HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Help me, Italian aficianodos!

  • k

I just returned from an amazing trip to Rome & Tuscany and for my boyfriend's birthday (in two weeks) I'd love to try and replicate our dining experiences. Any suggestions about truly legit and delicious places for Italian? We both loved Sorellina but would be just as happy with something more low-key if it's amazing. Extra points if you can tell me where to find a killer Amatriciana.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I haven't had it there, but L'Osteria on Salem Street has Amatriciana on their menu. Their other entrees are excellent, so chances are it's pretty good, too.

    1. It's really up to you im mean your top five favourite italians eateries are most likley going to be completly different from most of the people on here

      My suggestion go to the north end website check out the menus and see what fits you. Then ask opinions or read reviews and check it out for yourself

      1. Trattoria Toscana, 130 Jersey St, Fenway. As good as any Tuscan food in Boston.

        2 Replies
        1. re: BBHound

          I concur with Trattoria Toscana for their food.

          1. re: Infomaniac

            Third the rec for Trattoria Toscana.

        2. Vinny's at Night in Somerville - not much for atmosphere (it is in the back room of a deli/convenience store) but the food is incredible and they have some great values on wine.

          If you do a search on this board you will find many postings/raves about this place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: heathermb

            Yes, LOVE Vinny's but it is more Sicilian than Tuscan or Roman.

            Still, outstanding chow.

          2. I had the same problem two seasons ago and quite frankly, NOTHING would really duplicate the experience. But I think Via Matta comes close with some of their dishes--I've enjoyed pastas, wild boar with polenta, and oh, those fried mushrooms. I also quite like La Morra, though others on the board may disagree. Again, I would focus on the ciccheti, salads, antipasti. Love their pastas and their contorni are quite good. These two restaurants are at the top of my list.

            Bricco was my hands down favorite for pasta and reminding me of Italy (but stupid expensive)--and this was all before Marisa left (though I heard she's back in town?) Do not bother going there now.

            I wasn't wowed by Trattoria Toscana's pasta courses, but quite liked their salads, soups, antipasti.

            Carmen in the North End does a nice job, though I've only been a couple of times.

            Marco for their fritto misto. Salads missed the mark, IMHO. Pastas were nice, but rather simple. Never made it to entrees (see a pattern here?)

            Vinny's at Night is Italian-American, not what you are after.

            I've had Zafferano's on my to-try list for a while now, probably a couple of others that I am forgetting right now.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MB fka MB

              Zafferano's in East Boston is the best Italian I've had outside of Italy. By far. A group of 4 of us shared 2 appetizers: mussels that melted in your mouth, calamari very tender. We sopped up the juices with the fresh (and warm) bread. We each had different entrees:
              regular ravioli (for the timid eater), freshly made pasta & nicely filled with a tangy red sauce
              steak- amazing & not a bite left
              risotto with seafood- wow
              scallops- great

              If you don't go in 2 weeks, plan another time- it's FABULOUS!

              1. re: tall sarah

                I agree with Zafferano's. We had a fabulous birthday celebration there about a year and a half ago with about 12 people. Don't miss the Risotto - to die for....... It's a truly legit Italian, and not exorbitantly priced and not overly fancy.

            2. Funny, I am always in search of a really good Amatriciana and I just had one -- one that I am sure will bring you back to your time in Rome --just as good as any version I ever enjoyed in Italy. It was at Trattoria Pulcinella, a tiny little spot on Huron Ave in Cambridge. It's been around forever and I've always heard good things, but never had the chance to check it out. I was craving Italian "comfort" food, and this place totally fit the bill. I got Perciatelli Amatriciana (perciatelli is basically the same as bucatini, the thick hollow strands of pasta, which is how traditional amatriciana is prepared, as I am sure you know.) Anyway, it the most simple dish -- Chunks of tomato, some onion, smoky slices of pancetta....but done perfectly...mmm. REALLY good. They also had a ton of specials in addition to the regular menu (including a wild boar special, which you also see a lot in Rome and Tuscany). Anyway, great spot. Highly recommend the Amatriciana.

              Another good spot for a simple, quick fix --Il Panino Express, on Hanover Street in the North End. I love this place in general (and think they have the best chicken parm in Boston) and their Amatriciana doesn't disappoint. It's made with ziti though, not bucatini, but it's still good, made quickly to order.

              For other Roman-Tuscan fare, I agree with OPs re Trattoria Toscana in Fenway, Via Matta, even Teatro for some great dishes. Enjoy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: twentyoystahs

                Yes! You totally get it! Thank you so much, it sounds like Trattoria Pulcinella might be my jam. I am now in love with bucatini and our other FAVORITE thing that we ate like 5 times was tagliatelle with cinghiale, or pretty much cinghiale in any form. Thanks for your help!!!

              2. I haven't had Amatriciana in Italy, but two dishes that I like are the homemade fusili al'amatriciana at Carlo's in Allston (it's not on the menu anymore, but they'll still make it) and the penne (or ravioli) matriciana at Bottega Fiorentia in Coolidge corner.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wags

                  I have eaten bucatella amatriciana in Rome, and my dining companion, a distinguished older Roman gentleman, instructed me that to eat this dish properly one must - MUST - tuck ones napkin in at the chin so as to cover the entire chest to protect oneself from splashing sauce!

                2. I don't recall whether they had amatriciana on the menu, but the pasta (though sadly not the meat) at La Morra in Brookline Village is the best I've had in the area, very authentic.

                  1. Trattoria Toscana is extremely close to what you'll get on the streets of Florence. It's where the chef grew up and he's coming as close as he can to the real thing in Fenway. Get the liver crostini and the carratiera and you'll love me, the chef, and the world after you're done with your dinner. The carratiera is darn close to an amatriciana. Come back to us when you've tried it.