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Scugnizzi in Arlington (formerly Buona Vita Restaurant)

Same location, same owners but completely new menu, fairly extensive, with everything from Salads to Apps, Pasta, Sandwiches and Neapolitan Pizzas everything very reasonable priced. Nice interior with good furniture. Armed with a Groupon I went for lunch today and had the Bolognese, here served with Fettuccine and sprinkled with some Parmesan. Didn't look to be a big portion but it was deceiving, couldn't finish. It was served with a couple of slices of warm bread. The pasta was REALLY al dente but the sauce was delicious! A bit tart from the tomatoes, meaty from pork and beef and there was some fresh basil mixed in just before serving. Water was nice and cold and you get a bottle left on the table and that's a touch that I really like.
Where does the funny name come from? It's an Italian term meaning 'street kids', it's used to describe Neapolitan kids.

450 Massachusetts Avenue Arlington MA


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  1. Thank you! I can't wait to try it.
    Did you "look" at the pizza by any chance?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pappabuona

      No I didn't and I was the only customer at lunchtime but the pizzas on the menu did look good.

      1. re: Ferrari328

        Very confusing. The pizzas on the menu looked good, but yet you didn't "look" at them?

    2. Was the pasta homemade?

      1 Reply
      1. re: CocoDan

        No I don't believe it was homemade unfortunately.

      2. Went back today to try something different and what's more Italian than Spaghetti and Meatballs? No idea but this was delicious! Spaghetti cooked perfectly al dente, the meatballs was rich and nicely seasoned and very very light and the tomato sauce was fresh and the whole thing was just perfect!
        Not so perfect was being charged for bread and the dipping oil! They asked if I wanted it and I guess it might be my fault for not asking if it was included or not. Didn't get charged at my previous visit. Good way to lose customers.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Ferrari328

          That's a horrible tactic. If bread costs money you need to tell the customer upfront or have it on the menu to be ordered.

          1. re: AaronInBoston

            Bread is usually factored, about fifty cents per person, into the entree price. Charging for it should be posted on the menu.

            1. re: AaronInBoston

              Just got back from NYC and some wonderful eats, including a stop at Il Buco Alimenteri & Vineria, which was very good, and where they charged $1.00 per person for bread. Didn't see a sign for it anywhere, but, as I wasn't looking, that's not a surprise.

              This charge-for-stuff-that-hasn't-been-charged-for-before thing has the feel of what the airlines went through a few years ago. I have this nasty suspicion that in a few years, there'll be a napkin charge for those that want a napkin and a chair charge for those who prefer sitting. Really doesn't feel right.

              And, no, I didn't talk to any one at the restaurant about it, but, regardless, a discussion of that that would more properly belong on a NYC board.

            2. re: Ferrari328

              Ugh, that makes me not want to go there at all. I don't think you're being naive for expecting bread to be gratis.

            3. Using Groupon already?? charging for Bread and not disclosing it to the Customer?? WOW...I'll stick with Olivio's..Thank You very Much.

              1. Tip of the cap to Ferrari328 for the rec. Had the chicken parm sub special ($5.95) for a quick lunch and wasn;t expecting much. Wow. Fresh chicken breast, breaded and fried to order, homemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella on a half baguette toasted in the oven. Easily 3 lunches worth and flavors melded perfectly. Dusting of chopped parsley on my china plate and a bottle of chilled water made for a fine repast. Their sandwiches are named for different provinces in Italy. Mine was Compania (I think). The Latio has braised ribs on it and I'm intrigued. I'll be back.

                1. Time to try the pizza for lunch. Good selection of "personal" pizzas and I'm not sure what I expected but I got a 14" pizza. This is the Pollo al Pesto, a white pizza with pesto, chicken and mozzarella. Really really thin crust and I really like the crust this way, super thin bottom and crunchy edges. Not sure what they done to the chicken but it was super tasty. Overall a really really good pizza.
                  They also now serve a slice of Sicilian pizza for $1.95 (table service) and a gentleman at another table raved about his after he was done. Good sized square thick pizza with a good amount of toppings.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Ferrari328

                    I tried the Siciilian slice on Saturday, which was a $1.75 special. Great price and filling but I found the slice itself disappointing. The crust was doughy and too thick with a very slight smattering of cheese. Pinocchios and Umbertos are much better. I loved my sandwich last week so I'll be back but your thin crust pizza sounds way better.

                    1. re: gourmaniac

                      Have you tried the Sicilian at Imperial in Brighton? It's a thicker slice than Umbertos, closer to Pinocchios, but I find the dough to be far superior to Pinocchios. Their regular pie is nothing to write home about, but the Sicilian is my favorite in town.

                      1. re: kimfair1

                        Imperial is in my old neighborhood but I never tried it. Will do so based on your rec. Thanks

                        1. re: gourmaniac

                          skip the regular pie, stick to two toppngs (im a garlic and sausage guy), ask for it well done and try to go during the day when the older piazziolo (with the glasses) is working.

                          you cant do better for under 15usd.

                  2. Decided to try a sandwich and choose the Lazio, braised ribs, mustard, crispy pancetta, pickles served on Italian Bread. The bread was good, looked like a baguette to me, the pancetta wasn't really crispy and I'm not sure if it was short ribs either! When asked about it I was assured it was short ribs. This was a humongous sandwich and it was overall very nice with the beef cooked well and a bit of tasty gravy added. Two meals for $6.95.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ferrari328

                      That was the one I was intrigued by. Thanks for the pic. It looks great.

                    2. ferrari, some more great reports; thx. There is a current groupon offered for this spot.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Thanks, just bought 4 of them. $5 for $10 is a good deal. http://www.dealgator.com/ is really neat.

                      2. Armed with a Groupon I went back today for some pizza and found that the sign outside had changed a bit. Now offering Build your own Slice $1.95 ($1.99?) and the sandwich of the day have changed to Guido's sandwich. I asked about the sandwich and the special is now anything under Guido's Favorites on the menu, they just make it into a sandwich instead of a meal. Not bad for $5.95. He said that he just selected a few from there anyway when people asked about the special so why not offer all four.
                        I had the Salsicce e Broccoli pizza, White with Mozzarella, Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe and some grated cheese and crushed hot peppers on the side.


                        1. I have had good experience with mu lunches until now. Went there again for some more Pizza and again armed with a Groupon. They are not doing to much business at lunch, a few customers that's all. I ordered the Ricottaro pizza, White with Provolone, Ricotta and Spicy Sausage. If I hadn't added extra bacon this would be a very sorry looking pizza! As it is, there is still just one small piece of sausage on each slice. To top it off, the crust had a funny consistency, almost like the oven wasn't hot enough. Previously the pizzas here have been good. I also had a waiter that hadn't passed waiter 101 yet. Overall, a very disappointing lunch but I guess you can't win them all.


                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Ferrari328

                            Thank you Ferrari.
                            I actually went recently for lunch and I used a Living Social voucher. The experience was horrible. I got the Pizza Margherita (because I always start from the basics) and the dough was pale and flat (like your picture). The rice they used for the arancini was over cooked and finally the sauteed calamari were served in a sort of broth with some green in it.... really disappointing!

                            1. re: Pappabuona

                              I ate there recently too and had one of the worst experiences imaginable. I found the pizza horrible and the arancini were terrifyingly awful (they don't even use risotto actually).

                              I can't imagine how anyone associated with Italy could have anything to do with this place.

                              Service was also thoroughly incompetent.

                              1. re: retrofabulousity

                                And I was sure I was the only one who would order arrancini and pizza in the same meal! I hesitated and still hesitate about dissing this place because we went at a very off hour (midweek, 4pm). Ordered eggplant parm, fried squid,arrancini and pizza. I wouldn't order any of them again, or return to try anything else. The pizza crust was thin and flat/lifeless/straight out of domino's. The B or C team left open the kitchen door and what was overheard def. added to the depressing experience. I know there are many who disagree and think that Arlington is Candyland for restaurants, but I continue to be disappointed with the pervasive mediocrity here.
                                (And my own town, Winchester, is waaaay worse.)

                              2. re: Pappabuona

                                I was also disappointed with the Pizza Margherita. The crust had a cardboard-y texture. My son had spaghetti with meatballs. The meatballs were good, but the sauce was not.

                                1. re: Edokko

                                  how about LIttle Q; they impressed me with some of the best chinese in the Boston area?

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    I love Little Q for their hot pot, but not the rest of the menu. Arlington lacks a great Chinese restaurant. I usually go over to Chilli Garden in Medford for first rate Sichuan when I get the craving. I've heard, though, that Jade Garden in the heights is turning into a place called Szechuan Dumpling, which sound promising.

                            2. Went back yesterday for lunch with another voucher. i got there at noon and they open at noon but both entrance doors were wide open and the temperature was the same inside as outside. I took off my jacket and sat down but decided that this would not work and told them it was way too cold and left. "We can close the doors" was the reply but it would take a good amount of time to get heat in there so no go. Might just have to let those last two vouchers expire.


                              1. We came here thanks to an eversave deal and really enjoyed the pizza. Great crispy crust, and great basil pesto sauce on the chicken pesto pizza. We also liked the nutella bread pudding dessert. Service was surprisingly great.

                                Not buying all the hate for this place....I can say the eggplant app left a lot to be desired. Za would still be my #1 choice to grab some pizza out in Arlington though, but we would come back with a groupon type deal again.

                                1. We went with a Groupon and had the Buongustaio pizza (mozzarella, mascarpone, cherry tomatoes, spinach -- we held the bacon) and a chicken saltimbocca with pasta alfredo. Neither was something I'd want again.

                                  The waiter seemed odd in general, and particularly when he offered the ground pepper, saying he always recommends some on the pizza, "just in the middle," and proceeded to generously pepper just the center couple of inches of the pie. 'Cause, you know, just what anyone would want -- one peppery bite followed by the rest of an un-peppered slice.

                                  The filling of the cannoli WAS exceptionally good, though. Not enough to bring me back in, though, even with another coupon.