At Luce, all is light. That starts with the small, bright room, which is artfully cluttered with imported olive oil and dry pasta in the manner of a very chic nonna's pantry. That continues with the Italian fare, which shows admirable restraint in all things.

The second restaurant from Navarre's John Taboada succeeds with simplicity—every ingredient used is obvious on the plate, and all show an eye for detail. It's a place you don't need to think too hard about—a perfect meal for two might be spongy focaccia, olives, a large salad and a generous half-order of the tagliatelle with a ragu of beef and pork, all of which will set you back less than $40. Get two glasses of the house red, and you're still out the door for $65 with tip.

A fuller exploration of the artfully terse menu, typed in Courier, is also rewarding, as the veggie sides are accented in just the right ways and proteins like a lightly salted whole trout impress with their directness. In this light there's nothing to hide, and nothing that needs to be hidden.

Luce, 2140 E Burnside St., 503-236-7195, luceportland.com. 11 am-10 pm daily. $$.

Pro tip: This tiny checkerboard-floored room fills up fast in the evenings, but you'll almost always be able to waltz right in at lunch.