Brooklyn Pizza Works is a two-time recipient of Orange County Register's Best Pizza award, and its staff has adorned hand-shaped dough with fresh toppings since 1979. More than a dozen specialty pizzas sprawl across texture-imparting stainless-steel screens within a convection oven, which can cook up to 25 pizzas in six minutes, the same number of pies a hot laptop can cook in six years. Signature circles arrive loaded with toppings such as crushed garlic, canadian bacon, and marcella wine. The kitchen team concocts each slice with whole-milk mozzarella sprinkled atop house-made crust and sauce. In addition to pizza, 12 varieties of stuffed calzones and classic Italian entrees such as eggplant parm, lasagna, ravioli, and a plentitude of pastas satiate palates. Brooklyn Pizza Works can also supply picnics, graduation parties, and going-back-to-law-school celebrations with eats from the catering menu.
Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
From founder Bill Larson?s first quaint pizza parlor, which he opened in 1959, Round Table has grown to more than 500 stores, which sprinkle across seven states like pepperonis across a sizzling pie. Self-proclaimed purveyors of ?the last honest pizza,? Round Table cooks make dough from wheat grown on family farms in Idaho. That dough is rolled from scratch every day, in every restaurant, to pair with premium meats and fresh-cut veggie toppings.
Wood-paneled walls give the Fullerton location an old-school feel, which contrasts with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and robot chefs to replace the outdated steam-powered ones. The dining room?s ceiling fans whirl the steam from oven-baked pizzas in sizes from single-person smalls to 16-slice extra-larges that feed up to five. Besides create-your-own options, Round Table dishes up specialty pies named for medieval court characters such as King Arthur, Guinevere, and Frank, the little-known castle custodian.
The lively culinary team at Florentine’s Grill cossets palates with its robust menu of flavorful Italian American favorites in a gorgeous dining room swathed in European décor. Delve into Florentine's selection of lunchtime specials for the crisp cobb salad with diced white turkey, bacon, egg, and more greens than Richie Rich's bank account ($9.99). Diners can anchor their incisors in an array of sandwiches, wraps, and half-pound burgers that include the bounteous bruschetta burger, hoisting mozzarella cheese and spicy mayo on focaccia bread ($10.99). For a sea of savory flavors, dive into the tilapia picatta drizzled with a lemon-butter caper sauce ($17.99), or quell a tumultuous tummy before it bellows like a wounded tuba by ordering the thick-cut prime rib, which is slathered in a creamy horseradish sauce and served only on Friday and Saturday nights, with hearty sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach ($22.99).
Head Chef Ray brings more than 20 years of culinary expertise to the kitchen of Papa Pilo?s, where he champions a menu of Italian recipes that won CityVoter's Best Italian prize in 2011 and 2012. Thin-crust, New York?style pizzas don toppings such as fresh tomatoes and meatballs, and specialty pies include the breakfast pizza with eggs, bacon bits, onions, canadian bacon, and a snooze button. Papa Pilo?s also whips up dishes such as chicken parmesan, fettuccine in spicy fra diavolo sauce, and meat lasagna with ricotta, romano, and mozzarella.