This was supposed to be Fabio Trabocchi’s simplest, most accessible restaurant. Oh, some dishes are served family-style and meant to evoke the Italian countryside, and nearly every one is carried off with a minimum of fuss. But there’s a rigor and a passion that lift the place above a casual trattoria. The fish has always shone here—don’t miss one of the area’s best tuna tartares—but lately the strength of the pastas (including a beet-stuffed casonsei and a spinach pappardelle) have been making it difficult to decide what to order. The quality of the cooking alone would be enough to earn the place a spot on the list. But add in a savvy staff, a sinuous soundtrack of Sinatra and other oldies, and a crackerjack wine list, and you have what the place was never intended to be: a culinary statement.
Don’t miss: Tomato soup; flatbread with ’nduja; beef tartare; squid-ink cavatappi with shellfish; bucatini with prawns; seafood stew; lamb shoulder; cookie tin; zuppa inglese; bomboloni.