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Favorite Little-Known Italian Restaurant Outside of Boston Proper?

I definitely have a few, including Abbondanza in Everett, Pellino's in Marblehead, and Pasta Lina's in Medford, but I'd love to hear about a few more. Has anyone tried Fiorella's in Newton? Sweet Basil in Needham? Angelo's in Stoneham? Any other favorites out there?

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  1. Sweet Basil is great for rustic country Italian (big flavors). The space is TINY, only a few tables and a counter, so don't go there if you are on a tight-time frame or if you don't want to walk out of there with eau du garlic permeating your clothes.

    7 Replies
    1. re: olives

      Georgie D's Place in Stoneham is relatively new, and has excellent Italian. I also like Venetian Moon in Reading (awesome chicken marsala) and Ristorante Serena in Malden.

      1. re: RichardA

        Is that an old menu up on the Ristorante Serena Web site? $6.50 for tortellini pesto is pretty reasonable!

        PS Don't listen to me, I was looking at their lunch menu. Doh! Anyways, here is their Web site:

        http://www.ristoranteserena.com/

        1. re: RichardA

          I like Georgie D's, too. I have a GC to Venetian Moon- will have to get there soon. Have never heard of Ristorante Serena. Will have to see if they have an on line menu. Am going out for dinner this evening- not sure what kind of food we will decide upon- I was leaning towards either Fuloon or All Seasons Table, but one in the party is pretty picky, so we may be better off with Italian.

          1. re: RichardA

            Found the menu for Ristorante Serena- did not realie it was in Maplewood Square. Lots of seafood offerings. Sounds promising. Thanks for the tip.

            1. re: RichardA

              Is Ristorante Serena new? I just drove by there last week.

              1. re: taxi

                It opened around the start of 2007.

            2. re: olives

              Sweet Basil has expanded and the space is not nearly so tiny now. It is still difficult to get a table though.

              oops, this was supposed to go under the Sweet Basil post.

            3. One of my favorite Italian places outside of Boston proper is La Vita Mia in Saugus. I'm sure a lot of people know about it, but it doesn't get mentioned here to often.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Infomaniac

                LVM is our favorite too. And, I love that they have a take out menu too.

                Molise in Wakefield *used* to be on our favorite list until the night when, as the next in line to be seated, 4 people pushed ahead of us and told the hostess they had a reservation. The policy at the time was No Reservations. We had been there for 45 minutes.....we didn't stay.

              2. Fiorella's is pretty good, but I prefer Francesca's, also in Newton (Adam's St, in Nonantum). The dining room is tiny, but with nice atmosphere. The pizza is very good, as are the pasta dishes.

                3 Replies
                1. re: fbf242

                  What are the hours for Francesca's? I can't seem to find anything online about it.

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    I don't know, but it is possible that there are some days that it is closed, as I seem to recall a few times that we have tried unsuccessfully to go or order food (my family has been ordering pizza from them for 20ish years). I think they are only open for dinner.

                    1. re: fbf242

                      also, the last time I was there--a few months ago--they had gone to cash only. However, their traditional red sauce dishes are authentic and delicious.

                2. Right now, my two Italian favorites outside of Boston are Gennaros in Quincy, and the Venetian in Weymouth. Gennaro's has excellent quality, reasonable prices and large portions. The food tastes homemade, and has some punch to it. You can smell the garlic in the air when you walk through the front door.

                  The Venetian is also very good, especially the pork chop and vinegar peppers dish, which I will go back for every time.

                  1. Not sure how little known, or even if I would classify it as Italian since the menu has many other choices, but I really like the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale. Thin crust pizza and some of the best veal dishes around. AIthough I do think it's strange that if you want to eat at the bar, the wait staff from the dining room takes your order and you pay separately for your food and drink. Always liked Vin & Eddies in Abington as well and no one ever seems to post about that place.