Ask for Luigi

Top choice italian in Gastown & Chinatown

Consider an off-peak lunch if you don't want to wait too long for a table at this white-clapboard, shack-look little charmer (reservations are not accepted). Inside, you'll find a checkerboard floor and teak-lined interior crammed with tables and delighted diners tucking into (and sharing) plates of scratch-made pasta that mama never used to make; think bison tagliatelle and borage-and-ricotta ravioli.

Despite the top-notch dishes, this Railtown hot spot never feels snobbish, especially during the weekend brunch service when the room is animated with lively local chatter.