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alta strada or scampo? first time visiting boston

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hello boston CHers ~ my husband and i will be in boston for two nights, a monday and a tuesday. we are eating at toro monday night, but would like to find a great italian resto for tuesday night. based on food + wine's boston list, and the recs on this board i have narrowed it down to alta strada or scampo. although i am always hesitant to to choose a hotel restaurant, scampo looks a little more our speed (touch more casual, hip).

any input one way or the other? not looking for romantic, just great food and great vibe. thanks!

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  1. Both very good but if I had to pick one it would be scampo. Alta Strada is in Wellesley which is more neighborhoodish. Scampo is so much fun! Great food and bar scene. The people watching is half the fun. Food is so good.

    1. Scampo for sure. No comparison. Alta strada is not worth the trip. Not even close.

      1. although located in a hotel, scampo is by no means a "hotel restaurant". the chef/owner, lydia shire, was instrumental in changing boston's food culture in the late 80s and 90s. she is creative and her food is terrific.

        alta strada is in the suburbs and kinda meh, imho.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          If you are staying in Boston, it's a no--brainer, Scampo. Alta Strada is out in the suburbs. Another Italian restaurant that might fit your criteria is is Prezza. An added bonus is it's in the North End (Boston's Italian section) which is a lively interesting area. After dinner you can walk over to the Cafe Vittoria for coffee, cordial, and desert and soak up the old world atmoshpere.

        2. Scampo, for sure! *So* not a hotel restaurant (in the traditional sense) and it's a great scene. The food is inventive and delicious and the service is super. Wine/drink list excellent.

          Wellesley is super out-of-the-way and (although I've not been) Alta Strada is not known for being good at all - definitely not a destination spot for people around here.

          I agree that Prezza could be a nice choice, and then you could get pastry at Modern, walk around and enjoy the North End scene, etc. It will be crowded on a Saturday night, so be forewarned.

          Have a great time, whatever you choose!


          1. I'm a huge fan of Scampo. As others have said, not a "hotel" restaurant, and sounds like what you are looking for.
            If you are only in Boston for 2 nights, I wouldn't bother trekking out to Wellesley for Alta Strada.

            1. I'm going to be the dissenter here. I'm not a huge fan of Scampo. I do like the atmosphere though I'm not sure how lively it is on a Monday or Tuesday. I've been many times but it's always been a Friday. Personally I just find the food OK. I've never been to Alta Strada but that's because I don't get out to the suburbs very often. I totally agree with the recommendations for Prezza. It's one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Boston. They have a great bar area which is where I usually sit to eat unless I'm with a bigger crowd but it's fab for a pre or post dinner drink. Also unlike many North End restaurants, they take reservations.

              And p.s. Toro is delicious! I also heard that Andy who is a fantastic bartender that I know from when he worked at Eastern Standard (and then Green Street) is now there so I would imagine definitely check out their cocktail list.

              1. I wouldn't suggest going out to Wellesley. At the same time, I'd consider Via Matta. It is incredibly authentic food (just like the food I had when I was in Florence and Bologna) and a great atmosphere. I'd also consider dante, too.

                1. thank you for the great feedback! much appreciated and i think we will stick with scampo, although prezza does look tempting. will report back after our trip!