If the Rat Pack, an Italian grandmother, and a classic New York City red sauce joint magically got together and reproduced, La Scarola would be their irresistible love child. A meal at La Scarola is what you might imagine a large Italian family Christmas to be like. Lots of people, plenty of energy, and, of course, plate after plate of delicious food. This historic River West spot specializes in classic and authentic southern Italian cuisine just like nonna used to make, so make a reservation for a large table and tell your friends to get ready for an unforgettable dining experience. Within moments of sitting down, you’ll be digging in to massive portions of eggplant parmigiana and veal marsala under the watchful eyes of Nicolas Cage (born Coppola), Al Pacino, and Frank Sinatra, whose portraits proudly adorn the walls. As the red wine flows, so does the conversation, which will rise as people trade stories, then suddenly fall silent as new dishes are placed on the table, capturing everyone’s attention. If you’re seated in the back room, you can have fun pretending to be on vacation on a villa in Italy surrounded by the trompe l’oeil frescos and artificial grapevines. Time it right and you might get a chance to greet the owner, Armando, as he makes the rounds with a bottle of tequila to share with his loyal and loving patrons. If you weren’t one before, you are now.