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Italian in Boston or Cambridge

We'll be in Boston for the Columbus Day weekend. I'd love a recommendation of Italian restaurants in the area. When I say Italian, I'm looking for more authentic, regional food as opposed to Italian-American fare. I've done a few searches on this board, but I can't seem to come up with a good thread. I've seen Erbaluce mentioned a few times and someone on another thread I started highly recommends it. I'd like to have a couple of more choices before I make a decision. Any price range is fine, as long as the food is worth it. Thanks.

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  1. Add Gran Gusto to your list.

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    Gran Gusto
    90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

    2 Replies
    1. re: emannths

      Thanks emannths. Their menu looks great.

      1. re: emannths

        I just had a disappointing experience at Gran Gusto. I invited friends to join me and my wife to dinner. The food was very good, but the service was horrible. At first, we were seated under a dripping air conditioner and asked to be moved. We were then reseated and served our meal in a relatively timely manner. My dinner was the seafood stew which was quite tasty, but had a small portion of seafood (one scallop, one shrimp, six baby mussel shells (two of which were empty), two baby calamari, and a piece of fish) for the $27 price. We were not approached by our waiter after that. Once the meal was over, we were totally ignored. We might have considered coffee and dessert, but we sat for over a half hour after our entree dishes were cleared, and nobody came to our table. I finally waved down another waiter to request our check. Again, I was somewhat pleased with the food quality, but very disappointed with the service.

      2. For authentic Tuscan near Fenway Park & Kenmore Sq: Trattoria Toscana: http://boston.menupages.com/restauran...

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        Trattoria Toscana
        130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

        Fenway Park
        82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

        4 Replies
        1. re: Taralli

          The menu selections look very authentic Taralli; thanks for the suggestion. They don't take reservations, which can be a negative given that we'll only be in the area for three nights. We'll keep it in mind though.

          1. re: ttoommyy

            The no reservation policy is an asset. Go early (before 6) if you don't want to wait. TT is not to be missed if you truly enjoy authenticity in both the food and service. You will have no difficulty getting in on a weekday, maybe a short wait at the busiest times.

            1. re: Highland Park

              We're really not fans of dining early, so 6 is not a reality. The only weekday we'll be in Boston for dinner is Friday. What would the wait be on a Friday around 8 pm or so?

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Hard to say, Columbus Day weekend may not be that busy since 3/4's of the state will be looking at leaves in NH and VT. You could call them and ask on that day. They tend to cater more to smaller parties since it is a tiny place and only has about 12 tables so if its only 2 of you it might be easy, 4 a little more difficult. I would guess you're looking at about 30-60 minutes after 7:00PM. They tend to try to move tables more quickly on Fri. and Sat. nights though. Maybe try late (after 9:00) then. Either way, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

        2. erbaluce. other highly regarded spots that have mixed CH reviews: #9 Park, Rialto, mamma maria, bin 26 enoteca, sorellina;gran gusto for eggplant parm.Trattoria toscano has huge CH following; i haven't been.

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          Bin 26 Enoteca
          26 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

          #9 Park
          Boston, Boston, MA

          4 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Thanks opinionatedchef. #9 Park and Bin 26 Enoteca both look great and what we are looking for. If you could only go to one, which would you pick?

            1. re: ttoommyy

              I don't know about #9 Park. Great restaurant, but it's more like a three star michelin modern tasting menu type of a joint than authentic regional Italian, no? By all means, go...I think it's great...but it might not be what you're looking for if you want something more down to earth.

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              #9 Park
              Boston, Boston, MA

              1. re: tamerlanenj

                why cannot an italian restaurant get 3 stars; that said, #9 Park is not that restaurant. 11 Madison in NYC gets a star, and that restaurant is in a different league from #9 Park.

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                #9 Park
                Boston, Boston, MA

            2. re: opinionatedchef

              Its Toscana not Toscano. May not seem like a big difference, but there is a restaurant called Toscano on Charles Street in Boston, and they are worlds apart IMO. We don't want the OP to confuse the two.

            3. Also check out Taranta for an interesting twist on Italian .. with Peruvian flair. It also gets mixed reviews but I think the lamb ragu gnocchi is one of the best dishes in town, still, after all these years.

              http://www.tarantarist.com/v5/dinner....

              1. You also might like to take a look at Prezza in the Northend, one of our favs: http://prezza.com/

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                Prezza
                24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                3 Replies
                1. re: Taralli

                  ditto Prezza, also Scampo and Sorellina

                  1. re: barleywino

                    Prezza for more formal Italian dining, what about Via Matta? Vinoteca di Monica is good for pasta.

                  2. re: Taralli

                    Prezza looks wonderful. Thanks Taralli.

                    So many good places to choose from. Thanks to all.

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                    Prezza
                    24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                  3. Toscana may be closed for vacation; you could also consider Rialto where i particularly like the meals that center on a particular province of Italy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      Toscana is open Columbus Day weekend.

                    2. Consider Marco for Roman cuisine in the North End. Definitely the best Italian I've had in the NE, a small place with a relaxed but sophisticated vibe and a nice upstairs space about the tourist hubbub. I liked it as much as Erbaluce, though it doesn't get a ton of attention on these boards for whatever reason. I had a nice cavatelli with fava beans, pea shoots, and sausage (I think).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hckybg

                        I really enjoyed my meal there too. Mine was something like 5 years ago though--good to know that it's still good. It definitely strikes me as taking a very Italian approach--relatively simple preparations that let a few defining flavors show through. In that sense, the approach is similar to Gran Gusto. For whatever reason, Marco feels like the place to go in the winter, and GG the place to go in the summer.

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                        Gran Gusto
                        90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                      2. If you're considering superlux prices in the No. 9 Park category, I would also consider Sorrellina. Again, modern creative fine dining Italian, not regional authentic, but the wagyu meatballs are to die for.

                        The North End is fun for atmosphere, but I tend to find most of the restaurants overpriced and nothing special. Prezza is your best bet if you do go there, I think. Lucca, a similarly regarded place, has always been a horrendous disappointment.

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                        Prezza
                        24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                        Lucca Restaurant
                        226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

                        1. I made a reservation for Prezza for Saturday night. I scoured the web sites of most places suggested and while they all had their merits, Prezza seems to have the right combination of philosophy, ambiance and menu that we are looking for. We still have Friday night and Sunday night open, so we may do Italian again (in which case I have so many great recs to choose from ) or maybe not. We're thinking of just winging the other two nights. We are staying at the Four Seasons, so one night might just be dinner at the bar there.

                          Thanks to all who wrote. Your suggestions are spot on. And I have to say you seem like a much more civliized group than the NY CHers I'm used to dealing with...myself included. lol :)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            Prezza is a safe bet. One word of caution, the appetizers can be huge. This is especially true of the squid - it easily serves 2-3.

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                            Prezza
                            24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                            1. re: Highland Park

                              Thanks HP. I'll definitely keep that in mind.

                            2. re: ttoommyy

                              "We are extremely civilized," he said, while drinking tea with his pinky in the air.

                            3. A bit dated, but... ttoommyy, how did you like your meal at Prezza's if you can recall?

                              I am going through the same decision making process now.

                              Thanks