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Who Serves the Best Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

I am in the mood for pasta Bolognese. Who do you think does a really delicious one. I do not like cheese on top of it just good old meat sauce made very well. Thanks for the help!

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  1. I really enjoy it at Bin 26 Enoteca and L'Andana.

    1. I've had many good ones in town in the past year. Prezza does one on gnocchi, fabulous. Pops does a spicy lamb version, outstanding. Lucca in the North End and sister Sasso in the Back Bay both do a terrific one. Other worthy versions at Via Matta and Da Vinci (on rigatoni). The Butcher Shop used to sell the No. 9 Park bolognese (not on the current No. 9 menu, sadly) frozen, but I haven't peeked in that case lately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I second both Prezza and Via Matta. I'd also like to add Pasta Market in Malden - it's one of my husband's favorite dishes.

      2. Gran Gusto in Cambridge and Pescatore in Somerville both have good versions of this dish, IMO.

        1 Reply
        1. Scampo, hands down. It's absolutely delicious, without a doubt the best I've ever had. There are so many other tempting things on the menu that when I was there, I completely overlooked this. Another person at our table ordered it, gave everyone tastes, and we were all blown away. It was rich and smoky and intense and flavorful --so good that we ended up ordering a dish for the table to share.

          I've also enjoyed Teatro's rendition, also really flavorful.

          I think both spots have pretty authentic versions, but Scampo gets the edge, imo.


          1. I've been happy with it at DBar and rumor has it that the No. 9 bolognese has found a new home at Sportello.

            7 Replies
            1. re: sailormouth

              No, the Sportello bolognese is not quite the same as the No. 9 bolognese. It is a little more tomato-y, I think.

              Also, the Butcher Shop "No. 9" bolognese, while VERY close to the No. 9 original, isn't quite the same either. It may be simply because it is prepackaged, or I think it is because No. 9 keeps a few secrets up its sleeve.

              1. re: Alcachofa

                This wouldn't be the first time I posted something possibly totally apocryphal, but I recall hearing that one of the secrets of No. 9's bolognese is the addition of some chicken liver (as well as pork, veal and lamb but not beef). I'm not confident enough in this to post it to the chicken liver thread, however.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  One of the reasons that I loved the bolognese at Stella was their inclusion of chicken liver - it adds a richness like nothing else.

                  IIRC the Davio's version has it as well, but I'm not as confident of this fact.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I can confirm that the addition of chicken liver is the secret to No 9's bolognese -- at least, that is what Barbara Lynch herself told me during a Stir class.

                    For what it is worth, I make my bolognese with a little liver and its addition is definitely the winning ingredient.

                    My recipe: http://food.rlove.org/2008/10/ragu-al...

                    1. re: rlove

                      Rabbit - and rabbit liver - are also classic. My problem is that rabbit liver is too delicious in its own right (the most delicious mammal liver, to my palate and many classic chefs, albeit virtually unknown to American cooks) to consign to a supporting role...

                      1. re: Karl S

                        Rabbit liver, eh? That's one to write down. How big is one: the size of a ping-pong ball? Smaller?

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          surprisingly large, actually, for such a creature.

                          To keep to topic: any ever encounter rabbit liver in ragus (or otherwise) in Boston?

              2. These are all excellent suggestions and I am looking forward to trying them. It's good to know that No.9 sells it frozen to keep in my freezer on the nights I do not have anything in the house. I also heard Scampo was fantastic. My friend ate there the week of Christmas and could not say enough good things about the food. She is a big Bolognese fan so I am sure that is what she probably ordered. Thanks everyone for your Bolognese ideas!

                1 Reply
                1. re: macadamianut

                  I love the version at Davio's - and the fact that you can order a half-portion. Also, it has been a while since my last visit but Stella had a delicious bolognese as well.

                  1. I second Via Matta and Pops. Stella also has a good one.

                    1. A friend rave's about Highland Kitchen's

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RoseWethersfield

                        Highland Kitchen's blognese is delicious! I think they use Capone pasta.

                      2. Dbar's is fantastic!!!!
                        Stella's is also good but I've it's a little inconsistent.

                        1. For what it's worth (and that ain't much), when we absolutely are compelled to go to Papa Razzi in Newton Lower Falls/Wellesley Farms, the bolognese is the only entre I will order. Am certain that almost any of the others listed here is better, but still....

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: terrycatch

                            I may get flamed for this, but I don't think that Papa Razzi is half bad. About 40 of us went to the one in Burlington a few weeks ago (yes, 40), and nearly everyone was pretty happy with the food there.

                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              Among the BBRG outlets, Papa Razzi might be my favorite (with the caveat that I've never been to the Coach Grill); it's reasonable and decent. I have a relative who managed a Papa Razzi: he says the secret to their pastas is "a stick of butter in every plate".

                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                You haven't missed much by not going to the Coach Grill. Last time I ate there I realized that this place was not for me. While I love steak houses and I hear Abe and Louis is fantastic, Coach Grill is just not that good or exciting. Old people food.

                                1. re: macadamianut

                                  I don't want to derail this thread, but the Coach Grill is definitely not "old people food", whatever that's supposed to mean. The Coach Grill is on par with Abe & Louie's, the Capital Grille, Ruth Chris, and Smith and Wollensky. It's much better than any of the chain steakhouses, and is a better quality meal than you will get at Papa Razzi, although it's an apples vs oranges comparison.

                                  It may not be for you, and you may or may not have hit it on a bad day, but the Coach Grill is a nice steak house option to have. Their 16oz bone-in NY Strip has always been excellent.

                                  1. re: steve999

                                    I totally disagree with you. The Coach grill is not even close to the quality in both service and food to Capital Grill. I have eaten there a few times and the last time was very underwhelming. They may try to have the same image as some of the better steak houses but I do not think they cut it. The old people comment just meant that it's the type of food you take your grandparents to eat after graduation.

                                    1. re: macadamianut

                                      Coach is OK, but their beef is a notch below their sister restaurant (Abe & Louies). I believe all the beef is choice.

                          2. Stellina's in Watertown Square.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Lucymax

                              Marco's is my favorite, better than both Lucca and Tresca IMO.

                              1. re: Lucymax

                                Well, it's many years ago, but I was appalled to find that Stellina's had not only used cinnamon instead of nutmeg in its ragu bolognese (Bologna is not Venice or Palermo...) but they wouldn't fess up to it, either, though it was painfully obvious. Hopefully it was a temporary mistake that they learned never to repeat...

                              2. I like the version at Sweet Basil in Needham.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kt1969

                                  I enthusiastically second this! I crave Sweet Basil's bolognese on a regular basis.

                                2. The best bolognese is at my house. But since I'm on a wife-mandated diet (blerg) I enjoy the version at La Morra in Brookline.

                                  1. Carmen in the North End by far

                                    1. I'm a big fan of the bolognese at Figs in Charlestown. A bit unconventional, but downright delicious.