La Tavola

Virginia-Highland’s La Tavola is a multi-purpose restaurant in the best possible sense. Neighborhood hangout. Date night staple. Solo dining haven. Credit Craig Richards, who has been executive chef for six of the restaurant’s twelve years. In its earlier days, it was a bouncy spot to shovel down a competent plate of pasta. But under Richards’s direction, the tenor of the menu has grown more aspirational. Besides easy-to-love manicotti filled with beef, pork, veal, and spinach, you’ll be tempted by regional Italian efforts like strozzapreti (a ropy pasta popular in Emilia-Romagna) tossed in rabbit ragù, olive puree, and pecorino.