Best Italian



A remarkably tall, dapper, and amiable host with a smile as wide as the length of a strand of spaghetti awaits you on the sidewalk outside of this quaint modern-Italian joint in Oakland. He offers a glass of wine or a cocktail as you wait — perhaps the scrumptious $5 montepulciano or a slightly pricier soda and Cynar (who knew artichoke liquor could taste so good?) — making you feel as cozy as the divine food that awaits. The menu changes daily, but you can rest assured it will be scrumptious no matter the season. The tiny china pot of pork butter doled out with fresh bread (free upon request) makes a deliciously savory start to any meal. The crust used in both the pitch-perfect pizzas and calzones provides that perfect golden, chewy crunch. The pesco crudo of the day is always worthy and the fried soft-shell crab — when they have it — can’t be beat. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with a gelato (plain vanilla has never tasted so exotic), but you may decide to spend your calorie splurge on the warm lemon zeppole.