My wife and I have been dieting for the past month and simultaneously re-watching "The Sopranos" on HBO. As a result we want to break our diet with a good old-fashioned Italian meal, just like the ones Anthony Soprano indulges in on a near everyday basis. Coming originally from Jersey myself, I'm not stranger to classic, traditional Italian cuisine, and I'm wondering what the general consensus is regarding the Italian food scene here in Portland. I've read through a few threads on the subject and so far Mucca Osteria is at the top of my list, but then again the most recent thread I could find was dated a year ago.
What I'm looking for: simple, delicious Italian fare with enough heart and soul to indicate that the chef isn't trying to cash in on the latest brick-over pizza craze or fuse a variety of influences. In other words, the kind of straightforward, delicious, old-school Italian food that you would expect to find in one of those New Jersey or Brooklyn establishments that have been around for decades.