Rancilio Silvia, sure. I have one. Very finicky machine but makes great coffee after a bit of practice. Not much use though if you're thinking of churning out a few lattés after your dinner party.
Until recently, if you wanted something better than Miss Silvia, you had to make the big jump to an Italian HX (heat exchanger) unit with an E61 group head. You're looking at $2000 minimum for one of these, but they generally make great coffee and can steam milk until the cows come home. (What an appropriate figure of speech that was!)
BUT...there's a new playa in town. I refer to the Breville Dual Boiler, model BES900. I bought one a few months ago and it is truly exceptional at the price. 58mm commercial-grade portafilter, genuine dual boilers (not brass though), and an incredibly well-thought-out design with lots of delightful little flourishes, like an inbuilt tamper which is held in place magnetically and detaches easily if you want to apply some body weight to your tamp. Many, many other features too, literally dozens of innovative little tweaks which will put a smile on the home barista's face.
And of course, the bottom line: it makes superb coffee.
Now here's the thing: I happened to get the deal of the century on my Breville, from a place in Foot-ess-Cray which used to be Retravision but has changed its name. Retail price of $1500 was discounted to $1149, but most amazingly of all, they also threw in a Breville Smart Grinder (model BCG800) for free! I thus scored around $1800 worth of coffee equipment for $1149. Most likely that deal is long over, and for all I know you may already have a great grinder. If you don't, the Breville grinder has conical burrs and an electronic doser, and is equally well-designed as the Dual Boiler.
Fairfax recently did a comparison of ten different high-grade domestic espresso setups and the Breville won hands-down.
My advice: up your budget a tiny bit, and go looking very hard for an online discount deal on the Breville. Good luck, Jim. This post will self-destruct in five seconds.