Ecco, with its congenial spirit and multifaceted Italian menu, consistently earns its place as the brightest star in the Fifth Group Restaurants constellation. The black box of a building is imposing, but the amber lighting that glows from the corner door beckons so enticingly that, if you were walking by, you might be tempted to abandon other dinner plans.

Ecco has a versatility tailored to its Midtown neighbors. Locals can wander in, settle at the bar, order a plate of homemade pappardelle with chile-braised pork, select a glass of wine from the broad list, and chat with some of the most personable bartenders in town.

The dining room and menu also have enough finesse to carry an evening with a sense of occasion. Start with locally produced cured meats, share the fried goat cheese glazed with honey and black pepper, then split a pizza (braised greens with house-made mozzarella and prosciutto was a recent memorable option). Choose entrees that teeter between homey and refined. There always seems to be the question of where to dine well on Sunday evenings in Atlanta; Ecco is one standout answer.