Unfussy, big flavors set off the menu at SPQR—sister to A16—and chef Matthew Accarrino has brought his considerable talent to this postage stamp of an Italian restaurant. Starters are small and rich: a heaping plate of crispy pig’s ear gutsily paired with pickled jalapeño and a dash of tomatillo, or sweet, doughnut-like ricotta fritters served with smoked maple syrup that would be equally wonderful at breakfast. Tortellini, a large plate of them, enfold hearty doses of veal and are served with a tangle of lush mushrooms, crispy kale and whatever vegetable Accarrino finds that day in the market; perhaps broccoli rabe or fava beans will find their way to the top of several plates of pasta. Main dishes are simple—a petrale sole is served with a light verjus butter sauce, and pork belly is stuffed with baby carrots and mild-flavored agretti. The wine list reaches into every region of Italy, and friendly servers know the list as well as they do the food—so believe them when they steer you to one of the 25 wines for a taste or glass.

sweet seats

The bar seats are great for chatting with the chefs while dinner is being made.

chew on this

SPQR is the famous abbreviation for senatus populusque romanus (the Senate and the People of Rome), which has been used in the Eternal City for two millennia—yes, you still see the letters today in the Roman Forum and also stamped on drinking fountains and manhole covers of a much more recent vintage.


dinner: Mon.–Sat. 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Sun. 5:30 PM–10 PM
brunch: Sat.–Sun. 11 AM–2:30 PM

price range

$17 (Berkshire pork sausage) to $19 (Columbia River salmon)