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New restaurant in Watertown - Grappa

Drove by today, I think it used to be Villa Cantina. A little tiny place on Elm Street, next to Watertown Mall.

Looked to be still under construction. Front painted black and purple. I couldn't see the entire sign but I'm pretty sure it said Grappa.

Anyone know anything about it?

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  1. That place is really a restaurant? I've seen the Villa signs for years, but it looks like somebody's house, always seems to have construction materials out front, and never seems to be open. I'll have to drive by and see if there's a change.

    1. I drive by this every two weeks. In the last 60 days there has been a lot more activity and it seems to be making progress towards being a restaurant again. As the original poster mentioned they do have the sign up, but it still looks like they have a ways to go. In some cities you can get information about work permits and license transfers on the web, but Watertown's seems to be too far out of date to have any info.

      1. I peeked in the window today and it looks like they're all set up. I saw menus and wine lists by the door, a bar stocked with glassware, and fully set tables with fanned-open napkins, bottles of sparkling water, and salt and pepper shakers. There was no one there (unsurprising for early Sunday afternoon) and no phone number, hours listing, or any other indication of whether/when they're open. Very mysterious.

        1. FWIW, they were serving last Wednesday with waiters dressed in black, etc. Could even have been a soft opening and no more info on the menu, but for those curious you might pass by there.

          1. Anyone eat here yet? I was planning to go tonight.

            1. I am planning to try it tomorrow evening with a friend, and will plan to post. Of course, am curious if anyone has tried yet...?

              1. I went to Grappa! Turns out they have been open for 3 weeks, but still no sign on the door or indication that they are open unless you walk by and see people inside. The waiter said there was an item about them in the Improper Bostonian this week, which has brought in some business.

                It's a small, cozy room with maybe 12 tables. It was actually pretty full when we walked in. We were greeted by an enthusiastic waiter who quickly whisked out our drinks and a small loaf of garlicky bread, fresh out of the oven. We skipped appetizers (I was hoping for a salad or something light, but the choices were caprese, iceberg lettuce, or antipasto -- not very vegetable-y; the other apps were mostly fried things, including mushrooms, quahogs, and mozzarella, and an eggplant rollatini) and had a fairly long wait for entrees.

                I think the kitchen is still working out a few glitches. The table behind us was complaining that they had been sitting there for so long and had to go to work the next day. Then apparently their order was messed up, and one of their sides was missing. But the (cook? owner?) kept coming out and apologizing, and brought them some complimentary food and comped them a bottle of wine, and they left happy. I overheard one woman saying, "Ordinarily I'd be mad, but they're just so adorable here, I want to hug and kiss them." They walked out the door saying the food was delicious, despite the problems, and promising to come back.

                Our entrees were shrimp fra diavolo, which I liked -- firm shrimp, slightly spicy sauce -- and chicken saltimbocca. I asked how the chicken was, and he raved about the texture, how moist it was, how perfectly cooked, but said it tasted... mapley. Mapley? Chicken with ham and cheese? "Like french toast," he explained. I tasted it and he was right, it tasted disconcertingly like french toast. Our theory was a little too much egg in the batter and sugar in the sauce. He enjoyed it, anyway. The chicken came with pasta in marinara on the side. The pasta is not homemade -- when I asked, the waiter said "she orders it from a company." But it was good.

                Portion sizes are fairly large, enough to take some home for lunch. They have a few soups, which we didn't try; apps are around $6, entrees are around $10-18, and desserts are $5. The menu is fairly short and includes basic red sauce selections -- lasagna, baked ziti, chicken piccata, veal marsala, that sort of thing. The seafood choices consist of three shrimp dishes and sole stuffed with shrimp.

                We ended with their excellent rendition of tiramisu, which is imported from Italy. The only bad part about it was having to share!

                Overall, I think it's a nice addition to the neighborhood -- good food, reasonable prices, and people who inspire hugs and kisses. If you live (or are shopping) nearby and are in the mood for this type of food, I recommend it. It's on Elm Street right around the corner from the Target in Watertown.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pia

                  Are they open for lunch, too? Sundays?

                2. Well we finally made it over to grappa last night (since moving from watertown we dont get there much) but once we heard about the spot the wife and i had to go (we were big fans of her old spot figlia in newton center). i must say being former residents of watertown , we remember this tired looking place and were shocked when we heard they were opening there. That said . It was none short of fantastic. we started with the pasta fagioli which was fantastic in its simplicity. also oerdered a simple caprese(cant screw that up). the wife had the chicken parm which again was the standard yet it was a great cutlet and i had the marsala which was very light yet full of flavor. the prices really make this place a hit .both our entrees were around $15 and were the perfect size. its a menu everyone knows and thats the beauty of this spot. great italian comfort food at really cheap prices.2 apps, 2 entree's and 4 glasses of wine = $80 w/tip. its a steal!!! I do suggest reservations since it is a very hot spot , and i expect it to be for a very long time , bertuccis prices but real italian... this is a go to place for the comfort food we grew up on. best of luck to them, they deserve it!!!!

                  1. A quick update to this post, as we ate there last night and they seemed like they could use some business -- this place is great! As a caveat, this is very straightforward and traditional Italian food, the same menu as a hundred places in the North End. The difference is that the execution is marvelous and the welcome is very warm and genuine. We had the eggplant and one of the chicken dishes and they were both really good. Comfort food of a high level. The service was good, though the place was not very full so not a true test of how the kitchen operates at full capacity. Give it a try!