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Good Italian - Not the North End!

Want to catch a nice Italian dinner with a friend for belated birthday -- However, I cannot stand one more mediocre experience in the North End!

Friends have suggested Grotto? Also, if there is something to salvage out of the NE, I'll consider it.

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  1. Grotto is terrific. Their garlic and black truffle soup is worth the price of admission alone.

    Other good places include Tullio's in North Quincy, Sweet Basil in Needham, Abbondanza in Everett, Rino's and Caffe Italia in East Boston, Pasta Lina's in Medford, and D'Parma in Winthrop.

    1. Via Matta near the Park Plaza hotel is good, as is Sage which just moved to the South End from the North End. I have always enjoyed my meals at Grotto.

      1. If price is no object, how about Sorellina? Excellent food in a beautiful dining room.


        1. Teatro is also good and has a fun atmosphere. The downside of the scene is that it's often packed and noisy.

          1. Rialto in the Charles Hotel Harvard Sq.

            1. Trattoria Toscona - Fenway.

              I love Grotto though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gini

                Big second for Trattoria Toscana -- probably my favorite in town.

                I also like Zafferano in East Boston quite a bit.

                And like everyone else who posted thus far, I agree that Grotto is very good.

              2. Domani on exeter at huntington for mid-priced contemporary. Carlos Cucina (brighton ave near harvard) for red sauce / traditional.

                1. Don't forget Carlo's Cucina on Brighton Ave. and Vinny's / Vinny's at Night

                  Also support your choice of Grotto, although it is not traditional Italian - it's just plain good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    I'll second (or third?) your Carlo's and Vinny's at Night. I had great experiences at both of those.

                  2. I like Grotto a lot. Really. But there are several places in the NE that IMO are better.

                    But since you insulted my neighborhood, no food for you! One year!

                    1. Piattini on Newbury Street.

                      had lunch there yesterday....

                      Fantastic italian tapas menu as well as pastas... GREAT food and decent prices!

                      1. La Morra is a good option, I think. It is on the edge of Brookline Village, on rte. 9, so you
                        can take the T there. And I've heard mixed reviews of it, but there is a Pomodoro in
                        Brookline Village, too. Just fyi.

                        1. Try Sorriso in the Leather District (downtown Boston)
                          I go there all the time and really love it.

                          1. I am surprised that no one has mentioned Delfino's in Roslindale, very good; Quite a bit further but excellent is Bridgemans in Hull.

                            1. Nobody's mentioned Bottega Fiorentia (two Brookline locations) or Basta Pasta (Cambridge) yet, which do excellent Italian in almost-takeout level spaces -- though these are probably not fancy enough digs for this kind of occasion. La Groceria (Cambridge), though definitely a step down from top-flight places like Grotto, Via Matta, Vinny's at Night, Carlo's, Delfino's, and Zafferano's, isn't a bad option for non-North End sitdown Italian.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: bachslunch

                                Love Basta Pasta but not comfortable enough for a night out dinner. La Morra's in Brookline is firstrate. Pomodoro's is not. Haven't tried Sage in its new location, but it was grand in its old spot. Trattoria Toscana is grand and great value.

                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                  If you're coming to Brookline I'll second La Morra, they serve some of the best pasta I've ever tasted outside Italy. Bottega Fiorentina is OK for takeout from their upstairs location in Coolidge Corner, but the downstairs restaurant is spotty at best, nowhere near La Morra quality. I've never tried the Brookline Village one.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    Bottega Fiorentina in Brookline Village is hardly a restaurant -- it does take away and has a few tables. The food is fine, but nothing to travel for.

                                    1. re: pamlet

                                      Strictly speaking, that's true. I was actually referring to both Bottega Fiorentina at street level and Firenze, the restaurant downstairs from it (entrance around the corner on Babcock St). They are owned by the same people.

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        I was in CC yesterday and a sign on the door at Firenze said the 15th was/is their last day (I didn't get close enough to read which month it was referring to). BF will remain open.

                                        1. re: po_boy

                                          Can't say I'm surprised. They just weren't good enough to justify the prices, especially located halfway between La Morra and Carlo's Cucina.

                                      2. re: pamlet

                                        Sorry, Pamlet, I misread your posting and thought you meant the CC one.

                                      3. re: BobB

                                        I'll third LaMorra. Josh is a fine Northern Italian chef, having worked at the Tuscan Grille before opening his own place. I thought it was odd earlier today when reading a list of chowhound recommended Brookline restaurants that did not include La Morra. Their site is a bit off the beaten track with valet parking only. Maybe they'll move to an better location and get the recognition they deserve.

                                        1. re: ginnyhw

                                          There's on street parking which is pretty easy.

                                  2. Zafferano in East Boston, right across from the Orient Heights T stop.

                                    1. Basil's on Frairy St. in Medfield; Abbondonza 2 in Norwood, Joe & Maria's in Norwood, Brickhouse Cafe in Dedham, Canestaro's in Fenway, La Storia in Stoughton, Risorante Euno on Salem St. in North End is worth it, Little Vinny's in Somerville, thumbs up to Carla' in Brighton, even Campanales in Braintree is ok.

                                      1. Oops! Forgot Cafe Bella in Randolph which is yummy and La Scala in Randolph which is ok.

                                        1. Pasta Market on Ferry Street in Malden (next to the Ferryway School) is fantastic.
                                          They have the best mozzarella/proscuitto/tomato sandwich.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: taxi

                                            La Campagnia in Waltham on Main St. Doesn't look like much from the street but the food, wine, and decor are wonderful.

                                            1. re: BillieJean

                                              As long as we're in Waltham, I'll second La Campania and also enthusiastically suggest Il Capriccio.