Think of every clichéd thing you love about Italian eating — the mile-high lasagne, red sauce, pillowy meatballs the size of your fist, tiramisu — and make them so delicious that they manage to transcend cliché, every one of them so luminous and carefully done, it’s like having them for the very first time. Mucci’s is the brainchild of local restaurant genius Tim Niver, who grew up on this sort of Italian eating on the East Coast. You can taste it: The red sauce sings like it was wooden-spooned by Nonni all night and then all day before it hit your plate. Inexpensive red wine flows freely, and Prosecco flows freer yet: on tap. Possibly the best part about it is the unassuming room, painted black with little more frippery than old-school red globe candle holders flickering against the wine goblet you’ve slopped marinara upon. What else is it that you want in your Italian? The restaurant sits in an old St. Paul neighborhood and shares an intersection with a liquor store and a church, completing the trifecta for everything you need to live a good and upstanding life.
Readers’ Choice: Bar La Grassa