Imagine an Italian grandmother lovingly plumping meatballs, humming a tune from the old country. Now plant her in a dark cocktail bar. That’s Nonna, a new tavern from the crew at intimate kitchen DOC that mashes up New York–style Italian food (gravy, not tomato sauce) with Portland’s mixology scene. As with many local bars, the real focus at Nonna is the food: hand-cut pasta, deep-fried arancini, and deliciously unfussy vegetables. Crispy brussels sprouts in a tangy, lemon citrus–steeped cream, are a steal at $6. The linguini list, rolled fresh and sauced four ways, is worth exploration, especially the squid and olive variety, with its intensely garlicky, spice-flecked sauce and tender rings of calamari. Top marks go to the manicotti: three pasta scrolls stuffed with ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes, browned until bubbly on the outside, and topped with deeply flavored tomato sauce. If only your nonna made it this good.