2140 E Burnside St., 236-7195, luceevents.blogspot.com.
[MADE PAN] How could one sweet
little Italian restaurant cause so much debate? The shape and décor of
Luce’s checkerboard-floored storefront more closely resemble the kitchen
area of a well-appointed West Hills home than a commercial eatery. The
restaurant’s inexpensive Italian fare, too, is simple in a way that can
either read as charming or ditzy. So reviewers at The Oregonian and Mercury shrugged Luce off before Bon Appétit
magazine named it among the 10 best new restaurants in the country in
2012. The locals then re-reviewed the restaurant, deeming it “the
triumph of heart over head” that was “hidden in plain sight.” The lovely
Luce remains quietly self-assured and totally unchanged: They treat the
trickle of tourists just like neighborhood folk, they politely ask a
couple to swap tables to fit a large group, they host their website on
blogspot and they make comfortingly simple fare you could make at home
with a little practice. Start by asking for one of everything on the
antipasti board, $2 bites ranging from lightly pickled carrots to
crostini with chicken-liver mousse. Get a whole baked, stuffed trout
($13) or hanger steak with a slight dusting of rosemary and garlic, plus
a bowl of toothsome housemade pasta ($7-$20) to share. You’ll leave
contented, and with no idea why everyone was so fussed.
Ideal meal: Focaccia with onions ($3), every antipasti ($2 each) and corzetti ($18).
Best deal: The antipasti ($2).
Pro tip: If Luce is crowded, just come back another time; this is a place to relax.
11 am-10 pm daily.