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Great Food, Many Laughs at Pastalina's, Medford

My GF treated me to a terrific birthday dinner at Pastalina's in Medford last night (I know you're out in Chowhound land, BTW, so another big thank you for the great meal!). In addition to the wonderful homemade pastas and outstanding salad, it was a laugh a minute there. Between the funny and gregarious waitress and the guys taking hilarious pot shots at each other at the table across from us, it was a memorable night for sure!

As for the food: The scampagnata antipasto was perfect, with various Italian cold cuts and fresh strips of mozzarella cheese. The tortellini with homemade "gravy" and grated cheese was fabulous, and also very filling, as I took about half of it home. The veal brociolettine was even better, with an exquisite marsala sauce that had a sweetness to it that simply made the dish. And the waitress gave us some of her very own heart-shaped brownies that she had made, as well as chocolate-covered strawberries. By the way, Pastalina's in BYO, so she was nice enough to run across the street and get us a bottle of merlot.

Now for the folks who were sitting across from us in the little dining room: They were 5 of the funniest guys you'll ever meet; a cross between Imus in the Morning and Oceans Eleven, with each of them ripping the other throughout the meal with cracks that had us on the floor laughing at times. They were also salt of the earth types who talked to us throughout the evening, and helped make it an even more enjoyable night for us. I guess they are there every week, so I'm sure I'll run into them again soon.

With all due respect to Potbellies Kitchen and Cafe Polonia in South Boston, and Cafe Azteca in Lawrence, I have to say that Pastalina's was probably the best overall dining experience I've had in the past six months. I can't wait to start digging into the leftovers today!

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  1. I love the food at Pastalina's, and the waitstaff has been incredibly helpful every time I've eaten there (it's good for take-out also). The chicken saltimbucca is to die for.

    If you're looking for a quick meal, though, this is not the place. They take their time, as everything is made fresh in the kitchen, and they let you enjoy your meal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pamalamb

      I enjoy Pastalina's too and have been trying to get a group of friends to go there forever. Although its small, I still think its a nice place for a group. While the Beer and Wine license has been good overall for Medford (previously you had to have 50 seats to offer alcohol, so most small restaurants were BYOB), several restaurants that I won't mention have lost a lot of their charm and gotten a bit snuffy. What hidden mentions about the waitress grabbing a 20 and running across the street to the liquor store used to be comonplace. Plus there was a nice relationship between the liquor stores and local restaurants because they were so used to sending customers across the street. If you brought an interesting wine with you the wait staff and sometimes the kitchen would give it a try. And in several cases the selection has become a lot worse now that the restaurant is buying from a distributor. Times change, but its nice that Pastalina's maintains that atmosphere.

      1. re: esmom

        Oops! Yes, that would help! It is:

        Pastalina's Restaurant
        454 Salem Street, Medford
        (near the intersection of Routes 60 and 28)

            1. re: 9lives

              BTW, for any public transportation people out there (I'm one), I believe the 325 bus will take you from Haymarket to close to Pastalina's (short walk).

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                FYI, the 101 bus from Sullivan Station or Malden Station goes up/down Salem Street (Route 60) and stops right near Pastalina's in Medford.

                1. re: buffet king

                  I called them &, I presume he was the owner, told me about the #101 out of Sullivan. I think it's the Grant Street stop on Salem. Could someone tell me Pastalena's hours of operation, weekdays & weekends - forgot to ask.

      2. What do you think about Pastalina's appropriateness for an early dinner with children? I have a well-behaved, adventuresome eater, but like most 2.5 year olds, she occassionally gets a little loud.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MSJ

          We decided to answer this question this weekend, and the answer is both yes and no. Pastalina's does not have highchairs or booster seats, but the menu is great for kids. Huge portions, many with sides of pasta perfect for sharing your meal with the younger set. The staff was incredibly nice to our 32 month old daugher and very accommodating to her needs. We got lucky that the restaurant was very empty, and therefore she could wander around the room a bit without bothering anyone. On a busy night, with all the tables full, we might have had some problems. So, the answer is - if your child is used to dining out and is pretty well-behaved, grab your own booster seat and head to Pastalina's early.

          1. re: MSJ

            Sorry about not answering your response. I think I was in Manhattan (or getting ready to head down there) that day, so I missed this thread. Glad you had a nice time there!