Vele draws its name from the Italian word for “blank canvas,” yet the experience it offers is anything but nondescript. In the heart of downtown Springfield, Illinois, Vele serves an elevated coastal Italian menu highlighting seafood and fresh produce. The interior, outfitted with mid-century modern furniture, owes its inspiration to co-owner Nichole Sperry, a creative manager and graphic designer.

Executive chef and co-owner Justin Richardson’s menu begins with a raw bar; shareable small plates follow, including New Zealand lamb herbed frites with truffle aïoli, a lamb demi-glace and cherry wine reduction. For the main event, try the seafood spaghetti with P.E.I. scallops, king crab, squid-ink pasta, crab velouté and Fresno chiles, or the crab-crusted Alaskan halibut with tarragon-garlic cream sugo, lump crab and asparagus.

Vele, 534 E. Monroe St., Springfield, Illinois, 217.210.2177,