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Best Neighborhood Italian restaurant: Sparks for your lust life 

Ristorante Amoroma

It must be written somewhere in the city plan: Every neighborhood needs one sushi joint, one Thai spot, and one Italian restaurant. There are a whole lot of neighborhood Italian restaurants around the East Bay, many turning out lackluster chicken Marsala and gummy linguine. But Moraga -- lucky Moraga! -- gets Ristorante Amoroma, a neighborhood destination. Owner Michele Lavecchia grew up in a restaurant family in Rome, and his cooks put out lusty Roman fare that will put the spark back in your love affair with Italian cuisine. Clichés such as the spaghetti a la carbonara come alive when you try the original version. Less familiar dishes, such as the carciofoli der ghetto (Jewish-style fried artichokes) and li suppri'ar telefono (fried rice dumplings filled with mozzarella, which stretches into "telephone lines" when you pull them apart), bear discovering. Thankfully, the service and the room, buttery-hued and intimate, preserve the neighborhood feel.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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