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    Pasta trumps popcorn at Davio’s Cucina

    A sfizi brussels sprouts served at Davio’s Cucina.
    photos by Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
    A sfizi brussels sprouts served at Davio’s Cucina.

    Where to Davio’s Cucina, a more-relaxed spinoff of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse. It opened in June, in the Showcase SuperLux in Chestnut Hill.

    What for Antipasti, pizza, pasta, and Philly cheesesteak spring rolls before the movies. Milk Duds won’t do once you’ve upgraded to the SuperLux.

    Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
    Waiter Miguel Mendez checked in on (from left to right) Gerry Goldman, Liz Goldman, and Meredith Pilla at Davio's Cucina.

    The scene On a Friday at 7 p.m. there isn’t a single seat free at the oval bar, and there’s a major logjam at the entrance. The mature, moneyed crowd is getting its drink on. Cocktails outnumber glasses of wine. Songbook standards play as women in white outfits with insane arm muscles and impeccable hairdos gossip together. Chefs make pizza in the open kitchen. The light-filled, spacious room has vast windows and the world’s largest ceiling fixtures. There are flower arrangements, abstract paintings, and booths upholstered in striped brown fabric. The decor is mature, too.

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    What you’re eating Sfizi, or little snacks, such as Brussels sprouts with pancetta, followed by tagliatelle Bolognese, more of a meat-and-
    tomatoes version than the textbook classic.

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    Care for a drink? The Forbidden Florence also contains vermouth, Campari, and grapefruit, but mostly what it tastes like is gin. Cocktails here aren’t weak. Maybe that’s why everyone seems to be having such a good time.

    Overheard Conversations about the witness protection program, African politics, one bartender’s previous career as a social worker, and Aaron Hernandez. Movie talk, of course — appreciation for Woody Harrelson and a debate over the difference between “the hole” in real life and in “The Shawshank Redemption,” for instance. SuperLux ordering: “Give me the lobster, what the hell.” Natural comediennes: “He said, ‘I could use a wife for a month,’” one woman tells her friends. “I said, ‘I could use a wife, period!’”

    55 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill. 617-738-4810. www.davios.com/cucina.

    Devra First can be reached at dfirst@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter@devrafirst.