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Angelo's Nido Italia
In a neighborhood where you can't swing a pizza box without hitting an Italian restaurant, this is one of the best, with generous servings of thoughtfully prepared foods, at reasonable prices. Specialties include angel-hair pasta loaded with plump, intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and chopped kalamata olives, tossed with garlic and olive oil.
Don’t let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonna’s kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian — pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan — with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, you’re likely to enjoy the elegant, 1950s-style decor and the big menu of well-prepared southern Italian standards served in oversized portions just right for sharing. Private parties, banquets, and corporate events are other house specialties.
Gusto! Ristorante Italiano
Romantic and very Italian, this intimate little restaurant features an enticing menu of well-prepared regional specialties, mostly from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Best of all, the hands-on owners make everyone feel like part of la famiglia.
A stone's throw from West Sixth and a few steps below the pavement, an after-dinner martini crowd gathers at this candlelit Italian restaurant's bar.
Comfortable and casual, the Trattoria dishes up big helpings of tasty Italian food at reasonable prices. Savory nine-inch specialty pizzas include one topped with sautéed spinach, prosciutto, black olives, feta cheese, and mozzarella. Dense homemade potato gnocchi are served with butter, Romano cheese, and a rich tomato-basil sauce.
Upscale, casual dining emphasizing fresh, seasonal foods in pizzas, pastas and seafood. An extensive wine and cocktail list is available for the grownups; a kids' menu features smaller portions for little stomachs.
A popular lunch stop for downtown’s white-collar crew, Porcelli’s serves a simple but sophisticated menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastas, including gnocchi with pesto cream and penne with chicken, spinach, and walnuts. Prices are reasonable, particularly by downtown standards, and speedy service will get you back to the office before Scrooge even knows you’ve ducked out.
Too often, Italian joints go heavy on the comfort and light on the quality. Not so here where owner Eddie Cerino approaches traditional Italian food less like a grandmother and more like a chef. The result is food that looks familiar but tastes modern. And thanks to half orders of salad and pasta, diners have control over portion size and price. $$$
There are pizzas. And then there are Angelo’s pizzas: plump, fragrant works of art, from the thick provolone topping all the way down to the rich, yeasty crust. The chicken club is good, the veggie is great and the creamy, cheesy seafood pizza, topped with lobster cream, shrimp, crabmeat and fresh spinach, is the stuff of which our dreams are made. Salads, sandwiches, wings, a few pasta platters and a worthwhile beer list round out the menu at this good-looking spot.
We've seen hallways bigger than this tiny Italian restaurant, but the intimate ambiance and robust food are ample compensation for the lack of elbow room. The small menu has the usual pasta, chicken, and veal dishes, all well-prepared and flavorful. And the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are notable for their crisp, almost wafer-thin crusts. Impressive all-Italian wine list.
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