Local cuisine and our knowledge of Italian desserts have grown over the past 40 years thanks in part to Avanti, which opened in 1974. The owner is likely to stop by your table to chat about what you ordered or to boast about the interior, all black-and-white offset by blood red walls and zebra-striped fabrics. Longtime Avanti staples include shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, scallops, spinach, and mozzarella, and a traditional Caesar salad with creamy anchovy-based dressing. The Pasta e fagioli is thick with vegetables, white beans and pasta. Linguine carbonara is prepared perfectly, and mushroom risotto is also a winner, cooked in a wine and chicken stock, creamy and delicious.