Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >
Mar 29, 2010 08:24 AM

Good Italian on the Cape?

Went to the Cape for a little weekend getaway this past weekend, and didn't really plan for dinner. Husband and I wanted Italian, so off we went to Alberto's in Hyannis. After looking at the menu (and our kids) decided it wasn't really the place for us. Saw The Roadhouse in Hyannis, the Valet parking was a deterent for our party.
Desperate for pasta & red sauce, went to Tomatoes in Sandwich (which IMHO is not that great.) An hour wait. Ended up at Bobby Byrne's, not exactly the great dinner I was looking for.

So where IS any good Italian? Is Alberto's worth the price? What is in the old Abici's spot in Yarmouthport (I think.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For Italian, we like Soprano's in Mashpee, which has a high-end atmosphere (and somewhat high prices), but all of the portions are big enough to share, which makes it more reasonable. Great service, and they take reservations.

    1. You passed on the two best IMO, Tomatoes is the best and Alberto's is a close second. What is it that you find lacking at Tomatoes? The food is consistantly excellent. Prices are reasonable for what is received. It can be a bit loud at times, however. If you're looking for cheap, I guess there's Olive Garden or the new place with the same owners as The Yarmouth House, called Di Parma, but I certainly wouldn't rec either.

      Bobby Byrne's huh? Yuck.

      Lyric is in the old Abbicci spot. Non-Italian, but reports have been favorable albeit expensive.

      8 Replies
      1. re: CapeCodGuy

        Tomatoes (last time I went) was just ok. (Though the first couple of times I though it was great.) Honestly, could get the same food I had the last time in my local dive for half the price. This time it was only that there was a 1 hour wait, like I said, no planning on our part!
        I'm glad to hear Alberto's is good, as we are coming back in a couple of weeks & wanted to try it (without the kids.)
        Olive Garden- yuck, same with Bobby Byrne's, I'd rather just cook myself.
        I've heard similar reports about Di Parma from others, too.

        I was looking for CapeCod Guy input, as your recs have not steered me wrong yet!

        1. re: dennisl

          What about Soprano's in Mashpee? Is this the piano bar chain?

          1. re: dennisl

            Never been, but no, it's not a chain.

            Here's a thread which has LOTS of discussion on Cape Cod Italian. Ciao!


            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              CapeCodGuy, you should give Soprano's a try. If you like Tomatoes, I think you'd like it.

              1. re: winedude

                I will winedude, although I don't usually head that way when dining out, but really, it's no father for me than say, Brewster.

                The place I'm eager to try is Osteria la Civetta in Falmouth Center. I've been told it's true Italian food, not Italian American like all the others on Cape. The menu certainly read like those I've seen in Roma or Firenza.

                Anyone been?


                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  To resurrect this old thread, we visited Osteria La Civetta in Falmouth tonight. It's unlike any place I've been on the Cape, and is the type of place you'll love if (a) you don't mind a kind of "quiet" atmosphere and (b) you fondly recall places in Roma, Firenze, or Bologna (where the owners and chef are from, I'm told). The atmosphere was a bit lacking (we weren't in the main room, which didn't help), but our food was delicious. My DC had the lasagne bolognese, made with hand-made green layers of pasta, with a delicious beef ragu and bechamel. Like a true Italian restaurant, it was a relatively small portion, and cost $18, but was the closest I've had to Italy in America. I had the swordfish, with "herb soaked bread", which turned out to be pesto-drenched rounds on top of a beautiful (but again, fairly small) piece of swordfish. ($24). I'd think that if you were a big eater, you'd need both a pasta and a main course, which could run the price up, but our meal was extremely authentic, and very, very good.

                  Osteria La Civetta
                  133 Main St, Falmouth, MA 02540

        2. re: CapeCodGuy

          Is this the Tomatoe's you are talking about?:

          I must admit that I always thought your "tomatoe's" reference was the Sweet Tomatoe's restaurants. I didn't realized this Tomatoes Italian Grille & Bar existed. I'm glad I reread your post on the link imbeded below in which you distinguished between the two.
          Looks like a good wine list too with markups that aren't obscene. (Markups below 2x RETAIL are unfortunately hard to find these days. I spoted a few bottles on this list that were more than 2X retail, but I also spotted others that were right around the 2x mark).
          I'm heading up in April and I might give this a try if I can get the grandparents to babysit!

          Tomatoes Italian Grille and Bar
          280C Route 130, Sandwich, MA 02563

          Sweet Tomatoes
          421 E Falmouth Hwy, East Falmouth, MA 02536

          1. re: foleyd7

            Yes foleyd1, Sweet Tomatoes is just a pizza joint. There are at least 4 of them on the Cape (different owners so different menues and quality) Good super-thin crust pizza, but it doesn't travel as it cools off so quickly.

            Tomatoe's in Sandwich is what I've been describing. Your link is correct. Try it. We think for Italian American food it's reliably excellent. The only knock is it's busy, so the room can get loud, and sometimes the service is a tad spotty. We've never been unhappy however.

        3. I have been to Norabella, Girardi's was fantastic when they were in the original small time spot and even after they initially moved. For the Wine fan, NB provides a great variety and enough to drink of it to enjoy. I think that NB is worth a go for the price, quality of dining, service, intimacy, and definitely the food. If you want a great pizza type establishment, go to Uno's or Toly's.......

          7 Replies
          1. re: Ken Ward

            phelana really likes Girardi's. Are you out there phelana??

            1. re: ciclista

              I have a fan of Girardi's since Diego and Sasha opened near Trotting Park their original location. I also enjoyed Norabella. Both both a little different.

              1. re: phelana

                I'm looking to get to Norabella for the first time this year as it seems to be more up my alley (more classic, regional ingredients and not heavy red sauce focused). The thread below has their website which shows the menu:

                Based on the original posters request, Girardi's may well be better for them (ie: red sauce). I haven't been able to find a Girardi's website online, but it's your traditional American-Italian restaurant.

                  1. re: foleyd7

                    Haven't tried Norbella, but I do know that the chef came from Il Maestro in Hyannis, not my favorite.

                    I did finally try Osteria La Civetta on Main Street in Falmouth recently for lunch. If you are looking for REAL Italian, this is the place! Granted, my sampling was small as I was alone, and had a simple gnocchi dish, but I swear it felt like I was in Florence. Simple fresh ingredients, hand maded gnocchi, fresh basil, garlic, tomatoes and wine. It's not cheap, at $15 and the portion, although reasonable, was more typical to Italy than the USA. I do highly recommend it and am looking forward to trying it for dinner to get a broader sampling. Even the room feels Italian, and not in the faux way so many others offer.


                    Osteria La Civetta
                    133 Main St, Falmouth, MA 02540

                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                      Nice looking menu!
                      The lasagne bolognese served with spinach noodles and bechemel is classic. The wild boar ragu sounds interesting too.
                      And all the main courses (Secondi) are served with roasted potatoes and/or vegetables (not a huge mound of pasta on the side).
                      This is the type of menu I've been seeking on the Cape. I've got to figure out a way to work this into my next visit.

                      1. re: foleyd7

                        I'm still missing the old LaCippolina - Shows you how ancient I am! No mentions of Rosina's in Orleans?? Perhaps not 100% authentic Italian, but IMHO, good food at reasonable prices. And the staff, at least last time I was there, is charming. The lovely young lady serving your martini may be a third year medical student from Romania!