Growing up across the street from the historical North End building where Villa Francesca now stands, Guglielmo Ranauro never guessed that he'd open a restaurant in 1976 and name it after his beloved mother. Ranauro was inspired by her traditional cooking and wanted to create a place where other people could get an authentic taste of Italy.
Today, Ranauro has handed over the family legacy to longtime manager and prot?g? Tomas Salmeron. Salmeron and his culinary team continue to follow those classic recipes, turning fresh-caught fruits of the sea into a daily seafood prix fixe menu. Furthermore, they transform chicken, lamb, steak, and veal into dishes you might find while strolling through a Tuscan piazza or steering a one-person submarine down a Venetian canal. The eatery?s extensive wine list, which includes 140 Italian and international varieties, earned a 2012 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Even the ambiance points diners in the direction of Italy: tin ceilings and stained-glass accents add Old-World nostalgia, and the exposed-brick walls are anchored by Romanesque archways and paintings of bustling village scenes.
When the Santini family traveled to the U.S. from Italy, they saw many restaurants with Italian names, but few that were actually rooted in Italian tradition. So they founded Casa Razdora, and gave it a name that bound them to their mission––a “razdora” is an Italian homemaker, who toils in the kitchen with her bare hands to keep the food fresh and the traditions alive. That commitment to tradition starts with the homemade bread that encases panini stuffed with bresaola and roasted peppers or prosciutto di parma and sopresetta. Piadina––an Italia flatbread––features similarly tempting fillings such as sausage and gorgonzola, while house-made polpettine pasta arrives topped with handmade veal, pork, and beef meatballs. Speaking of pasta, each order of fusilli, spaghetti, tagliatelle, and tubetti comes with a choice of one of 23 homemade sauces ranging from fresh pomodoro, to creamy pesto afredo, to quick-cooking presto chango. And, to ensure each meal ends on a sweet note, the kitchen whips up from-scratch desserts, including fresh ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu.
No, he wasn't born in Sicily. In fact—according to a 2011 article in the Boston Globe—Doug Ferriman started out in the pizza business without even knowing how to make dough. But he learned fast, besting 120 competitors and two Italian chefs to take second place at the International Pizza Challenge later that year. Ferriman is also one of only two people to have won the International Pizza Expo's Pizza of the Year honor more than once, in 2004 and 2007, according to trade magazine Pizza Today. Finally, in the 2013 competition, Ferriman won first in the non-traditional category in the northeast region.
Today, Ferriman brings his dough tossing know-how to Crazy Dough's Pizza, which he co-owns with his wife, Melissa. Their labor-of-love-turned-small-business-success-story, which has been documented in media outlets such as the Boston Business Journal, can be explained by their commitment to quality ingredients and diverse recipes. Their chefs start with a solid pizza foundation of North Dakota flour, vine-ripened California plum tomatoes, and Wisconsin cheese. Next, they transform raw dough into three pizza types: pan-baked, rectangular sicilian pies; hearty brick-oven rounds; or their specialty fire-grilled pizzas, cooked to a crispy, smoky finish on an open-flame hickory grill.
Finally, guests can choose from a huge selection of off-the-wall toppings and signature combinations, such as cheeseburger bacon or potato bacon cheddar. The shops also attract guests with $5 Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers, calzones, and Crazy Dough Bowls—salads whose bread-bowl exterior can be eaten or worn as a savory hat.
At Davide Restaurant, co-owner and head chef Frank Gesualdi divvies up his attention between a menu of contemporary Italian cuisine and a list of wines that showcases his past as a vino connoisseur. He sculpts fresh seasonal ingredients—including local seafood and pasta crafted in house—into pizzettas and tagliatelle, a tangle of pasta and lobster reminiscent of the Mediterranean Sea's famed linguini patches. Squeezed from Californian fruits and Tuscany's sangiovese grapes, Frank's handpicked wines magnify savory flavors in the ornate eatery, which is tucked away in Boston's Little Italy neighborhood. The aroma of Frank's rich marinara sauce wafts through Davide's brick-lined doorway, which opens into a softly lit dining room where crimson banquet booths dot the space between oak and stonewalls.
Chefs at Piccola Venezia use juicy Italian-style sausages, creamy risotto, and plenty of garlic and basil to create authentic Italian dishes that Zagat rated "very good to excellent." The dinner menu presents rustic favorites alongside gourmet cuisine, such as handmade curls of orecchiette pasta tossed with sausage and wilted broccoli raab or shrimp scampi with artichoke hearts and black olives. More than 50 varieties of wine, from red to white to bubbly, bring out dishes' subtler flavors without threats of torture with red-pepper flakes.
If you’re looking for high quality and personal service, you’ve come to the right place. At Christo's Pizza we’ll give you the attention and personal service you’ll come to expect and enjoy. We offer the best Greek-style Pizza in town. Christo's Pizza has been located in West Roxbury since 1970. Come eat with us today!