La Campania Waltham - Great 1st experience
Tried La Campania this weekend for the first time and had a thoroughly enjoyable meal. The place does not look much from the outside, but reminded me of somewhere you would actually eat in Italy (albeit a bit larger) on the inside. We were seated in the small nook next to the kitchen which I assume they use as a chefs table. it was great as we could watch the kitchen through the window (which can open and close), but had a quiet and intimate setting.
Two of us shared several appetizers and pasta dishes (all of which are available in half sizes) rather than ordering entrees. A quick rundown of the dishes:
Heirloom tomato salad: Probably the best dish I have had with fresh local tomatoes this year. Served with fresh mozzarella and dressed with a light red wine vinaigrette (good choice over balsamic here). Simply prepared, but a standout dish which I would go back for very soon.
Artichokes: Served three ways and topped with a green salad. A very nice, light salad that complimented the tomatoes well.
Fresh figs: This was a special for the evening and was also a highlight. Stuffed with just the right amount of gorgonzola, this was one of the best whole fig dishes dishes I have ever tried.
Spicy shrimp: Good, but not as memorable as the other dishes. The shrimp were cooked well (i.e. not overcooked).
Pasta with shaved black truffles: Also a special that evening. Not sure these were real truffles at the price paid, but delicious none the less. Wish we got more than a half order of this one.
Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe: A tasty combo, but not on the level with the special pasta.
We drank cocktails which were well made, generously poured and promptly refilled, but the wine list looked to be quite comprehensive in terms of Italian offerings. The service wasn't overly polished, but friendly and prompt enough. We'll be back, hopefully while the tomatoes are still in season.
504 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452
I haven't been back to Campania in 3 years as the last three visits I made there included rude, incompetent service with food that was pretty good but not great and certainly not worth being asked to leave my table because some TV personality came in the door and decided he wanted our table.
I can understand how sometimes restaurants can mess up once or twice...but three times in a row is a life sentence of No Way I Shall Return.
Wow, I just went last weekend after not having been for a while and it was great. I had the figs which were a special that night and they were wonderful. Never seend them served quite thatt way. Also had the veal saltinboca wich was very good if ever so slightly overcooked. DC had the heirloom tomatoes and they were great, just as you pointed out. Also had the striped bass which was very fresh but maybe a little uninteresting. service was really great. We had a pretty nice bottle of wine, decanted and served just right and the manager cameover to discuss it because it was a somewhat unusual selection (Sagrantino) We sat in the back near the wine room which would be a great place for a group dinner. A nice suburban experience all in all.
I'm wondering how La Campania compares to restaurants in Boston and Cambridge? I live in Waltham and have heard good things about it, but my experience with fine(r) dining in the suburbs is that it tends to be good "for the suburbs" -- in other words it would be more worth my money to drive 15 minutes into the city. Can either of you (or others) comment on this?
504 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452
We drove OUT of the city to go there, so take that for what it is worth.
Is it on par with our in town favorites (Trattoria Toscana, Via Matta, Rialto)? Probably not quite, however on this night the food was thoroughly enjoyable and a welcome change from our in town haunts. We will be back for a second try.
I have to echo Gabatta's comments. I live in the North End and there are many fine reaturants that get much deserved attention on this Board. But campania is really nice take - very well designed space and lots of thought put in to the food and they have a terrific wine list - although not inexpensive. I like Via Matta a lot but Campania is up there with it and it is a much quiter space (although not that quiet when it is full)
79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116