Where to Eat Now 2010

Great for: A hush-hush birthday.
Celebrating with only the select few who know how old you really are (and can keep it to themselves)? While this Bay Village restaurant is hardly glamorous—bare-bones décor, furniture and flatware we think we recognize from Ikea—its understated charm and underrated cuisine make it the ideal place to quietly commemorate a big day. Chef Charles Draghi's deceptively simple menu changes daily, but always features refined, Italian-accented dishes like feather-light ricotta-filled pansotti and sautéed bitter greens with lemon, walnut, and thyme pesto. What's more, Draghi's habit of delivering extras to the table and chatting up patrons reinforces the sense of a special occasion.

69 Church St., Boston, 617-426-6969, erbaluce-boston.com.



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