Paprika [110 St. Mark's Pl. (bet. 1st Ave. and Ave. A) 212-677-6563]
In case you couldn't tell, I like to eat in the East Village. And I also like Italian food, so Paprika is right up my alley. Set in a cute and cozy Saint Mark's space, Paprika serves up good food at good prices. Start with the excellent Beef Carpaccio, and if you want to split it, they might even do it for you. Then, try one of the pasta dishes, either one of the multiple daily specials or one of the regular menu standards. The Pappardelle with Oxtail Ragu is rich, filling, and tasty, while the Gnocchi is top-notch. If you can still find room, finish off your meal with the delicious Chocolate Souffle cake. Drink-wise, I recommend a bottle of Menabrea beer from Italy as something different, or an affordable bottle of wine as something more standard. Overall Paprika provides a classy Italian dining experience and would make a good date spot (but is also nice as a restaurant for dinner with friends).