Chef Brian Lavin's food is inspired by his travels to Spain, Italy and other countries. After stints at Salt and Fork & Wrench, Lavin launched Gnocco last year, lavishing attention on a changing menu of mostly small plates and pastas attuned to the seasons. Recently, grilled Spanish octopus and roasted bone marrow had us drooling. The pastas are equally sumptuous, like the braised wild boar tangled with tagliatelle. The romantic 22-seat dining room lends itself to a special meal.
3734 Fleet St., Brewers Hill, 443-449-6540, gnoccobaltimore.com
— Suzanne Loudermilk