At lunch, Via Emilia is welcoming, though quiet, with many single diners—newspapers, books, and Blackberries in hand. I spotted salads at most tables: a shame, because as fantastic as those salads may look, the real treasure at Via Emilia is the Tortelloni di Ricotta e Spinaci, a lunchtime steal for $12. The gigantic tortelloni are made in-house, and stuffed appropriately with an even blend of spinach and fresh ricotta. Slippery, impossibly thin, and cooked just past al dente, the eight wonderful pieces are paired with a delicate tomato sauce, a supporting role that doesn't detract from the pasta itself.
Do make use of the bread basket: slices of house-baked foccacia bread, fragrant and served warm, their surface speckled with salt. It begs to soak up any tomato sauce left on the plate. And if the spinach-ricotta filling doesn't sound attractive, Via Emilia also offers their tortellioni with fillings of chicken and wild mushroom, and pumpkin in a butter-sage sauce. As for dessert? Their tiramisu is solid, but the serving is more appropriate for two, so if you don't feel like falling into a post-meal coma, head to Rhong Tiam just a few doors down and order the Thai Tea ($4) to go—it's the only place in the city I know of that will blend Thai Tea with ice, frappe-style.
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