Photograph courtesy of Trattoria Neapolis
We’re surprised it took this long for Bottega Louie, downtown’s Italian behemoth, to motivate others to attempt something similar. While its feel is more corporate, Pasadena’s two-story endeavor is in many ways better than its model—reservations are accepted, for one thing, and the attitude is more welcoming. Then there’s that wood oven, which puts out Neapolitan pizzas that are authentically soft and chewy. The menu—as huge as the space—ranges all over Italy: bagna cauda salad from the north, grilled octopus from the south, and a seasonal fruit tiramisu from the country’s heart. » 336 S. Lake Ave., 626-792-3000 or trattorianeapolis.com.