La Tagliatella

If nothing else, the first two U.S. locations- of this Spanish-owned Italian restaurant chain—in Midtown’s Shops of Metropolis and the Emory Point complex—astonish with their design. Pull open the door to find a baroque fever dream of carved woods, ornate ceiling trim, chandeliers with lights covered in tiny shades, and rows of tables with starched white tablecloths. The design is apparently meant to evoke a Northern Italian home, but it looks much more like an old Viennese coffeehouse or one of Prague’s long-gone temples of gastronomy. The cooking, however, reminds me of touristy Italian eateries along heavily trafficked thoroughfares in major European cities. Pastas with mix-and-match sauces, pizzas with pale crusts, and entrees like pork tenderloin dressed in a creamed balsamic reduction taste dull and generic. If you do go to gawk at the scenery, stick to the traditional lasagna.