Located at 4 Somerset St. in Beacon Hill, Café Quattro is just around the corner from the State House and up the street from Suffolk Superior Court and Suffolk University. Its menu offers an impressive variety of quality pizzas, paninis, wraps, subs and sandwiches made from only the freshest ingredients, as well as all your favorite coffee drinks. Bite into the Chicken Pesto Panini (grilled chicken marinated in basil pesto, topped with roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese) and you will exclaim “Mamma Mia!” so loudly that someone will almost certainly shush you (unless you sing the words a la Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” because everyone loves that song). If vegetarian is more your moda, try the Caprese Wrap: fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, baby salad greens, roasted red peppers, and red onion, drizzled with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette.
The noodle professionals at Casa Razdora conjure old-world flavors with home recipes and pasta made fresh in-house. Commence feasting with antipasti dishes such as caprese, which pairs fresh mozzarella with zesty tomatoes and fresh basil ($8.95). The Diavola pizza—similar to the first Roman dramatic plays—sets spicy soppresata atop a stage of crispy crust while a deposed emperor cries next to your seat ($14.99). Meanwhile, the Bresaola panini enlists dry-cured beef and roasted red peppers to fill up the crevice between slices of homemade bread ($7.95). Various house-made pastas can be doused in a cornucopia of sauces including creamy alfredo or spicy arrabbiata ($7.95+).
The hot-off-the-press menu features a variety of hot-off-the-stove Italian plates that compel diners to find the nearest floating coin box and cha-ching it dry. A favorite starter offer is the cuneo di lattuga, which is a wedge salad with house-cured pancetta and creamy gorgonzola ($9). A surefire main plate is the homemade "OO" gnocchi in fresh plum tomato sauces baked with Italian cheese ($18). There are a variety of meatier dishes, all cooked and tenderized to perfection. The vitello braciolatini (veal cutlet stuffed with prosciutto, fontina, and sage in a marsala sauce, $21) is well received by past patrons and time-traveling future patrons.
Dining out is much more pleasant than dining in—it's annoying to take turns role-playing waiter, and restaurants are much less likely to have Roombas underfoot. With today's Groupon, $25 gets you $50 worth of drinks and dining at Bina Osteria, a restaurant with great food and atmosphere.
The North End and the Mediterranean may seem half a world apart, but Il Villaggio closes that distance a bit by bringing the flavors of the Old World to Boston. According to the Travel Channel's list of Boston's Local Eats, "it’s hard to imagine a more authentic Italian dining experience than what you’ll get at Il Villaggio." This sense of authenticity stems from the chefs' unwavering commitment to Mediterranean culinary traditions.
In addition to making their own buffalo mozzarella in-house, they also toast their bruschetta over a puddle of magma imported from Mount Vesuvius. These small, yet significant commitments help create faithful renditions of classic Italian dishes, including savory veal marsala, sautéed shrimp and linguini in a spicy fra diavolo sauce, and semolina gnocchi with creamy pesto.
With its faux-plaster walls, simple tile floors, and intimate size, Il Villaggio's dining room feels more like a home than a restaurant. Chandeliers resembling bundles of twigs dangle above the white linen-draped tables and cast a warm glow across the slanted shelves, which are lined with bottles of Italian wine from grape-growing regions throughout the country.
Lauded by Zagat and appearing in several publications, Tresca serves an ever-evolving menu of upscale Italian cuisine in a two-story space reminiscent of a Tuscan villa. Chef Jake Pease offers up everything from handmade pastas to artisanal cheeses as well as steaks and local seafood. Signature dishes scribbling out their autographs include yellowfin-tuna tartare perched atop homemade flatbread and arugula ($17) and polpette di vitello, a collection of crispy veal meatballs accompanied by garlic and herb dipping sauces ($15). Tresca's own homemade steak sauce bedecks a gourmet slab of black Angus tenderloin served alongside roasted-garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus ($32). Seafood selections plucked from nearby shellfish orchards include spangle lobster and whitefish that's been simmered in saffron-tomato broth ($33).