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Il Casale vs. Dante

If you had to choose one, which one and why. Issues of parking or location are irrelevant. Thanks.

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  1. I assume that you are aware they are run by the same family?

    1 Reply
    1. re: newhound

      Yes. that is why I was asking. What is the difference and is one better at something or other than the other.

    2. I was hoping someone would respond to this, as I have often wondered the same thing (I have been to, and enjoyed, Il Casale, but have never been to Dante). The menus seem rather similar. For me, it has, in fact, always come down to location. I live closer to Il Casale, so I've never chosen to go to Dante instead -- but perhaps I'm missing something?

      1. Quick question about Il Casale: is there a bar nearby to grab a pre-dinner cocktail at or is the bar in the restaurant the only game in town?

        2 Replies
        1. re: gini

          Belmont is only VERY recently no longer a dry town so bars are rather lacking.

          Conley's and Donohue's are two pretty good townie bars in Watertown but both are a good 5 minute drive.

          Il Casale's bar is pretty good in it's own right.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            Thanks Striper. I'm thinking maybe the bar at Casale is the best bet considering the four course evening ahead of us.

        2. I was unimpressed by Dante. Had a variety of appetizers, and a small pasta - didn't have any of the main entrees though. Nothing stood out as being very special to me, and based on that, I guess I'd recommend Il Casale (though i've never been)

          Also, I think one of the things people like about Dante is the outdoor seating over the water.....in the winter, this isn't an option, so it's one more reason not to go there.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Dave MP

            Il Casale is in a great space. The food is decent but not earth shattering.

            That said, for Belmont (again formerly a dry town) with almost no high end dining, Il Casale is practically La Tour D'Argent.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Ate at Il Casale last night was not very impressed. Although I will give it another try. There is a lot on the menu. Service as great. Restaurant was very loud by as early as 7pm. Great octupus app. Mediocre calamari and special salad. Bread was cold at center, as if not quite defrosted.
              Cocktail I ordered was eh. But as I said I will give it another try.

              -----
              il Casale
              50 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478

            2. re: Dave MP

              we felt the same about dante the few times we went. have heard great things about il casale but now that stripey has weighed in, i will go in w/ lower expectations when we finally make it.
              penguin, if you go, please do report!

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                this thread was recently llinked for a 5/12 thread where someone is inquiring about Dante's for a dinner with their mom. We have now eaten at Il Casale three times and have really enjoyed it. The arancini are the best I've had in Boston, partly because they don't cook their risotto in water, but in broth with some tomato.I may have had better luck w/ apps than entrees but the food has always been very good to really good. We much prefer sitting in the wall of banquettes . This place can be wicked loud, but dining early can help with that. Service professional and helpful.

            3. I would have to say Il Casale...both time I've eaten at Dante I've had some not-so-great service, and it can definitely feel like a hotel restaurant. i love eating at the bar at il casale!

              1. Il Casale is great! I don't enjoy pasta all that much but Il Casale sets the standard for me. They make all the past for both establishments via a $70k machine they imported from Italy and it can do no wrong. That being said Il Casale IS NOT the place to get calamari and Caesar salad and other Northend style "Italian" grub. The same thing goes for the amazing bar program with a small selection of great craft beers and a truly inspiring cocktail menu with barrel aged cocktails, boutique vermouths and amaros... again don't expect sweeter, cucumber infused foo-foo palate cleansers/destroyers. Go big!

                I like Dante for it's food and patio but inside it seems stale and the bar program is horrible when compared to Il Casale. If you enjoy more modern ambiance and sweet drinks with the hotel/young professional crowd then Dante is the place to go.