The French Connection Café quiets the growls of stomach sirens with a multifarious menu studded with French dishes such as quiche and crêpes alongside the American staples of sandwiches, seafood, and steak. An order of the Black and Bleu salad ($11.50) stars a 6-ounce grilled sirloin steak surrounded by decadent baubles of blue-cheese crumbles, sweet walnuts, and the echoes of eternity. Toothsome Gallic wrapping swaddles savory nuts and poultry in the chicken-and-almond crêpe ($6.50), whereas the seafood quiche ($7.50) whisks taste buds away on a Cousteau-themed lucid dream. Eaters celebrate cultural crossover with a club croissant ($8.50), where New World noshes including ham, turkey, and bacon mingle with continental swiss cheese in a crescent-shaped U.N. Twitterpate tongues with mouthfuls of sautéed grouper Diablo ($18), which arrives at tables atop a verdant bed of spinach, debonairly dressed with crawfish, shallots, and fiddle-playing Cajun cream.
Downtown Italy's Calabria-born owners forge the authentic, made-to-order dishes of their birthplace from fresh ingredients. Diners affix third eyes to the dinner menu, honing in on collaborative entrees such as Nonna's al forno trio, which warmly embraces eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, and baked ziti, all smothered in signature marinara ($26). Shrimp infused with tomato cream sauce snuggles into pillows of lobster ravioli ($26). Midday munchers encounter a lunch menu flaunting the Philly Downtown panini, which tears sirloin from traditional cheesesteaks and presses it between pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and sautéed veggies ($9). Inside the classico panini, home-baked focaccia bread scoops up prosciutto, mozzarella, pesto, and tomatoes ($9). Glasses ($7+) or bottles ($21+) of white, sparkling, and red wines help wash down meals or accidentally ingested napkins.
With a menu brimming with Italian and American cuisines and a rotating schedule of live music each night, Bratta's immerses diners in an extravagant multisensory experience. Those who arrive between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. can fill their eager bellies with selections from the early-bird menu. Test tooth strength on the macadamia-nut-crusted grouper, pan sautéed and drizzled with mustard plum sauce extracted straight from one of Little Jack Horner's pies ($19.99). The savory half chicken is roasted in garlic-rosemary butter sauce ($14.99), and both entrees are accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and a medley of other vegetables.
Chef Dan Virola of Twisted Vine Bistro combines proteins from the air, earth, and water with fire to create delectable dishes that are complemented by an extensive list of domestic and international wines. The spiced rack of lamb with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and a wild mushroom ragout over cranberry chutney tempts forks to twirl with delight ($35), as lost wild salmon find themselves in a hoisin brown-sugar glaze with wasabi-whipped potatoes and a pineapple-lemongrass butter froth ($25). Stuffed breasts of chicken distract diners with dollops of sage and chicken mousseline, glazed carrots, garlic whipped potatoes, mushroom jus, and repartee ($18). An asparagus-cream soup with crispy, ground chorizo floods palates by the spoonful ($5) and a watermelon salad featuring mixed greens with strawberry-maple vinaigrette, local watermelon, and goat cheese perks up taste buds and bored salad forks alike ($8). An extensive list of domestic and international wines ($6+/glass, $18+/bottle) offers more enjoyable sips than a candle full of melted wax.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
With its huge grass-roofed patio, The Sandy Parrot looks as though it ought to have ocean waves lapping up against the surrounding sand. The echoes of the sea are even louder on the menu, which features a huge collection of grouper, crab, shrimp, tilapia, and mahi-mahi dishes rounded out by prime rib, sandwiches, and chicken. Preparations span the globe, drawing in such flavors as garlic teriyaki sauce, parmesan-laced lemon butter, and mango-papaya salsa. Live musicians take the restaurant's stage six nights a week, performing tributes to Motown and Elvis, hits from the '60s through the '90s, and sweeping arrangements of the dessert menu.