Owner Alessandra Siniscalco, a first generation Italian, opened Caf? Piazza Dolce as a business school graduate with a passion for food, but ended up becoming the chef of a celebrated Italian trattoria. While the restaurant originally sold only espresso, gelato, and fresh baked goods, Caf? Piazza Dolce's popularity soon transformed it into a cozy eatery serving authentic Italian pastas, pizzas, and grilled dishes. The menu, comprised of both a weekend brunch and daily dinner selections, brings together entrees from every region of Italy. Caprese salads often start dinners, followed by house-made pastas for main courses. Hand-tossed pizzas rise in wood-fired ovens, topping with ingredients such as egg, prosciutto, or bacon pesto, and the kitchen's grill chars a wide range of proteins from steak to salmon. On the weekends, the chefs have a sleepover at the restaurant so they can be up early preparing pancakes, poutine, and gourmet egg sandwiches for brunch.
Founded by longtime friends Jonathan Schwarz and Christopher Robbins, Stone Hearth Pizza builds its gourmet pies from organic, local, and sustainably produced ingredients. The casual pizzeria has expanded to six locations since opening in 2005?a pace of growth made possible by the popularity of chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt?s Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. New England craft beers complement the pizzas and pastas with a pleasantly bitter taste that reflects their conflicted attitude toward out-of-towners.
Sea Dog Steak & Ale's menu catalogs hearty pub food and a deep well of beer. Every item on the menu pairs almost perfectly with one of the pub's 10 locally crafted brews served on tap, whether it's the milky Sea Dog Stout and the marinated grilled steak tips, the malty Winter Ale to wash down the chorizo-crusted haddock, or the crisp flavor of the Raspberry Wheat Ale as a palate cleanser after dinner. Sea Dog's chefs also grill 8-ounce filets mignons, which are as heavy as Willy Wonka minus his candy weight. The patties of seven specialty burgers blend ground beef, short rib, chuck, and brisket, all piled with toppings ranging from balsamic-marinated onions to root-beer barbecue sauce.
The alehouse's nightly crowd adds to the convivial ambiance of the pub by sharing drinks on its outdoor patio or in its rustic wood-paneled, chocolate- and almond-colored dining room. Frequent visitors can join the wine or mug clubs, which toss in benefits such as personalized mugs, T-shirts, and a spiritual connection with America's most famous beer drinker: Benjamin Franlin, the inventor of both mugs and T-shirts.
Dinner at Brazilian Steakhouse is a prix-fixe feast: all-you-can-eat portions of bacon-wrapped filet mignon, leg of lamb, and parmesan pork loin reside next to broccoli rabe sautéed with shallots and white wine. More than 70 wines complement these massive meals, including champagnes that sparkle in the light from the dining room's patterned window screens. Diners can ask for wine recommendations from the restaurant's attentive waiters, whose excellent service garnered the steak house a Diners' Choice Award in 2012 and a high-five from Transylvanians who made special requests because of their garlic "allergies."
At each of Oliveira's Steakhouse four locations, the crackling sizzle of roasting meat ring’s out like a starter’s pistol, signaling the beginning of Brazilian-style churrasco feasts. Weaving between tables, servers garbed in black shirts and scarlet neckerchiefs trot out flame-kissed chicken, pork, sausage, and rodízio steak presented upon a meat-laden short sword suitable for speedy delivery or elevating a busboy to knighthood. A salad bar supplements meaty mouthfuls with plates of leafy greens, rice, beans, and sauce-laden noodles.
If laughter is the best medicine, then chuckling with a mouthful of soup is an unstoppable recipe for relief—plus it really does help treat bugs. Send a bowl to an under-the-weather son at a faraway college, a family member who needs some cheering up, or grandma that thrives off competition. The most popular Just Soup package ($29.50) includes a half-gallon (four to six servings) of the savory elixir with the option to add noodles or matzo balls and a personalized message. You can also incorporate a huggable teddy bear ($18) or edible banana-walnut cake ($15.50) among many other add-ons. The soup is MSG free and is a homemade mix of grade-A chicken, fresh carrots, celery, and onion simmered for hours until Grandma approves. Aside from the tasty soup, a lengthy list of other care-package possibilities is available.