Italian cuisine was born when, after building the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus discovered Greece didn’t deliver to their new address. Taste the origins of an empire with today’s Groupon at Ristorante Italiano. Choose between the following options:
- For $10, you get $20 worth of Italian fare for brunch or lunch. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and lunch is served Tuesday–Friday from 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.
- For $20, you get $40 worth of Italian fare for dinner. Dinner is served starting at 5 p.m.
Ristorante Italianio’s authentic Italian fare, regarded the best of 2009 by Good Times, spotlights fresh, pungent ingredients. Shrimp, chicken, Italian sausage, and a meatball reminisce about summers in Milan as they lounge in Pasta Tutto Buono ($18.99), one of eight house specialties on the dinner menu. Aside from classic pastas and pizzas, patrons can enjoy steak and seafood entrees such as the 14-ounce Angus New York steak ($23.99) or garlic prawns ($19.99). On the lunch menu, personal pizzas spill over with fresh mozzarella, pesto, and Italian sausage ($9.99+). As the noon sun shines through skylights, sandwiches hug New York strip steak or blackened chicken ($8.99+).
After appraising one of four benedicts ($9.99+) from the brunch menu, a reviewer for Good Times applauded the “thin slices of salty, pink, house-cured salmon” and “perfect mounds of poached eggs.” Though praised for savory dishes, chefs spare no sugar to sate sweet teeth, griddling Italian-style breakfasts such as oven-baked pecan French toast ($6.99/two slices, $7.99/three) and crepes with mascarpone, berries, and candied Ferrari keys ($6.99).
Ristorante Italiano Santa Cruz
Past a rose-red patio and adobe-colored passageway at the old hospital at Branciforte Plaza, Ristorante Italiano Santa Cruz spreads out hearty Italian cuisine, from homemade lasagna to pork tenderloin. Various scenes—a panorama of Venice, a family dining together, the restaurant owner working in the kitchen—play out on the walls in the mural room. In the sunroom, light filters down through glass panels to illuminate tables draped in reds and whites. And out on the patio, benches and deck chairs compete for an umbrella's shade. A family endeavor since its founding in 1980, Ristorante Italiano has consistently drawn praise—Karen Petersen of Good Times, for example, said the restaurant’s “bright flavors and generous portions ensure its distinction as a local favorite.”