Traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine is enjoyed by young professionals and the young-at-heart of any age at this lively restaurant. Appetizers include lamb chops, poached salmon ravioli and beef carpaccio. The entrée menu features chicken marsala, sea scallops, and Arctic Char. D'Amato's also serves excellent pasta, pizza, soups, and salads. Every Monday through Saturday groups play jazz, blues and spin music at Goodnite Gracie, D'Amato's adjoining jazz and martini bar.
A local favorite, this long-standing Italian restaurant was rebuilt after a disastrous fire destroyed the original building. Amazingly, each detail has been recreated, including the dining room's carved woodwork and the stainless steel kitchen. Homemade pastas are still among the best in town, and veal marsala, chicken, and seafood dishes remain superb – it's easy to see why Giovanni's has captured awards from DiRôNA and Wine Spectator. Choose from a mostly Italian wine list.
A charming restaurant and lounge that features live music seven nights a week, Picano's offers diners the chance to enjoy a fine, homemade meal in an elegant yet relaxed setting. The chef, whose pasta dishes are immensely popular with regulars, serves up delicious Italian fare that ranges from homemade ravioli and lasagna to hearty veal and Tuscany-style grills. The atmosphere is warm and intimate, and it's not uncommon to see several tables occupied by couples enjoying a romantic dinner for two.
Renowned for its gracious welcome, fine food, and excellent press, Bacco is proudly named after the Roman god of wine. Murals dedicated to the profligate deity distinguish the dining room, promising certain pleasure in food and drink. The menu boasts imported ingredients and premium goods, all incorporated into dishes like veal tenderloin with black truffles, a lush osso buco, pan-roasted branzino, and a Certified Piemontese filet with gorgonzola and Amarone wine sauce. A fantastic Italian wine list hews to the theme.
Subdued and enveloping, with curved brick walls and wood paneling, this esteemed restaurant gains added warmth from carefully placed ambient lighting. It's a soothing place for a meal of delicious northern Italian fare, ably prepared and abounding in good ingredients. An onsite garden provides herbs and produce, which add great flavor to pastas and veal dishes, in particular. Fireside tables and an outdoor courtyard also add to the restaurant's romantic allure.
La Dolce Vita revels in anonymity. A blank green wall fronts Woodward Avenue, and it's only the bevy of luxury vehicles parked around back that give any indication of the culinary delights inside. Expect the calamari to be delicately fried to a golden yellow – still taut with flavor – and the veal scaloppini is sautéed to a crisp perfection. For warmer evenings, courtyard dining is also an option.
Open since 1948, Mario's is full of the character expected from an old-school Italian restaurant. Elegant white table cloths and tuxedoed wait staff greet diners upon entrance. Mario's time-tested entrées are unpretentious and full of flavor – the Veal Olympic features thin-sliced veal sautéed in butter with sherry, cognac, green onions, mushrooms and cream. Mario's also offers complimentary shuttle rides to various downtown venues for after-meal festivities.
Chef Bujar Mamuslari (aka "Bucci") has been a friendly face in his restaurant's kitchen for years. Diners can watch the chef at work from the granite-topped bar overlooking the kitchen as they sip on martinis. The white linen tablecloths offset the beautifully prepared meals. Pan-seared salmon is flanked by seasonal vegetables and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar and grilled lamb chops are arranged atop seasonal vegetables, moist with natural juices.