Owner and chef Arthur Pereira refuses to choose between Italian and Portuguese cuisine, so he fills his menu with iconic dishes from both countries instead. He and his chefs make pesto in-house, hand-roll every batch of gnocchi, and stuff each ravioli with ricotta cheese or lobster. They also replicate Portugal's signature seafood stew, mariscada, by filling a pot with a bountiful catch of clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and scallops, then poaching the tender morsels in a Portuguese-style sauce with peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes.
Vine-laced trellises cover the dining room's ceiling, creating the ambiance of a rustic patio overlooking the Mediterranean's world-famous icebergs. Orange tablecloths and Tuscan-yellow walls fit into this intimate theme with their romantic, sunset-like colors.
Owner Alessandra Siniscalco, a first generation Italian, opened Caf? Piazza Dolce as a business school graduate with a passion for food, but ended up becoming the chef of a celebrated Italian trattoria. While the restaurant originally sold only espresso, gelato, and fresh baked goods, Caf? Piazza Dolce's popularity soon transformed it into a cozy eatery serving authentic Italian pastas, pizzas, and grilled dishes. The menu, comprised of both a weekend brunch and daily dinner selections, brings together entrees from every region of Italy. Caprese salads often start dinners, followed by house-made pastas for main courses. Hand-tossed pizzas rise in wood-fired ovens, topping with ingredients such as egg, prosciutto, or bacon pesto, and the kitchen's grill chars a wide range of proteins from steak to salmon. On the weekends, the chefs have a sleepover at the restaurant so they can be up early preparing pancakes, poutine, and gourmet egg sandwiches for brunch.
Within an unassuming brick storefront near the river, Avellino's loads up tables with hearty portions of family-style pasta, pizza, and calzones. Boston's Hidden Restaurants praised the subs filled with "some of the best homemade meatballs that this writer has had in the Boston area." Other pages of the gargantuan menu hold dishes designed to tantalize steak-lovers, carb-counters, and those who simply like the way spaghetti feels in the palm.:m]]
Honey-hued drapes span wall-to-wall windows. Polished silverware glimmers in the glow from dangling strings of lights and tiny wall sconces. Ristorante Pavarotti's Italian-born owner, Massimo, knows that little touches like this make a huge difference, whether you’re decorating a restaurant to create romantic ambiance or crafting authentic Italian cuisine. White tablecloths warm beneath veal and fresh seafood in red- and white-wine reductions, and other traditional dishes on the menu ramp up with gourmet ingredients such as artichokes, truffle oil, and pecorino cheese. Between bites of homemade fusilli or lobster and crab ravioli, guests can ask a server to suggest a bottle of wine to transport their senses to Italy, or a genie in a bottle to transport their physical bodies there.
Although the North End is thought of as the go-to for Italian food in Boston, it certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on authentic pastas, housemade sausages, and imported olive oils. Perched far from clamoring tourists on Main Street in Medford, Bob's Italian Foods—a 2012 Medford Patch Readers' Choice winner—has been dishing up and importing traditional Italian foods for more than 70 years. Under the guidance of the DiGiorgio family, its butchers craft their own italian hot, sweet, and fennel pork sausages each day and slice quality meats, such as Angus sirloin and new york strip steaks. The deli counter wraps up to-go foods ranging from eggplant parmigiano with meatballs to hefty prosciutto-and-provolone subs. Shoppers also wander down aisles filled with imported goods including virgin olive oils, Italian cheeses, and pastas shaped like spirals and lock-picks. In addition to equipping customers for their own lunches or dinners, Bob’s helps them feed guests during parties with catered buffets.
Pastalina's Restaurant serves hearty baked pastas and chicken and veal dishes inspired by the Avellino region of southern Italy. Chef and owner Rocco Ciccone whips up a menu full of flavorful dishes such as a zesty puttanesca peppered with capers and olives, and rich pasta alla matriciana, filled with bacon, onions, and plum tomatoes. The restaurant’s catering packages, which can be tailored to huge wedding parties as well as intimate get-togethers, feature homemade fusilli, caprese salad, fruit platters, chicken cacciatore, and other offerings.