in pork belly and roasted with a light seasoning of salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel. In addition to perfecting housemade meals, the Marino brothers spend time building their wine list by collecting varietals from almost every Italian region, including the region whose excess CO2 yields bubbly prosecco.
Il Forno Caldo translates to the hot oven —an appropriate name for an Italian restaurant where chefs fire up a cavalcade of Old-World dishes to pair with pastas rolled and cut fresh daily. While angel hair, rigatoni, and penne simmer in sauces such as pesto and bolognese, the tireless chefs fashion linguine lassos to reign in clams, mussels, and other delectable sea candies. Out in the dining room, which Gayot calls an "unexpected charmer," diners dig into slices of pizza fresh from the kitchen's eponymous hot oven, or sip one of 300 wines extracted directly from the giant, pulsing grape in the restaurant's cellar.
During the meal, guests can form finger-puppet ghosts with the white linen tablecloths or compare blowfish impressions in the mirrored wall panels. Rich red curtains lend an air of Old-World glamour to the romantic dining room, whose honey-colored wooden shelves display gleaming bottles of rare, classic, and California "cult" wines.