Portofino Ristorante wins over visitors with feasts of baked clams, slow-cooked pork loins, and tender sautéed chicken atop beds of pasta. Perched upon City Island's waterfront, the restaurant cultivates an atmosphere that, like a tractor christening, is simultaneously rustic and urbane. The patio gives diners a view of New York's skyline; the interior evokes the image of a banquet hall in an Italian countryside villa—maroon leather chairs, warm light descending from chandeliers, and walls decorated in a stucco-esque scumbling and murals of Mediterranean harbor scenes. Guests sup on shrimp stuffed with crab meat or sautéed broccoli raab in cozy candlelit booths, break bread in the Piccolo Room or banquet area, or toast goblets of wine at the tucked-away wraparound bar.
The chefs at T.C. Island Restaurant & Lounge fuse big, bold Spanish and Latin American flavors into small plates. Their inventive tapas are sized for sharing, tempting sneaked seconds with vegetarian-friendly options such as the patatas bravas and canoa rellena, hot options such as coconut shrimp in a creamy coconut sauce, and cold edibles accented with creative combinations of spices and sauces. Diners may opt to order larger entrees, many of which feature seafood fresh from the piers of City Island. The festive atmosphere continues in the lounge and bar, which daily features bubbling hookahs and a cheekily named happy hour that runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday nights are scored with a soundtrack of karaoke, and Fridays and Saturdays host belly-dance performances.
Surrounded on all sides by the waters of Eastchester Bay, it's no wonder that The Black Whale's chefs add undersea favorites to their menu of homestyle comfort food. Maryland crab cakes with roasted-red-pepper sauce share table space with seared duck breasts painted with a peach salsa and port-wine reduction, and the Starving Artist platter marries orecchiette pasta with white beans and fresh mozzarella. Omelet and belgian-waffle stations serve up sustenance at the Sunday brunch buffet. Meals unfold in nautical-minded dining rooms or the back garden, which flaunts sun-drenched trees and a stone fountain instead of the more traditional sculpture of the patio’s bricklayer.
Ohana Japanese Hibachi Seafood & Steakhouse's cooks flip and fire hibachi delicacies tableside, grilling lobster tail and sirloin steak in a sizzling fire show. At the chic bar, bartenders pluck bottles from backlit shelves. Pours of cold and hot sake, plum wine, or specialty drinks such as the chocolate martini complement each succulent dish. After lunch or dinner, a lounge area seats patrons on burgundy couches amid touches of Japanese decor. As DJs spin tunes, flat-screen TVs offset the timeless elegance of shoji screens, whose panels of rice paper and lack of commercials once entertained the Japanese nobility for hours at a time.
A staple of the Bronx for more than 40 years, F&J Pine Restaurant boasts a pantheon of menu options, from seafood succulents to traditional Italian fare. Begin an edible excursion with a plate of clams Casino, where mollusks gamble away their pearly life savings while mingling with vinegar peppers and bacon ($12.50). Those looking to dive straight into an entree can anchor incisors in the farfalle rustica, a flavorsome concoction of grilled chicken, roasted peppers, and broccoli in basil-infused olive oil ($14.50 for a regular portion). Much like eating an R. L. Stine novel, omnivores can choose their own delicious adventure with the Milanese pine-style cutlet, where a pan fried slice of chicken, veal, or eggplant, gets into precarious situations with a swath of roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella in a warm balsamic vinaigrette ($11.50–$15.50).
A tasty spread of authentic Italian-style cuisine awaits within the pages of Louis Seafood Restaurant’s menus. Chew parties begin with fried zucchini ($7.95) or broccoli sauté ($6.95), and a specialty dish of gnocchi with mozzarella ($14.50) extends masticationary joys past the appetizer stage. Eggplant rollatini ($19.50) and broiled fillet of flounder ($19.75) magnet-draw mouths, with all meat, poultry, and seafood dishes accompanied by a choice of spaghetti, salad, french fries, or other tasty sides. On Tuesday nights, foodie Frankensteins can build a meal monster from the mix-and-match pasta, which pairs bowties, spaghetti, penne, and shells with a variety of sauces for an all-you-can-eat delight ($10.95). For the restaurant's namesake nourishment, sink hunger hooks into a seafood dish such as fried shrimp ($20.75), broiled fillet of flounder ($19.75), or deviled crab cakes ($22.75).