June 2005

Pietro Polles retired after 26 years at the World Bank to pursue his passion of cooking. He moved to his vineyard in Italy, where he makes his own Merlot, and attended cooking school. He modeled his restaurant, Sorriso, near the Uptown Theater, on family-run places in the Friuli and Veneto regions. When son Stefano finished college, he went to Italy for training and took over the restaurant's pizza-making operation. The result is a friendly–the women of the family run the front of the house–first-rate pizzeria with a menu of carefully prepared antipasti, pastas, and main courses.

The pizza Margherita, topped with tomato and mozzarella, has all the elements of a well-made pizza–a flavorful, well-cooked crust, sparely applied toppings, and first-rate ingredients. It makes a good first course for two. Beyond pizza, you'll find bruschetta topped with tomato, garlic, and basil or carpaccio of tuna to start; well-cooked pastas, including rigatoni with a splendid Bolognese sauce; and meat courses, such as a tender osso buco in red-wine sauce, served with polenta. The wine list has good bottles in the $20 range, service is friendly and prompt, and the place is smoke-free.