The chefs at Peppercornz on Main share their love of Italian cuisine with the masses via an authentic menu and in-house cooking classes. Amid yellow walls and scarlet accents, diners pack away forkfuls of pumpkin ravioli or bites of porcini-mushroom ravioli in a white-wine blue-cheese cream sauce topped with scallops or shrimp. Three-hour cooking classes consist of chef-led demonstrations on how to churn pasta, make sauces, or do the splits without ripping aprons. For foursomes who’d rather dine at home, Peppercornz prepares family dinners for pickup, in addition to its catering services.
Chattering TVs above the bar, the occasional visiting DJ, and trivia nights. They can all distract from food, but there will still undoubtedly be patrons at Martinis Bar and Grill totally focused on plates of Italian food and burgers. That’s all augmented by an array of beers and cocktails, which help encourage dancing and lively conversation.
The cooks at Caffe Tosca fashion rustic recipes that recall Tuscany and Sicily, melding traditional Italian styles with American influence. Whet appetites better than scrolling through online image galleries of breadsticks with a quartet of traditional meatballs adorned with toasted brioche breadcrumbs ($8) or a beet salad crowned with crumbled goat cheese ($11). Caffe Tosca’s chicken saltimbocca brandishes prosciutto and sage between sides of rustic potatoes and asparagus ($19), and beef dishes such as veal chops, skirt steaks, or filet mignon ($23+) come with a choice of butter and two sides. The mezzi rigatoni bolognese intermixes cinnamon and parmigiano reggiano ($11) in a marriage of sweet and savory flavors more harmonious than a boy band dancing on a teenaged piano.
Papa John's has carefully crafted a menu of specialty pizzas to satisfy any taste or mouth shape. Order a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, or go all-out and get The Works, a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy Italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, gourmet baby portabella mushrooms, and ripe black olives. Satisfy herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a Tuscan Six-Cheese or Garden Fresh pie. The full list of specialty pizzas includes several more; take the hassle out of haggling over individual ingredients and boldly cast your straight-ticket ballot for the pizza party that your conscious dictates.
Since its founding in 2001, The Upper Crust Pizzeria has fashioned artful thin-crust pizzas in 19 storefronts with modern, architectural touches. Chefs craft specialty pies inspired by local landmarks, from the sundried-tomato cobblestones of the Beacon Hill to the pesto-painted walls of the Green Monster. Diners can opt to spread sweet sauce over a regular or whole-wheat crust or request that any pie be served white without sauce, and combine slices with crisp salads or pounce on the geometric goodness of a spinach square or half moon-shaped calzone. Restaurant interiors are accoutered with modern flourishes such as flat-screen TVs and pan-decorated ceilings, allowing one to lie down and admire their reflection before a postmeal nap.
“Easy” may be in the name, but this restaurant’s inventive pizza combinations are anything but simple. The Bangkok pizza, for instance, arrives tableside topped with grilled chicken, stir-fried veggies, crushed peanuts, and a peanut Thai sauce, and the Beach Chair sports fresh mango-peach salsa, pineapple, and prosciutto under a portable sun. The creativity continues into dessert, when crusts hold gooey s’more fixings or daring heaps of Nutella, bananas, and caramel. And for those who prefer their crusts in more loaflike form, an array of subs and burgers can be customized to their hearts’ content.