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Best Of 2014: Italian

Franco Pisani, who's seared, sautéed and sauced Paravicini's to this top spot yearly since 2005, says his restaurant deals in "East Coast Italian with more Southern Italian influences." But he's quick to note that you can trace all dishes back to Italian tradition, broadly — even dishes like Paravicini's unique Veal Giuseppe, where veal gets paired with spicy Italian sausage, hot cherry peppers, Kalamata olives, capers and garlic. And he stresses that it's not ALL about the food, after all; he says he tells his staff, "You can get spaghetti and meatballs in this town in a dozen places and most of them are pretty good. It's just about creating an experience when guests come in, you know?" — Kirk Woundy

Bites 2013: Tiramisu

A good tiramisu is like a classic painting in that all the culinary brushstrokes are authentic, you know when you're seeing the real deal, and a lame knockoff simply will never capture the original's spirit. Paravicini's tiramisu is the equivalent of a primo museum piece, with the ideal creamy texture plus balanced coffee and chocolate notes. A masterpiece. ($6)

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