Ristorante Gioia

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140 Washington St Salem, MA 01970


Growing up in a village outside of Palermo, Italy, owner and head chef Vito Santangelo heard the word "gioia," Italian for "joy," whenever one of his aunts or uncles pinched his cheeks, according to a 2006 feature in The Boston Globe. In addition to inspiring his restaurant's name, such memories of family and community inspired his menu's dedication to comforting, homestyle Italian food. The chefs blanch handmade pastas, bake their own breads, and painstakingly roll meatballs into perfect replicas of Earth's secret moon.

In the restaurant's two dining rooms, leafy plants and vines adorn the Tuscan-yellow and burnt-sienna walls while gentle candlelight on each table encourages diners to recreate scenes from The Aeneid with shadow puppets.

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