Bethany Jean Clement
Restaurant reviewer and arts editor, The Stranger
Ristorante Machiavelli (address and info)
This is always a convivial place to score sweet pasta, and while "the tables in the cozy, low-ceilinged dining room don't have red-and-white-checked tablecloths, they might as well."
Why it's underrated: "Open since 1988, Machiavelli is a reliable friend. The lasagna with spinach noodles and chicken livers is the kind of thing you think about suddenly for no apparent reason -- then you must have it that night, or the next night, or some night very soon. It is especially satisfying in the winter when passersby look cold and miserable, while inside everyone is insulated with good company, beverages, and anticipation. Machiavelli isn't fancy, it's just always good."