Ottava Via fulfilled Corktown's need for a contemporary Italian pizzeria and restaurant that serves formaggi and salumeria -- aka cheese and charcuterie -- along with Neapolitan pizzas topped with items like prosciutto and pancetta, flavorful pastas like truffle butter linguine (which is still delicious despite "truffle butter" taking on a whole new meaning in the parlance of our times), large entrees like a whole branzino and half a chicken, and Berkshire pork belly porchetta. It's meat-centric to be sure, and also quite stylish; the patio with the bocce ball court is just a great place to be in the summer. Corktown needed an Italian place, and Ottava Via handsomely delivers.
And this is the other red sauce joint on this list. Giovanni Cannarsa is the child of Italian immigrants who had a vision to turn her family's pizza parlor into a full-scale five-star restaurant, and while "stars" may be relative (still, 4.5 on Yelp is pretty damn good considering the community can be merciless), there is no denying that Giovanni's has earned its place as a local favorite. Emphasizing ingredients that are fresh and locally grown, Giovanni's also makes an effort at being as close to a "farm to table" red sauce joint as possible, which is kind of a rare thing for this old school style of restaurant.