Diners seated in what used to be the Frasinetti's east cellar sate themselves on handcrafted Italian lunch and dinner dishes, surrounded by huge vats evoking the 112-year-old winery’s storied past. Dinners commence with starters such as crostini slathered in grilled brie and red-pepper chutney ($10) or steamed clams in white-wine sauce ($9). Next, certified non-android servers bring out entrees such as seafood manicotti, a mix of salmon, scallops, and crab packed in pasta ($15). Pine-nut-gorgonzola butter adds a zesty twist to the 12-ounce center-cut prime rib ($25), and the regal Atlantic salmon rests on a bed of mushroom risotto ($19), like an eccentric rice baron.
Laguna Pizza’s ovens emit the appetizing aromas of freshly baked gourmet pizzas across an inviting, family-friendly dining room. Platters of pizzas showcase specialty toppings such as anchovy, artichoke hearts, linguiça, and pineapple, and a salad bar invites patrons to adorn leafy canvases with their chosen garnishes. A daily lunch buffet lets diners fill up and bask in belly-warming satisfaction, and Sunday- and Monday-night football specials emblazon HD televisions with games as customers sip wine and draft beer. The restaurant’s catering services furnishes pizza feasts and tableware for parties, meetings, and Bob Dole–impersonator conventions.
For more than 30 years, the chefs of De Vinci’s Elk Grove have been hard at work perfecting the traditional Italian recipes that stock their deli counter. They begin every morning with their hands floury, crafting doughs that will form the base of housemade foccacia breads, cheese-filled ravioli, and custom sandwiches. Joined occasionally by a fluffy ravioli mascot in a toque, staff combine dishes into prearranged packages ready for the family dinner table or parcel out single dishes by the pint, quart, gallon, or 10-gallon hat.
The founding family behind Pizza Bell starts each of their pies with their grandmother's dough recipe. Whole-milk mozzarella and Pizza Bell's signature sauce then invite toppings to form such creations as the All Meat Fantastico, the Garlic Chicken Supreme, and the Spring Veggie. To augment the circular sundries, Pizza Bell keeps a salad bar stocked with a slew of fixings and serves up toasty meatball subs straight from the oven. For dessert, sweet teeth can swan dive into cinnamon sticks or apple and raspberry twisters, whose recipes were discovered by playing Chubby Checkers records backwards.
The first Cool River Pizza opened more than 10 years ago with a mission to serve handcrafted pies made from fresh ingredients and California cheese in a family-friendly environment. All of the dough is made fresh daily and each pizza sports Cool River's homemade sauce accented with more than seven herbs, spices, and umlauts. Over the years, Cool River Pizza has grown from a solo outfit to a family of restaurants in California and Indiana. Inside each location, televisions illuminate dining rooms packed with long wooden tables and board games for families to play while waiting for their orders.
At La Riviera Family Pizza, chefs slather homemade sourdough crust with marinara, artichoke, or pesto sauce before piling on toppings such as whole-milk mozzarella cheese, salami, and sundried tomatoes. Gourmet toppings also fill calzones, which ooze with a blend of melted mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta cheeses. Other Italian specialties include homemade pasta dishes such as lasagna and ravioli and sandwiches such as meatball subs and roast beef au jus.