Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of authentic Italian fare at Petruccelli’s Italian Eatery in Birmingham or Café Lazio, located in the Patton Creek Shopping Center in Hoover.
The dinner menus of Petruccelli’s Italian Eatery and sister-bistro Café Lazio comprise a binary star of casual Italian dining orbited by the area’s many families and canoodling noodle-lovers. At Petruccelli’s, scallops florentine cavort in a bath of spinach cream-sauce atop bobbing angel-hair noodles ($16.95), and famished families construct leaning towers of pizza to suit all tastes (12” plain pizza, $9.95; toppings, $1.50 each). Café Lazio caters to the bustling lunch crowd with dishes such as the loaded calzone—replete with sausage, pepperoni, canadian bacon, and veggies ($7)—or chicken marsala, bolstered by prosciutto ham and fortified in sweet wine ($7.95). Both locations tout creative specialty pizzas such as the philly cheesesteak, or chicken florentina (prices vary by location), and at Café Lazio, the sad soliloquies of solo bellies may be quieted by a single cheese-pizza slice ($2.75 plus $.40/additional topping).