Among ways for people to become better acquainted, intimate dinners lead a short list that includes hiding in a log from a bear and attending candlelit garage sales. Utilize romantic surroundings with today’s Groupon to Villa Francesca. Choose between the following options:
- For $20, you get $40 worth of upscale Italian dinner cuisine for a group of two or more.
- For $40, you get $80 worth of upscale Italian dinner cuisine for a group of four or more.
Surrounded by exposed-brick walls and intricate murals, diners at Villa Francesca select from an elaborate dinner menu of Italian classics, including pastas and veal entrees. Fettuccine con gamberi anchors a dinner spread with succulent hunks of shrimp ($24.95), and the double-ribbed pork chop accompanies mashed potatoes to offset meaty bites or fill in as powdered wigs atop stately spoons ($28.95). Diners absorb the elegant arrangement of pollo Michelangelo before diving into its tender backdrop of ham and mushrooms ($25.95), or reserve tummy real estate for an Italian dessert, such as tortino di choccolato fondente—a warm chocolate fountain cake cooled with ice cream and fresh berries ($9.95).
Villa Francesca’s ornate interior infuses meals with the spirit of Tuscany, shrouding guests amid arched, wooden wine cases that create prismatic displays on rustic brick façades. Those seated on the first floor can study artwork for secret codes while enjoying a street-side view through large windows that swing open to reveal terraces festooned in swaying flowerpots.
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 protégé 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.