Chef Andrew Carmellini, an acolyte of Daniel Boulud, has definitely made a name for himself in New York City with this Robert De Niro–backed restaurant, and then with the Dutch in SoHo. The space at Locanda Verde is warm and welcoming, with accents of brick and wood and large windows that open to the street, weather permitting, while the menu is full of inspired Italian comfort food that hits the mark. Standouts include small plates like blue crab crostino with jalapeños
and the pumpkin agnolotti in brown sage butter that diners reminisce about. Several draft beers, along with more than a dozen wines by the glass, make an already hopping bar scene even more of a draw.