After spending 38 years cooking for her husband and seven children in New York, Mama D decided to move to California. She packed her grandmother's recipes, arrived on the West Coast, and opened a traditional Italian eatery. Nowadays, Mama D, Papa D, and their children take turns supervising the eatery's kitchen, where chefs roll signature homemade raviolis and fill them with chicken, sautéed spinach, or lobster and crab. Using dough made with filtered water, they knead Mama D's Neapolitan pizzas and top them with homemade sauce and freshly grated parmesan. Most of the restaurant's dishes are named after their inventors. Names such as Julianna's homemade meatball, Gary's veal parmigiana, Jr.'s chicken limone, and Cheryl's steamed clams contribute to Mama D's family atmosphere and make it easier for Julianna, Gary, and Cheryl to remember their favorite dishes.
The door to Mama D's rests beneath a green awning and opens to a casual eatery with tables veiled in red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Passing through the interior, diners arrive at an outdoor seating area decked out with a fireplace and sun umbrellas.
Located in a spacious dining room and roughly 100 yards from the beach and Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Pizzeria specializes in Italian dishes that have become American classics. The owner, who was worked as a chef at Spago in Beverly Hills, utilizes a menu of pizzas with eclectic ingredients, bowls of sauce-covered pasta, hot wings by the dozen, calzones, and a wide variety of subs and salads. As patrons mull over pizza toppings, the cooks can suggest combinations such as buffalo chicken with mozzarella and red onions, or speciality pizzas such as the Deluxe. Alongside the pizzas, chefs use their toppings to create hot and cold subs, as well as salads that burst with vegetables like a scarecrow’s investment portfolio.
Pedone's Pizza's cooks fulfill their titular promise for pies, but they use their ovens for far more than baking crust. They also whip up a slew of Italian specialties, from bubbling lasagna to toasty chicken-parmesan sandwiches. In addition to classic dishes, they flex their culinary creativity when creating their pizzas, sometimes replacing the standard tomato-based sauce with alfredo, thai sauce, or Pedone's secret pink sauce. Customers have the option of a preselected suite of toppings to accompany each sauce, or they can make their own recipes from a selection of fresh ingredients with which the kitchen staff will top any pie or vacation scrapbook.
Logic has it that if a restaurant names itself after a specific dish, it’s wise to order that dish—and the math certainly works out at Fritto Misto. Gayot suggests beginning with the namesake dish, a blend of shrimp, calamari, artichoke hearts, and vegetables that’s lightly battered, fried, and served with cocktail sauce and roasted garlic mayonnaise. From there, you can customize your plate by choosing from 15 types of pastas to douse in 20 kinds of sauces—such as spinach linguini in a basil cream sauce. Chefs take control once again with vegetarian specialties, including artichoke-stuffed gnocchi, and cap off meals with homemade flourless chocolate cake.
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.