There's no way not to love this familial Italian place, a snug 1938 cottage on an Old West End back street. The Sardinian chef turns out punchy, aromatic tomato sauces that do honor to penne bosciaola and spaghetti with fennel sausage. Shrimp and pasta alla Sorrentina bear a garlicky white-wine sauce that jumps with lemon. The service is homey, and the vine-covered dining porch is charming.
The house was built by L.L. Patrenella in 1938. After immigrating to Houston from his native Sicily, he started a grocery store in this neighborhood, a mere block away from the current site of the restaurant.