Today's Groupon gets you $50 worth of authentic Italian cuisine and drink for $20 at G'Vanni's Ristorante. G'Vanni's is a North End eatery known for its tasty tomato sauce and warm atmosphere. This Groupon is good at any of the restaurant's three locations in Boston, Billerica, and Portland.
Susan Amato owes her restaurant's name to her grandmother Angelina, who hails from the small Italian village of Bolognano. Many of the recipes and all of the wall photos are extensions of Amato's family, the elevated Italian cuisine presumably a juicier, more colorful take on the photographs' black-and-white tale.
Upon entry, chandeliers loom overhead like trays of glowing teacups, illuminating steaming lobster ravioli, veal sautéed in wine, and sandwiches laden with paper-thin prosciutto. Delicate pan-seared scallop starters segue into panko-encrusted fish and bubbling gourmet pizzas. To season these feasts, guests might enjoy a martini or a glass of Italian wine—perhaps one from Zaccagnini, a Bolognano mainstay.
After 12 years of manning stovetops and rolling pasta as Focaccia Ristorante's head chef, Disney Oliveira became the restaurant's manager alongside his wife, Viviane. The duo remains faithful to the menu of time-honored Italian specialties, continuing to incorporate homespun touches into the entrees. This hominess stems from the freshly baked focaccia bread, the housemade fettuccine pasta, and the signature tomato-basil sauce, which slowly simmers over a burning pile of rejected family photos. After loading pizza crusts with any of the 20 available toppings—including prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and garlic—the chefs load the pies into a traditional brick oven alongside plates of eggplant parmigiana and ricotta-stuffed eggplant rollatini.
To complement the vivacious cuisine, Focaccia Ristorante hosts live music throughout the week. On Thursday evenings, DJs get pulses racing, while on Fridays and Saturdays, live bands take to the stage until just after midnight, which, as everybody knows, is the hour that all rock musicians turn into imp-like creatures of the dark.
The aromatic scent of authentic Italian cuisine sails through Rufina's dimly lit restaurant, wafting past elegant archways and a TV-framed bar before landing on white-clothed tables. Each made-to-order meal—including 15 types of appetizers, traditional Italian dishes, and house specialties—is handcrafted by chefs who aim to please guests with savory Italian dishes that can meet special dietary restrictions and appease little picky eaters (a full kids’ menu is available). Diners can also enjoy a variety of wines and desserts served amid Rufina's several dining rooms, all of which can be transformed into a private party venue for up to 55 guests or 5 triceratops.
Aromas of sizzling shellfish, spiced tomatoes, juicy steaks, and roasted fruits waft through the sleek modern interiors of Serafina, where chefs craft seasonal Italian dishes with a focus on the Tuscan style. At the raw bar, staffers serve dozens of oysters, jumbo shrimp, and littleneck clams on the half shell. In the dining room, servers ferry complex gourmet dishes whose ingredients complement one another. They serve Italian seafood stew, Tuscan-style sirloin steak, long island duck breast, and pizzas topped with roast pears and figs or barbecue chicken. It’s food that has been praised by reviewers from such publications as the Boston Globe and the Concord Journal.
Behind the bar, floor-to-ceiling wine racks house more than 60 wines from regions throughout Italy and the United States, as well as Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand. The sounds of general merriment are accompanied by regular live piano, bass, or sax in jazz and contemporary styles.