Restaurateur Charles Dale's New Mexico Fine Dining has made a string of smart choices lately with Bouche, Maize and now this Italian offering tucked away downtown on Galisteo Street. The dinner-only spot is often crowded with locals and tourists, as staff flit back and forth to the open kitchen or the wine rack. It's the sort of place where everyone is waiting on you, and it most often works seamlessly. Chef Michael Leonard and Andrew MacLauchlan, Dale's culinary director, have crafted a menu meant to evoke a village restaurant in Italy. Appetizers showcase creative takes on classics, such as an heirloom tomato caprese ($16) with smoked mozzarella, asparagus, sublime pesto and toasted pine nuts. Or catch the burrata and local peaches ($14) dressed with smoked sea salt, balsamic vinegar and micro basil. The house-made pasta offerings provide simple fare that depends on meticulous preparation, like linguine with littleneck clams, white wine, oregano and garlic ($23). Steak, chicken and fish mark the main dish menu, with a generously portioned grilled branzino ($30) served atop Sicilian-style cauliflower and accompanied by a surprising salsa verde.

Dinner
Monday-Saturday

.$$$.

Trattoria a Mano
227 Galisteo St.,

505-982-3700