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Best Ravioli

My mother-in-law lives in Wyoming, and when she gets to town, one of her favorite things to do it eat food she can't get in cattle country (basically anything that is not a good steak). On her last visit here, she kept talking about ravioli but we never got around to anything Italian, sticking to pho and fried clams and a bunch of other stuff. Anyhow, she is due back soon and I would love to take her out for ravioli.

What's the best? Fancy is fine, but something casual in the North End or a hidden gem like Vinny's Superette might be even more exciting. Who makes good homeade raviolis?

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  1. If you decide to buy and make at home, I love both Dave's Fresh Pasta (Davis Square) and Capones (Union Square.) They are different and yet I enjoy both. Dave's is all about the filling. Lots of filling to pasta ratio, while Capones is all about the pasta with just enough filling to satisfy. At the very least, buy a small six-pack cooler and send her home with raviolis.

    Enjoy the visit.

    1. A couple I've had and enjoyed lately:

      Foie gras ravioli with duck meatballs at Grotto (app, two of each)

      Truffled butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter, topped with a fried egg, at Pops (also an app, but not tiny)

      Lobster ravioli with salmon, tomatoes, and peas in lemon vodka sauce at Carlo's Cucina Italiana (maybe my second-favorite inexpensive Italian place)

      Trattoria Toscana always has a housemade ravioli on its menu. It's my favorite inexpensive Italian restaurant, though I haven't ordered the ravioli there lately. Last time out it was ribollita (the best rendition in town, I think), a new pasta whose name I forget that's kind of like an earlier menu's pasta del buongustaio (a fierce basil sauce and pancetta), and a great salumi plate. Can't get enough of that place.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Here are the two Grotto has on their current menu:

        Crab Ravioli, asparagus, almonds, and saffron.

        Sweet potato revioli, roasted chestnuts, pomegranates, sage, parmesan, and brown butter.

      2. I have to vote for the buy and take home version from Bella Ravioli in South Medford on Main Street. You can also get some great sauce (gravy) and meatballs there too... Get the large sized ones for the ravioli lovers delight! I usually only get teh cheese ones (my 1st love) but they also have many other versions... none of which will disappoint.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MeffaBabe

          Yes, I couldn't agree more about Bella Ravioli in South Medford. This is where the older generation of Italian and Irish folks who live around me go, and for good reason. Nothing like buying a box of them with their homemade sauce on the way back from work and making a nice meal at home...

          1. re: MeffaBabe

            Oh man, now I want some of their Rav's! When I lived in Medford, Bella's was a staple of ours! I loved the spinach and the cheese.

          2. From Northend Prezza's handmade pasta menu:
            -Ravioli Ripieni con L'Uovo - Oversized ravioli stuffed w/egg yolk & ricotta tossed w/brown butter & sage(a CH favorite).
            -Ricotta Ravioli, sausage, roasted tomato, toasted garlic, broccoli rabe & Parmigiano
            -Potato Raviolini w/pulled rabbit, thyme, butter & Parmigiano

            1. One of my favs is the Raviolini Aperto at Terramia in the North End. It's a single, giant, pseudo-open faced ravioli with scallops and shrimp in a lobster mascarpone cream.

              Here's a bad pic from their website:


              2 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3

                yes, i remember enjoying that seafood ravioli dish more than 10 years ago!
                glad to see that they still offer it!

                1. re: nasilemak

                  That and the lobster fritters (mmmm) are always on the menu.

                  The rest of it changes fairly regularly, depending on the season and the chef's latest trip to Italy.

              2. I made a special trip to Capones last weekend and I was very impressed. I almost never eat pasta, but I do like sweet potato ravioli. I made sweet potato and artichoke ravioli . . . the alfredo with shallots sauce is a sinful pleasure.
                I also like the the butternut squash tortelli at Teatro.

                1. For take home and cook ravioli I will add another vote for Bella Ravioli on Main Street in Medford. During the holidays there is a line of customers out the door onto the sidewalk waiting to get in. They also make many different type of homemade pastas.

                  Bella Ravioli
                  369 Main St, Medford, MA 02155

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: buffet king

                    I was working near Bella's today, and while walking by saw a guy sitting at a table eating a place of ravioli. He saw me looking and smiled, waving me in. Said everything was great.

                    We got to the counter, said we wanted some lunch and the woman told us they only sold food to take home and cook.

                    We left, disappointed, and went and ate at the Brazilian place a few doors down (Oasis, it was good) and while walking back to work saw another guy sitting at the same table, eating another plate of ravs.

                    Anyways, it seemed a little weird, and I'm wondering if anyone knows the deal on how you have to rate to eat there.

                    Also, everything did look good, and sometime when I do not already have dinner planned, I will give their stuff a try. Still looking for a good place to eat out with the Ma-in-Law, though.

                    1. re: andytee

                      Not sure about the guy eating except maybe it was one of the guys who work in the back? I have to say, I bought some rav. (cheese and cheese and spinach) and was VERY disappointed. Although the macaroni was very good, the filling was completely TASTELESS. Whenever a hound recommends something and I don't like it, I ask myself "is it me???" but even my kids were saying "yuck mom!" at dinner tonight. I admit, I LOVED Salvatores raviolis in Revere and haven't found anything comparable since they closed shop. Nearest I've found is J. Pace in Wakefield/Saugus. More on the brazilian place please...

                      1. re: 4chowpups

                        Oasis (the Brazilian place) has reviews on Chowhound and I don't want to hijack the thread (even though I started it). Short story, it was good, meat was a little dry as noted by other reviewers, but lots of choices and a good lunch. I had black beans and rice, collards, and some beef and chicken.

                        Re: The guys eating - The first was a local cop in uniform. The second, a different guy, might have been from the back but was not someone I saw when I stopped in, and just looked like he was there for lunch. He was wearing street clothes, not what you would wear in a kitchen.

                        1. re: 4chowpups

                          Salvatores in Revere closed? It's been a while since I've been there but they were the best. Their stuffed shells were good too,

                          1. re: catsmeow

                            Sorry. I was thing about Sabellas...near the circle.

                            1. re: catsmeow

                              Oh, yes. They closed close to two years ago. Very disappointed as their cakes were so good. It is empty now.
                              I think the parking problem was an issue.

                          2. re: andytee

                            Bella Ravioli makes the best fresh pasta I've ever had. We've been going there for years. The people you see eating there are family members. The cute mother owns the place, (her husband passed away, nice pics of him on the wall), and the son & daughter work there and their spouses and children are always coming and going and sitting down to eat. I called them one day to see what time they closed and the cute lady said she would wait and stay open and wait for me (so nice!). When I got there, her, the daughter & husband & granddaughter and the son & his wife were all done working for the day and sitting down to a bowl of pasta. The mother asked me if I'd like some pasta, which I gladly accepted!!! Her sauce was out of this world and I was so appreciative to be treated like family and invited to eat with them. But, that's the first time I've ever eaten there - always take my food and cook at home. I suspect the people you see eating there are her family. Definitely worth the trip!!!

                            Bella Ravioli
                            369 Main St, Medford, MA 02155

                        2. Thanks guys - I am more looking for restaurant ravioli than take-home stuff like Daves, Capones, and Bellas. And more interested in traditional Italian than otherwise.

                          Thanks for your help. Trattoria Toscana sounds fine, does anyone have more opinions about that place or others like it? What about Rino's in Eastie? Do they do ravioli?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: andytee

                            Pescatore Seafood in Ball Square Somerville makes excellent homemade raviolis in multiple varieties. So far I've only had the butternut squash with marsala sauce but they were wonderful.


                            158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                            1. re: BJK

                              Just noticed those guys the other day - they need some signage!

                              Will have to check them out, though honestly I am more interested in the seafood.

                            2. re: andytee

                              Rino's makes excellent traditional ravioli's with their own fresh pasta. Actually, I believe they make the raviolis to order. The last time I went to Rino's they also had lobster raviolis as a special. My friend ordered them and they were the most amazing lobster raviolis I've ever seen. Not raviolis with a vaguely pink substance in the middle. These were actually stuffed with big chunks of lobster meat. He let me have one off of his plate and it was just delicious.

                              1. re: marilora

                                This is good to know. I've been afraid of Rino's, expecting a completely generic Italian-American of the bad North End school. Plus, it's not far from from Angela's Cafe, not helping my urge to try it. What else do Hounds have to say about this place? It has to be one of the older Italians in Eastie, along with Jevelli's (another place that I'm kind of afraid of wasting a dinner on).

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  MC, I'm thinking that you would like Rino's a lot more than you would like Jeveli's.

                                  These are very different places, as Jeveli's is pretty much an old-school Italian-American place with big pieces of bread and hard butter the minute you sit down, iceberg lettuce salads that have lots of croutons, and basic entrees such as fettucine alfredo and eggplant parm. And, of course, the waitresses love to call you honey and sweetie. I used to go to Jeveli's a lot when I was growing up, but haven't been there in awhile. I recall it being good for what it was, but perhaps not the type of place you would want to try.

                                  Rino's has some of the best Italian food in the Boston area, in my opinion. There is so much that is good about this place--the smell of the sauce cooking in the back, the fresh pasta, the friendly people, the Brooklyn-like location (on a street corner in a residential neighborhood with lots of stoops everywhere), and the decent prices all make for a very nice experience.

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    I thought Rino's was good, not great, the entrees are old school and the prices are reasonable and they a medicore wine list. The one dis I have is that the salads are tiny, I mean in a saucer type tiny. It's is a small quaint place with friendly service but, if you want to hang at the table for a while the waitstaff gets a bit nervous. Being fair, I would go back but not rush back to Rino's.

                              2. While I have not yet (sadly) had it myself, Prezza's (North End) handmade Ravioli Ripieni con L'Uovo -gets raves here.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Food4Thought

                                  I'll take daves fresh over capones anyday.

                                2. Sadly it only appears it was a seasonal item, but a few months back I had the best ravioli at Pigalle. Butternut squash ravioli, in a brown butter and fried sage sauce, with shredded duck confit for good measure. Every bite was sinful. Keep an eye on the menu and see if it comes back in time or call them to see if they plan to offer it again.


                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                                    Delfino,s lobster ravioli,s are the best i've had.

                                    1. re: bostonron

                                      If we're talking about the same thing, I remember that dish at Delfino: a very free-form, loose, malfatti kind of thing, with lobster, shrimp, and scallops in a very creamy sauce.

                                      I have to say it tasted fine but looked a mess: way too big and sloppy to be called a ravioli, too airy and unstructured to be lasagna, and a bit oversauced for my taste. I pretty much adored everything else we had in my last couple of meals there, though.

                                    2. re: InmanSQ Girl

                                      funny, this (squash ravioli with sage, brown butter, confit) almost exactly describes what my partner had at taranta last night. its good! if you are missing pigalles, try taranta and see if they still have it on the menu.

                                    3. again, all these lobster and sweet potato, etc, raviolis sound good to me, but i think the mom-in-law is looking for some old-school godfather style red sauce version.

                                      1. As much as I love the North End and I'm there most every weekend, I just never order raviolis there. For raviolis, the good old fashioned red sauce version, I go to Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale. The Pleasant Cafe isn't much to look at; I don't think they've updated the place since the 50s, but there's something comfortable and familiar about the place. Generally, I order the veal parm with the raviolis on the side. They also make a decent thin crusted pizza. It's a great place to sit back enjoy good food and good company.

                                        1. The best ravioli and meatballs i would recommend just outside Boston in South Medford--BOCELLI'S Italian rest.
                                          on main st. They are awsome!! see nick the owner and tell him Frankie sent you!!

                                          Enjoy these fine ravioli's!!
                                          Frankie Imbergamo

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                                            I agree that Bocelli's is good red-sauce homemade italian, and may be what the OP is looking for. Trattoria Toscana also has a Ravioli Rose on their menu, and does great tuscan.

                                          2. anybody know what happened to the guy who used to make ravioli ust outside of oak square in brighton?

                                            1. I love the raviolis at Cafe Nicola in Arlington Heights. Thin pasta stuffed very full of tasty filling. This place is 99% take-out but very good for a neighborhood pizza joint.

                                              PS: Probably not worth the trip for an out-of-town visitor, as the place has all the ambience of a gas station, but I thought I'd throw that out there for ravioli fans in general.