Cuisine: European, Italian, Pizza
Pizza: Francesco's has a decidedly more upscale atmosphere than your average grab-a-slice pizzeria to be sure, but stuffy it isn't. Its broad menu, often accented by a wonderful appetizer and entrée special, will not disappoint, and its pizza – gooey, hot from the oven and generously topped is really, really good. Try one of the house pies – Quattro Stagioni, with ham, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and roasted red peppers, is exceptional – or create your own. And it's always fun to check out the action in the eatery's open kitchen where the staffers seem to be enjoying themselves amid the fray. Reservations are recommended for busy weekend nights.
Italian: Great Italian food is just comfortable. Perhaps it's the warm, family-oriented culture, or the memories of your Nonni yelling from the kitchen, or the carb-induced coma that often follows a satisfying meal. No matter, though, Francesco's will inspire feelings evocative of at least one of the above. It could be the cheerful bustle of its open kitchen and oft-crowded dining room but it probably has more to do with the food which, from crisp-crusted pizzas to rich ragu-laden cacciatore to salmon-and-cream-cheese-topped flatbreads (baked fresh), has been luring locals back since it opened in 2012. Its dessert menu, created by proprietor Francesco Aiello's pastry chef father, Paolo, is worth saving a little room for, as well.
400 S. Orlando Ave.
Maitland, FL 32751
Map / Directions
Pizza: "Save room for dessert in the form of the rich, warm cassata al forno, a traditional Sicilian ricotta cake studded with chocolate morsels."
Italian: "If you're watching your wheat intake and tend to avoid Italian restaurants, you can dine at Francesco's without fear and with pizza – the gluten-free variety, of course."
Best for Pizza Because: Francesco's: Excellent pizza to satisfy your craving, excellent food for those in the mood for something else.
Best for Italian Because: Great ambiance, inside and out, and bar-top, kitchen-view seating where you can take in the kitchen action help make Francesco's a fun place to dine.