Does Baldassarre even count as a restaurant? (If there are two dozen people queued up out front four days of the week at lunchtime, does it really matter?) Pastaiolo Leandro Baldassarre supplies some of the finest kitchens in town with fresh noodles, but you can cut out the middleman at a marble lunch counter just inside his Geary Avenue facility, where he’ll fill a takeout container with tagliatelle and housemade ragu, sunny spinach and ricotta ravioli, duck cappellacci, and any number of other daily delights for only $12. Screw candlelight and a bottle of wine – between the top-flight quality and secret-clubhouse atmosphere, this might be one of the most memorable Italian dining experiences in town. 122 Geary, at Westmoreland, 647-293-5395, famigliabaldassarre.com
Ravioli with spinach and ricotta at Famiglia Baldassarre.