The menu at Duane Sorensen's Division Street Italian joint is overwhelming. It's mostly in Italian and features uncommon abbreviations and lots of ingredients not known stateside. Oh, and it changes almost daily. All the better reason to just ask your server for suggestions—the staff is well-versed and eager.

Photo: Emily Joan Greene
Photo: Emily Joan Greene

Here's what they told me: Start your meal with salumi, cheese and olives, then order a few pane, the catchall for various bread-based appetizers that run the gamut from simple garlic bread ($6) to squash blossoms and the spreadable Calabrian pork sausage known as 'nduja ($10). The salads—giardini in Ava-ese—include creative combos such as peaches, corn, sprouted barley and pistachios ($12). And then, pasta—I loved the linguine with saffron, albacore, hot peppers and basil ($21), which had a tiny kick and left me totally sated. The secondi are princely cuts of well-prepared meats, including rib-eye ($38), albacore ($32) and lamb ($34). Save room for the dark chocolate sorbetto ($5) complemented with an espresso martini ($10).

Photo: Emily Joan Greene
Photo: Emily Joan Greene

Pro tip: If you want to save a little money, or kill some time while you wait for a table, you can grab a slice of pizza or a salad at the fast-casual Roman Candle bakery next door. They also have the Tuscan cavalry salad, and for $2 cheaper.

3377 SE Division St., 971-229-0571, avagenes.com. 5-11 pm nightly. $$$-$$$$.