I recently visited Biba Restaurant on a chilly, drizzly evening and was rewarded with a meal so comforting and nourishing that it warmed me from the toes up. Despite its swanky ambiance, the restaurant serves up lusty, unpretentious fare that stays true to its Italian regional roots. I savored the kitchen’s scrumptious, fork-tender beef short ribs, oven-braised with Chianti wine and soft tomato and served atop a mound of creamy soft polenta; and the Bucatini all’ Amatriciana pasta, enlivened with pancetta and hot pepper flakes, was an inspired, hearty choice on a cold winter night. But the real dazzler of the evening was Biba’s terrific (and indulgently rich) Pizzoccheri con la Zucca, silky housemade buckwheat noodles tossed with sweet chunks of roasted butternut squash and tiny bits of smoked ham. Service was impeccable, as it always is at this iconic Sacramento restaurant; and I left with the feeling of having been restored both inside and out.