photo credit: Jeff Forney

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Atwater Village

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Spina is an Italian restaurant in Atwater Village that is, in many ways, the ideal place to flirt with someone. It’s walk-in only, so chances are high you’ll have 20-ish minutes to break the ice before a seat opens up. The dining room is small but warm and chatty, like the entire neighborhood popped in for a meal and doesn’t want to leave. We also like that the pasta-focused menu is short (great for an indecisive date), but there’s a list of rotating specials to keep things interesting.

Nothing at Spina is so delicious it’ll set off a metaphorical firecracker in your brain. Instead, everything is just pretty good across the board. Ricotta-stuffed ravioli is served in a toasty, sweet brown butter sauce that’s tasty, if a tad simple. We also appreciate the pops of flavor in the spaghetti puttanesca special, courtesy of brined olives, tinned tuna, and an onslaught of garlic. But regardless of what you order, make sure you sit at the bar, where you’ll get a nice view of the kitchen tossing pasta to order while you split a bottle of nebbiolo—it might be the most romantic spot in Atwater.

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