Francesca's Ristorante Italiano's eggplant fra diablo won Taste of Buffalo's 2012 Pat Sardina Memorial award for Best Comfort Food, and the lemon strawberry sorbet won Taste of Buffalo's award for 2013 Independent Health Foundation's Healthy Options, but those aren't the only items on the eatery's menu that could have qualified. Other dishes with sumptuous, rich flavors include the eatery's rustic Italian pizzas, which chefs paint with a signature red-wine sauce or garlic-cream-cheese spread, as well as the osso buco with tender, slow-cooked beef shank and oyster mushrooms packed into ravioli. While navigating forks through tubes of housemade manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese, patrons can enjoy the melodies of occasional live music or launch paper airplanes off the outdoor patio. Dark wood accentuates the fully stocked bar, replete with wine, beer, and cocktail makings.
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Gino & Joe's supplies quick workday lunches and leisurely family dinners alike with barbecue chicken pizzas, hot subs, and Italian food. In the kitchen, pizza specialists hurl discs of dough into the air before topping them with mouthwatering tomatoes or sausage, while cooks nearby assemble subs with thin-sliced capicola or bundle together veggie wraps. Pasta sauces are made fresh each day from imported tomatoes before they coat trays of savory meatballs or dinners of cheesy baked ziti.
The time-tested Italian dishes populating Avezzano Ristorante’s menu span generations, having been passed down throughout the years, according to metroWNY. Prelude feasts with plates of jalapeño ravioli ($6.95), whose breaded-and-fried shells are drizzled in a rich red-pepper coulis. Sautéed with fresh mushrooms and herbs, succulent cuts of chicken ($14.95) or veal ($18.95) sail down tongues on the surging currents of a marsala-wine demi-glace. Sage-brown-butter sauce buoys pan-roasted cod filets ($18.95) sheathed in a thick almond crust designed to fend off oceanic predators and plastic silverware. Crown sated bellies with one of eight decadent meal closers, such as a pillowy cream puff ($4.95) or a slice of peanut-butter pie ($5.95).
Chef Jake Zachow takes a contemporary approach to Tuscan cuisine, filling his menus with classic flavors delivered with a modern flair. Locally inspired salad creations lead to dinner entrees of lemon caper grilled tilapia filet or dijon-and-pretzel-crusted pork chops. Diners enjoy the elegant dining room around tables covered with black linens or on a terrace warmed by a fire pit and outdoor show grill. Alternatively, guests can enjoy a slightly condensed menu at Della Terra's lounge, which also offers top-shelf liquor selections and draft beers.