After 12 years of manning stovetops and rolling pasta as Focaccia Ristorante's head chef, Disney Oliveira became the restaurant's manager alongside his wife, Viviane. The duo remains faithful to the menu of time-honored Italian specialties, continuing to incorporate homespun touches into the entrees. This hominess stems from the freshly baked focaccia bread, the housemade fettuccine pasta, and the signature tomato-basil sauce, which slowly simmers over a burning pile of rejected family photos. After loading pizza crusts with any of the 20 available toppings—including prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and garlic—the chefs load the pies into a traditional brick oven alongside plates of eggplant parmigiana and ricotta-stuffed eggplant rollatini.
To complement the vivacious cuisine, Focaccia Ristorante hosts live music throughout the week. On Thursday evenings, DJs get pulses racing, while on Fridays and Saturdays, live bands take to the stage until just after midnight, which, as everybody knows, is the hour that all rock musicians turn into imp-like creatures of the dark.
Susan Amato owes her restaurant's name to her grandmother Angelina, who hails from the small Italian village of Bolognano. Many of the recipes and all of the wall photos are extensions of Amato's family, the elevated Italian cuisine presumably a juicier, more colorful take on the photographs' black-and-white tale.
Upon entry, chandeliers loom overhead like trays of glowing teacups, illuminating steaming lobster ravioli, veal sautéed in wine, and sandwiches laden with paper-thin prosciutto. Delicate pan-seared scallop starters segue into panko-encrusted fish and bubbling gourmet pizzas. To season these feasts, guests might enjoy a martini or a glass of Italian wine—perhaps one from Zaccagnini, a Bolognano mainstay.
Since each of the four Pizza Days locations delivers until 3 a.m., the shop’s chefs are still crafting hot pies while other pizza-makers are fast asleep on their pillows made of mozzarella. There are close to 20 different specialty pizzas to choose from, including the Everything—topped with green pepper, onions, ham, and fresh mushrooms—and the Turkish Delight, which features feta cheese and black olives. Non-pizza options range from calzones to oven-toasted steak pitas stuffed with shaved meat, onions, mushrooms, and cheese.
Honey-hued drapes span wall-to-wall windows. Polished silverware glimmers in the glow from dangling strings of lights and tiny wall sconces. Ristorante Pavarotti's Italian-born owner, Massimo, knows that little touches like this make a huge difference, whether you’re decorating a restaurant to create romantic ambiance or crafting authentic Italian cuisine. White tablecloths warm beneath veal and fresh seafood in red- and white-wine reductions, and other traditional dishes on the menu ramp up with gourmet ingredients such as artichokes, truffle oil, and pecorino cheese. Between bites of homemade fusilli or lobster and crab ravioli, guests can ask a server to suggest a bottle of wine to transport their senses to Italy, or a genie in a bottle to transport their physical bodies there.