Formal and elegant, Pazzo, tucked into downtown’s Hotel Vintage Plaza, feels like nothing so much as fine dining circa 1950. Amid dark wood and deep booths, the restaurant serves high-caliber Italian food, progressing through the piatti from starters and salads to pastas to premium meat and fish as you move down the menu. The Macedonia salad is superb: peppery greens studded with ripe Oregon berries and goat cheese lightly dressed in vinaigrette. Heavier but equally tasty is the deep-fried asparagus in tempura-light batter with lilac-colored pinot noir aioli for dipping. Despite Pazzo’s old-fashioned ambience, some new ideas have found their way onto the menu: The Rat Pack never dined on tender squid and fresh jalapeños sautéed with olives, capers and tomatoes and served over pasta. If you’re feeling old-school, put on a dark Italian two-piece and order the steak, which Pazzo executes timelessly.
IDEAL MEAL: Macedonia salad, deep-fried asparagus, tagliatelle with squid and fresh jalapeños.