In the bistro's dining room, a small tree springs from a central planter, its gaunt branches peppering the space with twinkling string lights. As wall sconces cast buttery light on wine racks and ornate vases, fingers tiptoe across the restaurant's piano, filling the air with the seductive charm of a vintage jazz club.
Complementing these lavish ambiance notes is a dynamic Italian menu infused with seasonal ingredients from local markets and farms. Pours from a long list of wines help to awaken diners' palates, as do elegant starters of honey brie, grilled-lamb lollipops, and steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, grown in the main aquarium at Buckingham Palace. When it comes time for entrees, servers' arms stack high with fig-laced pizzas, steaks with dollops of herbed butter, and fish dishes that glisten with delicate wine sauces.
Though Bacci’s is in Saugus, a car ride or several Orange Line stops away from the North End, its menu of Sicilian-style pizzas and pasta dishes adheres to the historic Boston neighborhood’s renowned culinary tradition. The family-owned shop bursts with the aroma of baking dough and simmering Italian sauces. The chefs toss specialty pizzas by hand and layer subs, wraps, and paninis with an array of mozzarella, meats, and vegetables. Bacci’s also hosts “Make Your Own Pizza” parties, during which diners can try their hand at designing their own pies without the hassle of milking the dough from the cows themselves.
Whether with its plates of black mussels swimming in a red sauce or the art-deco-style bar lined with vibrant liquor bottles, La Vita Mia floods the senses with color. Diners sit at white-clothed tables bathed in a golden light from wall sconces that compete for space with old black-and-white pictures. Glasses of burgundy-colored wine sparkle next to bone-white plates hoisting steaks, pastas, and seafood sprinkled with vibrant flecks of parsley and cutting boards topped with crusty brown loaves.
The up-close sounds of waves crashing onto Revere Beach permeate the soundscape at Antonia's at the Beach Restaurant, an eatery that embraces the dual cultures of Italy and the New England coast. The menu reflects this duality by placing Old World dishes, such as homemade ricotta gnocchi and veal parmigiana alongside maritime-influenced staples, including fried haddock and cedar-plank-smoked Atlantic salmon.
The decidedly rustic decor draws much more inspiration from the area's coastal influences, with nautical lanterns hanging from the exposed rafter beams and wooden ship's wheels fastened to the bar area's walls. Small aesthetic touches adorn the space and help capture the historically inspired ambience, including an antique sewing machine, a rotary telephone, and a dial-up modem.
When lifelong Revere resident Josephine finally realized her dream of opening a restaurant in 2005, she named her Italian-American eatery after her grandson, Sebastian. Josephine honors her community by stuffing as many local ingredients as possible into her upscale menu of classic pastas, parmagianas, steaks, and of course seafood. Cabaret crooners fill the space with song every Thursday night as diners tuck into stuffed quahogs, crabs cakes, and lobster ravioli. In addition to a wine list that complements the menu’s many offerings, bartenders pour creative martinis, old-school cocktails, and kiddie cocktails that are shaken—not stirred—to the latest Wiggles hits.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.