Italian Food At Missy Robbins's Lilia In Brooklyn

The first thing you notice about beloved Williamsburg restaurant Lilia is its unassuming exterior. Once an auto body shop, the shape of the one-story white brick building hints at its previous life—but the similarities end there. Large windows break up the utilitarian walls, flooding the roomy space with natural light during the day and beckoning passersby with glimpses of the wood-fired hearth at night.

Inside, the streamlined decor fits the less-is-more spirit of the restaurant, which focuses on simple Italian food and cocktails. Head chef and owner Missy Robbins's developed a menu that pays homage to classics with dishes like ricotta gnocchi, grilled veal flank steak and grilled clams. Missy's passion for regional Italian cuisine has been refined through her career, from her time as the executive chef at Chicago's Spiaggia and then at New York City's Michelin-starred A Voce Madison and A Voce Columbus. Over the years, she developed a following for her signature roast vegetables, which are prepared over the open fire of the hearth at Lilia.

The other thing that sets Lilia apart from the bounty of Italian restaurants is an almost-obsessive attention to freshness. Pasta is handcrafted on-site, as is the must-have mozzarella. The seafood, meat and local vegetables are sourced from top purveyors. Combined with Missy's masterful techniques, these high-quality ingredients elevate even the most familiar dishes—like spaghetti with lemon, pine nuts and Parmigiano—into an unforgettable experience.

An emphasis on quality is also key to the experience of driving the new 2017 BMW i3. Designed with sustainability in mind, the i3 runs using electricity, and attention should be paid to the interior, which uses renewable and recycled materials. The car's stylishly sleek profile also makes it easy to park in Williamsburg's tight spaces, so you can make your Lilia reservation with time to spare.