* Click here for rating key
Vito's by the Park Restaurant Review: You'll be hard-pressed to find a prettier vista of Bushnell Park than that afforded by the outdoor tables at Vito's by the Park, which also happens to be a fine year-round venue for classic Italian fare. While it makes a good pizza (the business was founded on pies, in fact, and we never tire of the chicken pesto), foodies know the entire menu boasts plenty of finesse. Start by mixing and matching raw bar and antipasti selections. Dishes like striped lobster ravioli in a rich, robust vodka cream sauce place Vito's a notch above Hartford's many marinara houses. But we're partial to entrées like the signature pappardelle Bolognese made with chef-owner Robert Maffucci's chocolate truffle pasta. With America's oldest public park across the street, you can indulge in a creamy cannoli before stepping out for a stroll. The best thing about Vito's is that the staff is so darn nice; Maffucci's hospitality-driven team has won him as much loyalty as his cooking. Don't see your favorite Italian dish on the menu? Ask. With dozens of wines available by the six- or nine-ounce pour and a happy hour menu of affordable yet filling nibbles like Italian mac ‘n’ cheese available weekdays from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Sundays from 3 p.m. on, the bar's an inviting option, particularly if you're in the city on business and looking for a friendly spot.