Best Italian Food - 2009
It's not like we have some kind of Little Italy around these parts, from whose neighborhood confines an indigenous Italian restaurant might spring up. So we have to take our Italian food as we do much of our ethnic fares, one restaurant at a time. This time, we bestow the honor of Best Italian Food on Villo-O, a trendy, Travis Walk venue where everything is made from scratch and at a good price point. The "O" in Villa-O stands for three things: organic, original and oddly enough, oceanic, which comports with the yacht-like feel of the place, all dolled up nicely in rich mahoganies and the blue and white décor of an Italian seaside cafe. You'll quickly forget the seafaring scheme, recalling instead a great patio for imbibing and the great food. You'll remember the brick oven pizza—light, not overly cheesy and, well, original; the fried calamari and the mussels marinara, both cooked to near perfection and, well, organic; and the variety of sauces—among them, Wagyu beef Bolognese, puttanesca, vodka tomato—that flow through the many pasta dishes, nothing heavy, nothing overdone, just a delicate balance of flavor that is downright oceanic.