Best Italian 


The joys of Oliveto are subtle but memorable. You'll find no tower food here, no improbable juxtapositions of flavors, no sharp sweets or sours or burns. Taste once, and you may ask yourself why you're at a swank restaurant eating earthy peasant food. Taste twice, and the elegance imbued in each bite comes through. Chef Paul Bertolli has garnered a national reputation -- first at Chez Panisse and later here -- for his exploration of Italian culinary technique. Combining his love of process with his passion for fresh, high-quality ingredients, Bertolli demonstrates how hard it is to do simplicity so well. The room, an earth-toned study in quiet repose, is one of the most romantic in the city. Romantics on a budget can drop in downstairs for more informal, rustic small plates.

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