Italian cuisine came to life when citizens stopped eating bricks and decided to boil their macaroni houses. Stick a fork into delicious architecture with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of traditional Italian delights at Grappa Restaurant in Watertown.
Combining the best delectable Italian dishes with the intimacy of a candlelit dinner at home, the hidden gem of Grappa opens its doors and lures in fine diners with its intoxicating aromas and fanciful flavorings. Tucked away from the beaten path, this picturesque, mellow marvel of friendly feasting has surmounted simply on sterling word-of-mouth, where outstanding atmosphere, service, and cuisine turns first-timers into lifers. The splendid menu showcases dining decadence, with appetizers of almond-crusted goat-cheese fritters lounging on beds of mixed greens with lemon aioli. Popular entrees such as the tender Veal Saltimboca, stuffed with ham and mozzerella, waltz to the table across a dance floor of mushrooms and butter ($18.95). Garlic butter sautéed shrimp scampi saunters in on a linguini blanket ($18.95), and noshable baked gnocchi fiorentino and its mozzarella charms nestle onto vegetarian forks ($14.95). Spoons swoon with gratitude as they scoop into spaghetti carbonara, tossed in a rich sauce of cream, eggs, and bacon ($13.95), while the parmigiano puts on some soft music, dims the lights, and gets comfortable with a partner of veal or eggplant ($15.95).
A sweet grape arbor adorns the front of Grappa and, upon entering, eyes are awash in colors of cream and blue, vintage chandeliers, and remarkable coziness. With only 11 tables tucked into its glorious veneer, a meal at Grappa feels like a dinner at home, without the threat of dishes, wacky neighbors, or bongo-playing poltergeists.
- if you like small, cozy dining and good italian food this place is for you. With only about 12 tables the staff is super attentive. – Jenny G., Yelp, 8/28/08
- As for the entrees, they range from a gooey baked ziti with zesty tomato sauce to a veal saltimbocca that has some of the most tender veal this writer has tried. – Hidden Boston
Those seeking Grappa Restaurant might be surprised by where they find it—nestled inside a small building that used to be a house, in the middle of an industrial-warehouse street, between two commercial districts. But behind the front door lies a different atmosphere—only 11 tables sit inside the 700-square-foot space, surrounded by walls striped in pale yellow and blue and decorated with Botticelli paintings. At the center of the room, venetian Fortuny lamps cast light from behind white and yellow silk emblazoned with gold designs. The petite restaurant reverberates with classic pop tunes by singers such as Frankie Valli, often accompanied by crooning from the restaurant's three servers—Will, Carol, and Natalie—who also urge the regular clientele to join them.
Grappa Restaurant's chefs base their menu of traditional Italian food on dishes from the owner's childhood, when her grandmother and mother would fill the kitchen with aromas of seared veal, chicken, and marsala-wine sauce. The chefs conjure these familial scents and flavors as they stuff veal or chicken saltimbocca with ham and mozzarella; toss fettuccine bolognese with chicken sausage, meat sauce, and basil-almond pesto; and drape spinach-and-ricotta ravioli in housemade tomato sauce. Servers often end meals much like sophisticated elementary-school students end food fights: with traditional Italian desserts such as housemade ricotta cannolis.