You’ll have a good feeling about Artusi from the second you get close enough to the entrance to smell the grilled bread and olive oil blowing from the kitchen vents. Once you’re inside, this place delivers with excellent cocktails and Italian snacks.
Artusi is the smaller sister spot to one of our all-time favorite Italian restaurants, Spinasse, next door. While Spinasse is very much a restaurant, Artusi’s space is mostly filled with a giant L-shaped bar (which is where you’ll want to sit). This bar setup makes it ideal for an early in the game date, or any scenario where you want excellent Italian food, but maybe not quite as much of it as you would on, say, a 30th date. That said, you can easily make a full meal out of the small plates here. Start with the meat and cheese board and then move onto any of the handmade pastas. Speaking of, if you come in on a Sunday or Monday, you get two pastas and an entire bottle of wine for $35.
Oh, and don’t worry about making it back to Spinasse - any first date that starts at Artusi has a pretty good shot of making it to a 30th.