Editors' pick

Listrani's Italian Gourmet

Italian
$$$$ ($15-$24)
'

Editorial Review

It's a lesson in Italian chic: Sit in the rosy-ceilinged back room; take in the mellow green tile floor, the plant-festooned bay window and the backlit, art deco-style stained-glass windows.

A real neighborhood crowd hangs out here: You'll see couples busily catching up, girl friends in high conversational gear and a few relaxed solos. Go for Saturday lunch and immerse yourself in the conversational tide. Go in a group of five or more and it's best to make reservations.

The menu is long and will befuddle those who have difficulty making menu decisions. There are over a dozen salad options at the start of the menu. The salads are generous and creative. The chicken pesto salad comes with a creamy parmesan dressing, while the turkey and apple works perfectly with honey mustard dressing. Pizzas are also a popular choice at Listrani's with a larger number of choices. The spicy chicken arrabiata and Santa Fe chicken are two great bets for those who enjoy spice, while the pizza bianca is a respetable white pizza. Diners can get any pizza on whole wheat or jalapeno-cornmeal dough. Diners can create-your-own pasta, but the shrimp fra diavolo ($15.99) is about as good as pasta gets: lots of fresh olive-oil-sauteed shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce with just enough garlic, crowning perfectly cooked capellini.

Some parking is available in the charming, old-style neighborhood behind the restaurant, but note the abundance of no-parking signs.

--Erin Hartigan