Girls' night out, Italian-style

Sure, the menu at Nonna Tata (1400 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-332-0250) changes so regularly that you might not be able to go there this week and have the dishes I saw on the menu last week. But there’s no doubt something like it up proprietor Donatella Trotti’s sleeve. Or maybe something even better? You’ll have to let me know. To feel like a dinner party guest in this chic Italian chef’s tiny dining room is worth the trip—and the inevitable wait—especially considering the many meatless pasta options, like a house-made gnocchi.I went last week with two other driven-to-the-brink mommy friends who had also talked their husbands into taking over the bath-and-bed routine for a night. Even though I had promised myself that I wouldn’t order anything with cream, I of course wound up ordering something with cream: a linguine with a lemony cream sauce and fresh spinach. The lemon gave it a sprightly character, and the little clumps of freshly cooked spinach tossed in were just what it needed to dial down what might have otherwise seemed like over-the-top richness. A salad with raspberry-chipotle dressing was a great fresh start, and we brought our own bottle of Prosecco to sip with dinner. Actually, the Prosecco came in very handy for the 30-minute wait in the car (this was a weeknight—and cold). We felt like naughty highschoolers, which was a strange and wonderful feeling for people who had spent the day supervising naughty toddlers. Unlike a lot of hip new restaurants, this one has no pretensions—just friendly service and a familial atmosphere—and takes no reservations.