The tastefully exotic decor at this national chain is almost more interesting than the food, an array of generally well-prepared Chinese cuisine with a Californian accent. Portions are large, prices are reasonable, and service is remarkably attentive. Further hooks are the sophisticated list of mostly West Coast wines (priced at a premium) and an assortment of good ol' American desserts (think cheesecake and chocolate).
Dont 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 nonnas 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.