When Pangaea—the earth's greatest rock supergroup—broke up, many fans blamed it on the high-heeled wiles of Europe's inseparable girlfriend, Italia. Discover a sweeter side to the globe's Yoko with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of elegant Italian fare at La Cipollina in Freehold.
Executive Chef Matt Higgins concocts elegant interpretations of rustic Italian dishes to fill a menu that has earned praise from the New York Times for its fresh ingredients and playful flavor combinations. Toast an anniversary, birthday, or a Little League World Series title with a decadent dinner, starting with a savory saffron risotto infused with sage, pancetta, and a sprinkling of parmigiano reggianno ($12). Filet mignon dons a dapper suit of peppercorns as it lounges in a shallow brandy-cream river alongside fingerling-potato gondolas and bobbing roasted figs ($34). Plunge tines into a shrimp-and-scallop feast, laden with olives and grape tomatoes atop a creamy risotto ($28), or catapult tongues through clouds of gnocchi suspended in an eggplant-and-mozzarella-strewn sunset ($22).
La Cipollina's tuxedo-clad wait staff performs feats of tableside service such as guiding a cart of desserts and coffee or whittling a new table out of asiago cheese to replace wobbly settings. Diners can bring their own libations to pair with a romantic table on the outdoor patio, shaded by white trellises and a vaulted canopy, or a seat in the cozy dining room accented by brick walls and soft lighting.