Greek immigrant Louis Santikos founded his first movie theater in San Antonio in 1911, when silent moving pictures of train robberies and slapstick comedy were an exciting novelty. Today, the thriving regional theater empire continues the family tradition of dazzling audiences with attractions such as IMAX sensory journeys.
Santikos's expansive theaters house up to 19 screens of first-run cinematic entertainment at some locations. Equipped with popcorn and sodas, moviegoers can nervously munch and sip their way through every pulse-pounding car chase, tragic missed connection, or gripping montage of drying paint. Screenings in 3-D of select films are brought to life by the gloriously immersive illuminations of Xpand 3-D projectors.
Owner James Mollitor personally selects each ingredient that graces the tables at Galleria Ristorante. Preface a Northern-Italian meal with antipasti such as prosciutto di parma, sliced thin and served with melon ($12.50). Veal scallopine Galleria's slow-braised savoriness smothers appetites with wine sauce ($28.50), and the tender beef fillets of the tournedos Barbera recline lazily with sliced mushrooms, absorbing the delicate flavors of the barbera sauce ($34.50). Galleria Ristorante's classic pasta dishes provide 100% of a daily carb requirement with elongated fare such as fettuccine alfredo and linguine with clams, garlic, and olive oil in a choice of red or white sauce ($19.50 each). Finish up with a slice of amaretto cake ($7) and a complimentary postprandial cordial.
Chef Ayhan opened his first restaurant on Long Island more than 35 years ago, setting the stage for a fiefdom of successful Mediterranean restaurants across the region, each one serving up freshly caught seafood, succulent kebabs, and creamy hummus. The menu draws inspiration from the cuisines of Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, and Israel, entertaining taste buds with an eclectic mix of dishes, such as doner gyro kebab, spinach-and-feta pie, sesame-crusted salmon, and char-grilled calamari.
Maybe it's the food—classic burgers and fries with rugged upgrades such as Jameson whiskey sauces, jalapeño and chipotle mayo, or crispy onions and pepper jack cheese. Maybe it's the drink menu, which ranges from craft brews on tap to flashy cocktails served in fishbowls. Maybe it's the decor, which features tin ceilings, unfinished wood walls, an array of hubcaps, and furnishings made from vanquished beer cans. Or maybe it's just the restaurant's habit of spelling everything with a Z. Now under new management, there's something about CANZ that makes an old-fashioned road warrior feel right at home.
Executive chef Pat Ippolito may be a culinary professional, but his mother, Norine, makes the tiramisu at his restaurant. As the New York Times noted in its favorable review, the seasonally changing gourmet meals at 490 West are often a family effort. Ippolito comes from a restaurant family, and on the weekends, Norine and his wife, Meredith, help him prepare his upscale bistro cuisine in the white- and taupe-hued dining room.
The plates they carry are strewn with artfully assembled dishes: wildflowers perch atop stacks of shrimp and greens; vibrant, fuschia-streaked sprouts crown a fillet of just-caught fish; and sun-yellow sauce highlights a row of mussels. However, Ippolito and his family don't just choose ingredients for their beauty; they collect organic and locally acquired produce whenever possible, and every fish is wild and brought to the kitchen the very day it's served. No added antibiotics or hormones sully the menu's natural meats, and there are even some gluten-free dishes available—but they don't respond well to pickup lines. Examples of these conscientiously culled inputs include escargots exalted by the Times, steak, baked brie, and salmon. A tasting menu whets appetites for crab cakes, and a prix fixe menu showcases multiple-course specialties.