EnlargeCredit: Todd Coleman
We didn't expect to find honest-to-god Italian food in Richmond, Virginia. But among the low-slung buildings in the Oregon Hill neighborhood, we discovered Mamma 'Zu. Ed Vasaio's candlelit restaurant is part trattoria, part neighborhood clubhouse. And the food! Penne all'amatriciana. Garlicky dandelion greens. Bold, bright antipasti like roasted red peppers with anchovies served in huge family-style portions. A hit when it opened in 1993, it's now a legend.