With its warmly-lit ambiance, intimate seating, and extensive list of regional Italian wine, amari, and grappa, Ava Gene’s makes an ideal date spot. The Roman trattoria-inspired menu offers plenty of options: gardini for starters and salads, primi for pastas, and sharing-sized secondi of steaks and old-school Italian dishes like braciole. Chef Joshua McFadden (formerly of Maine’s Four Season Farm and Franny’s in Brooklyn, where he’s said to have made the famous raw kale salad happen) is known to source his ingredients from a hand-picked selection of the Pacific Northwest’s best farm-to-table produce and meats, so expect some pleasant surprises depending on the season.

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