When you think cheap Italian, you often think soggy, bland garlic bread, watery marinara, pasta primavera made from frozen vegetables or Tony Soprano after his waste-management business has suffered an off month. And you certainly don't think authentic Irish neighborhood, though Dogtown is where this city's best cheap Italian food lives. Since owner Pepe Kehm executed a fantastic revamp earlier this year, complete with an all-new menu and chef, Spaghetteria Mama Mia has turned over a new basil leaf -- and given both its competition and its customers a run for their money. Now calamari of the highest quality can be had for far under ten clams, a spinach and arugula salad tossed with tart orange slices (yowza!) costs a mere four bucks and not even rib-eye steak or fish entrées hit the pocket harder than $12. What's more, all the fine-dining accouterments are there, from the well-chosen yet inexpensive wine list right down to the nice napkins. It's la dolce vita
for not much dough.