You know that I love featuring local restaurants, especially in the Old Port where there’s an incredible feeling of old-world Maine culture. Via Vecchia brings that vibe to life. From the gorgeous ivy-covered brick building to the cobblestone streets and traditional Italian fare, you’re transported to an indulgent and energetic atmosphere. When my husband, Lee, and I were here recently, we felt like we were in a chic New York City spot, but with the fresh fare and local charm we love about home. The small plates menu at Via Vecchia is a perfect complement to the enormous wrap-around bar. This spot lures you to linger with delicious Italian treats like fried artichokes, insalata, and pizzettes topped with the likes of black garlic and san marzanos and roasted to perfection. Plus, there’s a sophisticated cocktail menu that blends the classics with contemporary flair. To enjoy the bartender’s current creativity, look for the daily Negroni on the ‘Spritz and Giggles’ menu.