This time of year, Santa isn’t the only guy who’s busy. Local restaurateurs are stepping it up, trying to get open before the holiday—and more important, tourist—seasons begin.

Here’s a couple recent additions to the Boca dining scene. . .

In the old Andrew’s Restaurant space is Russia House (99 SE Mizner Blvd., 561/361-8170), a classy venue for authentic Russian cuisine from the owners of Lula Kebab House in Sunny Isles Beach. The bar offers more than 70 different vodkas, plus an array of specialty martinis and other cocktails and a handful of Russian beers.

The menu hits all the familiar Russian notes, from borscht, house-made pickled veggies, and caviar ‘n’ blini to assorted kebabs, beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev. Several different blini for dessert too. Prices are quite reasonable, with almost all entrees under $25.

“Value” is indeed the watchword at Italio Modern Italian Kitchen (1658 N. Federal Hwy., 561/392-7778), a “fast casual” eatery that borrows the assemble-to-order counter service of Chipotle and others. The look of the place is clean and modern, a long way from the red-and-white-checked tablecloth look of local Mom ‘n’ Pop Italians.

The deal at Italio is bowls (pasta and salad) and wraps (aka, piadini). You order your protein, from grilled sirloin to sautéed veggies, then a sauce, pesto or dressing (from alfredo to sun-dried tomato pesto to Caesar), and finally your desired toppings, which include arugula, sautéed peppers and onions, pancetta and Parmesan. Prices range from $6.95 to $8.95, and there’s also a handful of side and kiddie dishes and desserts, plus beer and wine.