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La Spiga: Italian in Needham, MA

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MarC24 Nov 4, 2007 03:32 PM

La Spiga is a new Italian restaurant in Needham, MA. We ate there for dinner recently and were very disappointed. Had read some good reviews and heard some good things, but overall the experience was not good. The decor is rustic and open, but there is not much room for waiting patrons to stand and the restaurant itself was too brightly lit for dinner. For dinner, I had the mussels appetizer- very very fishy, did not taste good at all. I ate only about 1/2 of it and had to stop, and I usually LOVE mussels. My husband had the Fried Calamari appetizer which was OK, but came with no dipping sauce or marinara. He asked for some, but it never came. For entree, I ordered a special: pasta pockets filled with pumpkin and cheese, with a Wild Boar sauce on top. I was brought a flat noodle pasta with what I was told was the Wild Boar sauce. Apparently the kitchen made a mistake with the plating. It actually tasted pretty good, but it was not what I ordered. My husband had gnocci, which he found fair. One of our other dining companions had the Ravioli filled with Calamari and Arugula, topped with Shrimp. It was just fair- again, the Ravioli were way too fishy. Overall, we found all of the seafood dishes we tried to taste much too fishy. The service was also just fair. Our server clearly was well intentioned and nice, but she was nowhere to be found when our appetizers came. We had to ask someone else for extra marinara sauce, which was never brought, and later we were told that the kitchen was too busy to provide us with marinara dipping sauce for the fried calamari. The person who served our entrees was very unfamiliar with the menu options and did not know what was in the plates he was serving. Overall, the food was not great and service was fair to poor.

  1. j
    Jim_Chico Aug 19, 2009 02:52 PM

    We ate there last night and had a wonderful, romantic dinner. Sure it's near Needham Street, but we found it quiet and nice. To start we had mixed greens and a cheese flan. The flan was amazingly rich and flavorful. I had a very good but not incredible gnocchi and my wife had a really terrific flat pasta (the name of which I forget) in a bolognese sauce. It was really top notch. We had a montepulciano wine that was excellent and a good price at $8.00 a glass. The service was really quite good. The value was good also. I give it high marks. I think the original posting and some of teh subsequent ones are simply out of date.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim_Chico
      MC Slim JB Aug 19, 2009 08:58 PM

      Marisa Iocco, a very talented Italian chef, recently took over their kitchen. She's been around: Galleria Italiana, South End Galleria, Bricco, Mare, and more. Great housemade pastas. I had lunch there recently, really liked my pasta, though it was rather oversauced, not a mistake I expect out of her kitchen. I'd pretty much ignore any review of this place prior to a couple of months ago. Would be curious to hear what dinner patrons have experienced.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      1. re: MC Slim JB
        b
        bakerboyz Aug 20, 2009 04:49 AM

        I recently returned from previous disappointments. Ordered a mushroon pizza at lunch timeand unfortunately, not very good.

    2. r
      RWilsker Feb 26, 2008 12:28 PM

      We actually had a very nice dinner there. The calamari was very good, as was the duck that I had. When we asked for the best undiscovered inexpensive wine they had, the waitress suggested a Barolo that ended up being wonderful. The staff was friendly and attentive. In addition, the cuisine here was much lighter than, say, Sweet Basil, another Needham restaurant with an Italian bent that I love (but whose food can make you feel like a boat anchor). The Tiramisu dessert was very good - better than the mousse, which (my only complaint) was made with whipped cream rather than egg whites.

      All in all, we had a very nice meal there. I wonder, as with the comment on the marinara sauce, if some of the issues here are cultural. (We did not have the fish, so I can't comment on that issue. I'll try it next time I go and see.)

      1. o
        oofy Feb 14, 2008 01:43 PM

        That sucks that the seafood wasn't good...my fiance was thinking of eating there tonight for vday, but obviously that's not going to happen after reading this. :-(

        FYI, Italians don't dip their fried calamari in anything...that's an American thing.

        1. t
          toothdr Dec 10, 2007 04:51 PM

          This was the worst meal/service I've had in a long, long time! First, when you see prices like these on a menu, you kind of assume that it's going to be quality food. My friend asked if there was cheese on a certain pizza, and when the waiter said there was, I proceeded to order the same one. When our pizzas came out (much) later, neither one had cheese. They were literally thin pieces of pizza crust with sauce airbrushed on and about 5 small slices of garlic. Another friend ordered the delicious-sounding caesar salad (with fried ricotta and parmesan balls) with grilled chicken for $13.50! When hers came out, it was literally a bowl of lettuce and chicken with nothing on it. When we inquired about the cheese, the waiter came back with a small plate of 3 marble-sized cheeseballs. On top of that, the chicken was black and chewy. The waiter was unapologetic, made no efforts to fix his mistakes, and even joked about them! This was absolutely the worst! Save yourself some time and money and go to Papa Gino's down the street.

          2 Replies
          1. re: toothdr
            b
            bear Dec 12, 2007 03:25 PM

            Toothdr, I'd be interested in other Boston and suburb restaurants that you enjoy, in and outside of Needham. It would be helpful for comparison.

            1. re: bear
              m
              macadamianut Aug 19, 2009 07:15 PM

              Bear it seems like many people especially the ones listed below also have a one time chowhound review. It's a bit suspect don't you think?

          2. b
            Bricoleur Nov 30, 2007 08:59 AM

            I was glad to see it come in as it was nice to get some variety on Highland St. And for lunch, it still seems like a decent option, though the food is mixed. Everyone I know who has tried the pastas say they're terrific, but I've found the sandwiches to be just okay, particularly for the price. The $8.95 sausage and brocolli rape wasn't bad, but the sausage was crumbly and not particularly flavorful, and the rape wasn't drained well so the bread wound up soggy. Same with the veal cutlet which was so dull I wound up raiding the pizza condiments and oil and vinegar, just to get some flavor into it; the cutlet was breaded and fried beautifully, but there was no seasoning to it at all.

            It seems to me like a work in progress. I haven't given up on it yet, but I still haven't found the menu item that would make me rush back.

            1. v
              veggielover Nov 27, 2007 10:18 AM

              We had a similar experience about a month ago.

              1 Reply
              1. re: veggielover
                h
                hoplover Nov 27, 2007 12:43 PM

                I cannot stand it when places operate that way. To not have been given a sauce with your calamari is unacceptable especially that you asked for it. Fishy tasty fish means two things... not properly refrigerated or not fresh fish. From your review it sounds as though nothing was good. Service or the food. Thanks for the heads up. Cross that one off my list, thanks.

              2. trufflehound Nov 4, 2007 04:05 PM

                Where is it?

                1 Reply
                1. re: trufflehound
                  f
                  fmurtagh Nov 27, 2007 03:26 AM

                  It's behind Kennedy Carpets near D'Angelo's off Highland Ave towards the Newton line. Just off 128 as you head to Needham St. in Newton.
                  I am glad I read this review before going over.

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