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Nicola's Ristorante Restaurant Review: From its honey-colored and exposed brick interior to the candles on its linen-covered tables, Nicola's exudes a warmth that's about more than its contemporary Italian food. Once a barn for the city's 19th-century incline trolleys, the restaurant's food has its own historic beginnings, too, rooted in chef-owner Nicola Pietoso's native Tuscany. It's a romantic, special occasion spot, where even the bread basket has high visual appeal and the wine list is respectable. The kitchen concentrates on the basics, turning out dishes from gnocchi to risotto. The weeknight menu includes a moderate five-course tasting for $60. Weekends are more extravagant, with a range of handmade pastas, such as crispy potato gnocchi with four-cheese fondue and truffle shavings; tagliolini with blue crab, tomatoes and navy beans; or macaroni with duck ragoût. Entrées include Maine lobster as well as seared cod with Mediterranean couscous and Sicilian sea salt capers. Save room for dessert, perhaps the seasonal passion fruit strudel, adorned with pineapple, banana and coconut.