It’s everyone’s favorite week (or 10 days, rather) here in good old Binghamton … Restaurant Week! That’s right, it’s time to ditch the ramen noodles, the Night Owl burgers and the failed homemade concoctions for a great-value lunch or dinner at one of the local restaurants. Personally, this is one of my favorite things about living in Binghamton, and I think every student should head out and explore the local cuisine.

Don’t know where to start? Everyone loves Italian, so head over to Little Venice Restaurant. Little Venice is one of the best restaurants Binghamton has to offer, and it all comes down to one thing: home cooking. The pasta is juicy and made on-site. The tomato sauce is hearty, and you’ll find yourself licking the plate just to savor every morsel of it. The gelato is creamy and comes in so many varieties, you won’t know what to do.

Opening the door to Little Venice, you’ll nearly fall over from the smell of the food being cooked in the kitchen. The welcoming atmosphere and the friendly staff will usher you to a table as you admire the paintings on the wall. If you weren’t starving already, you’ll feel your stomach start to growl as you glance at the plate of everyone you pass, trying to scope out what dish looks the best.

From my experience, you can’t go wrong.

Zachery Szkolnik, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, is also a big fan of Little Venice.

“I really liked both my meal and the atmosphere of Little Venice because it really seemed to be truly authentic … Everything was clearly handmade and had taken time to prepare, and I really enjoyed it because of that,” Szkolnik said.

For my appetizer, I got the bruschetta, which was prepared traditionally with olive oil, garlic and tomato. The portion was very generous, and I had to make sure to save room for the main course. For my entree, I chose eggplant parmigiana. I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but I wanted to try it because it was a dish I don’t usually have. And from all the reviews I had heard by word-of-mouth, if I was ever going to enjoy eggplant, it would be here.

Let’s just say I’m very glad I took the risk. The ratio of sauce-to-cheese-to-eggplant was well-balanced, and I loved that it came with a side of pasta because I really wanted to try the famous homemade pasta I had heard so much about. I really got the best of both worlds.

Elizabeth Eng, a senior majoring in psychology, loved the food as well.

“My favorite part was definitely the homemade pasta. It was so fresh and delicious!” Eng said.

For dessert (not that I had room for much of it), I chose the gelato, which was rich, creamy and fresh. With nearly 10 flavors — including vanilla caramel brownie fudge, cappuccino and mint chip — you have choices.

Freshmen, head down to Chenango Street and bring your friends for great, first-semester memories. Seniors, if you haven’t been, put this one on your bucket list! When you get tired of your own food and miss a quality meal, this is the place to be.