Ignore the off-putting exterior of this pleasant Italian eatery on busy Northwest 21st Avenue (in a previous life it was a Tastee-Freez) and step inside for its offerings of staple Italian dishes and a fine mix of wines to complement the meal. Attentive service and intimate tables are perfect for couples needing a candlelit evening away from the kids. For starters, the antipasto plate of meats and cheeses is more generous than usual appetizer fare, and tasty to boot. Calamari fritti with salsa verde are fried just so. Save the ciuppin—a $19 fish stew of clams, mussels, calamari and seasonal fish over crostini—for when you need warming up on a cool night. The chicken scaloppini sautéed in white wine is good for any season. If you're not ready to say basta ("enough") after appetizers and dinner, don't pass on either the moist chocolate torte or ginger molasses cake.

IDEAL MEAL: Antipasto misto, ciuppin, ginger molasses cake.