From buffalo wings slathered in hot sauce to pizzas oozing with melted cheese, the chefs at Pat's Pizza Family Restaurant concoct tasty Italian-inspired creations for dine-in or catering. The family-friendly menu incorporates a kids' menu along with a variety of hot subs, pasta, salads, and other palate-pleasing options to tempt even the pickiest of taste buds. The eatery also leverages its presence in the community to bolster local organizations, athletics teams, and schools—the academic ones, not the underwater ones.
In 1940, crowds of people would line up outside Tresilla Robino's front door, all awaiting coveted seats in the tiny dining room she had set up in her basement. Today, Mrs. Robino's great grandson replicates her beguiling Italian recipes and maintains a family business that has thrived for more than 70 years. Cooks place hearty meatballs atop tangles of housemade spaghetti and tuck seasoned meat and creamy ricotta cheese into hand-formed pockets of ravioli. The kitchen staff also breads veal cutlets by hand before topping them off with provolone and red sauce, and dusts sweet cannolis with powdered sugar for clear fingerprinting.
From the strains of live blues resonating through its walls to the spicy kick of its habañero Voodoo shrimp, Blue Parrot Bar & Grille recreates the freewheeling, vivacious vibe of a New Orleans nightclub. Guests sip colorful mojitos and hurricanes as they dig into Creole and Cajun specialties, including étouffée, red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya. Live bands primarily capture the gazes of diners, although the restaurant’s decor is interesting on its own. Murals, carnival masks, and posters evoke lively Bourbon Street scenes and Mardi Gras celebrations; outside, a brick patio surrounds guests with fountains, canna plants, and a large mural of a French Quarter–style inn.
For the past 27 years, a single family has passed Ristorante Attilio from parent to child. Now helmed by the second and third generations, the eatery specializes in housemade pastas shaped into manicotti, linguini, and gnocchi, with gluten-free options available. The hand-crafted noodles come drenched in a choice of sauces, which run the gamut from meat- and clam-infused varieties to meat-free options for pastatarians. Other classic dishes, such as veal parmigiana and the cheesesteak sandwich, round out the kitchen’s offerings, which staffers can infuse with hot peppers or smelt for a burst of Italian flavor.
Dan Butler is a master of reinvention. Piccolina Toscana is his latest restaurant venture stationed in Trolley Square, home to beloved Italian eateries dating back 20 years. Inside an open dessert kitchen, Dan and his staff craft rich Italian specialties including biscotti, tiramisu, and spiced panna cotta with maple-syrup foam; in the regular kitchen, they prepare a rotating menu of artisanal cheeses, seasonal pasta dishes, and housemade and imported salumi. These delectable wares have proven popular and earned praise from local publications, including the News Journal and kisses on the cheek from area grandmothers.
The friendly servers at Lambertis Cucina treat all their guests like family as they deliver plates of Aunt Babs' famous meatballs, bowls of MomMom Winnie's Italian wedding soup, or the restaurant's famous crab cakes. The chefs themselves accommodate diners with special dietary needs by offering whole wheat or gluten-free noodles in any of their pasta dishes, and their children's menu has been drafted especially with the palates of food critics under the age of 12 in mind. The Italian cuisine pairs especially well with drinks from the bar menu, which includes wines from Italy, California, and Chile alongside beers available in bottles, on draught.