The man behind Savino's Grill is Tom Cutrone, a veteran chef who's pushing three decades in the cooking business. His menu of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine features cured Italian meats, artisanal cheeses, and entrees such as chive pappardelle, lamb loin chop with fried polenta, and pan-roasted salmon served over pasta shells—all of it enhanced by European wines. On Thursday nights, live jazz washes over guests as they enjoy their meals and stack complimentary bread rolls into the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Founded by longtime friends Jonathan Schwarz and Christopher Robbins, Stone Hearth Pizza builds its gourmet pies from organic, local, and sustainably produced ingredients. The casual pizzeria has expanded to six locations since opening in 2005—a pace of growth made possible by the popularity of chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt’s Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. New England craft beers complement the pizzas and pastas with a pleasantly bitter taste that reflects their conflicted attitude toward out-of-towners.
Under the watchful eye of Chef Francesco Martini, Buona Vita! dishes out a penninsular menu of hearty Italian fare. Start off an appetizing adventure by supping on antipasti such as mozzarella di bufala caprese, a plate of imported buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and heirloom tomatoes bequeathed by the Mother Nature estate ($11.95). Next, delve fork tines into primi including the lobster fazzoletti, a plateful of homemade lobster-stuffed ravioli ($23.95), or the gnocchi alla sorrentina, delicate dumplings accented by basil ($15.95). Risotto offerings include the alla Milanese con funghi, which sports saffron and mushrooms to outfit the palate in tasty style ($19.95). Protein-laden secondi such as the bistecca alla fiorentina, a grilled 16-ounce Angus rib eye ($29.95), provide a flavorful way to fill carnivorous bellies and a decadent nesting place for wandering steak knives.
Those seeking Grappa Restaurant might be surprised by where they find it—nestled inside a small building that used to be a house, in the middle of an industrial-warehouse street, between two commercial districts. But behind the front door lies a different atmosphere—only 11 tables sit inside the 700-square-foot space, surrounded by walls striped in pale yellow and blue and decorated with Botticelli paintings. At the center of the room, venetian Fortuny lamps cast light from behind white and yellow silk emblazoned with gold designs. The petite restaurant reverberates with classic pop tunes by singers such as Frankie Valli, often accompanied by crooning from the restaurant's three servers—Will, Carol, and Natalie—who also urge the regular clientele to join them.
Grappa Restaurant's chefs base their menu of traditional Italian food on dishes from the owner's childhood, when her grandmother and mother would fill the kitchen with aromas of seared veal, chicken, and marsala-wine sauce. The chefs conjure these familial scents and flavors as they stuff veal or chicken saltimbocca with ham and mozzarella; toss fettuccine bolognese with chicken sausage, meat sauce, and basil-almond pesto; and drape spinach-and-ricotta ravioli in housemade tomato sauce. Servers often end meals much like sophisticated elementary-school students end food fights: with traditional Italian desserts such as housemade ricotta cannolis.
Fresh from his homeland of Brazil, Chef Rodney Moreira set himself on a path to become a master of Italian cuisine, beginning humbly as a prep cook at Pizzeria Uno. Ultimately, Moreira found his culinary muse, cooking his way up the ladder to his current position as head chef at Porcini's Italian Restaurant, where he holds numerous awards for his pasta and risotto. Building a menu off of these staples, Moreira crafts Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine finished with homemade sauces and fresh herbs. The restaurant's nightly specials and permanent entrees include grilled swordfish steak and pounded veal cutlets, and pair easily with varietals from around the world represented on the carefully curated wine list. The intimate dining room features the warming tendrils of a crackling fireplace, and the garden patio invites guests to indulge in meals under a sky filled with more stars than the sun's rolodex.
At Andrea's House of Pizza, the aroma of freshly cooked pizzas hangs in the air, melding with wafts of gyro meat and fried chicken. As guests peruse the pizza menu, they’re greeted with a globetrotting selection of Greek-, Hawaiian-, and Brazilian-styled pies, as well as the local Bostonian topped with onion, eggplant, and broccoli. There are 36 types of grinders, sandwiched between sub rolls, pita bread, or impatient hands, that share table space with fried chicken meals, as well as burgers and wraps.