Boston's best Italian restaurants

For perfect pasta, authentic trattoria classics and upscale regional fare, consult our guide to best Italian restaurants in the city

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Your insiders' guide to Boston's best Italian restaurants

Your insiders' guide to Boston's best Italian restaurants Photograph: David Loftus


Many diners seeking spaghetti, pizza or veal scaloppine will simply head for the North End, Boston’s “Little Italy.” But some of the best Boston restaurants happen to have culinary roots in the boot. There are excellent Italian restaurants all over the city, from refined Beacon Hill to evolving Fort Point.

RECOMMENDED: See the best Boston restaurants by cuisine

No. 9 Park

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Although the word "timeless" is much bandied about by No.9's admirers, Barbara Lynch's flagship can also (despite its head-on view of Boston Common) seem oddly placeless, thanks to its sleekly cosmopolitan air. The former mansion's good looks demonstrate how "smooth" and "sharp" can be synonyms; the service—from the remarkable bartenders to the splendid sommelier, Cat Silirie—hits the heights of professionalism. And the French/Italian-based cuisine? Rarely less than luscious, for all its elegance—especially the finely wrought pastas.

  1. 9 Park Street, (at Beacon Street)
Book online

Grotto

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Sink below street level in Beacon Hill for a cozy and decadent Italian meal surrounded by exposed brick, shelves of wine and locally sourced artwork. Tables are crowded close (but not too close) and lights are turned down low, and the menu is classic Italian with a creative twist. For a place that just begs to be at the top of your date night destination list, a three-course prix fixe menu of sizeable portions (available seven days a week) is almost too good to be true. Ask the friendly, knowledgeable staff for suggested wine pairings.

  1. 37 Bowdoin Street, (between Beacon & Cambridge Streets)
Book online

Bricco

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

With name chefs blowing in and out of its kitchen, this dark, suave neighbourhood pioneer of alta cucina has hit its share of rough patches over the years. But its capacity for comebacks is astounding. Give it a go when you're feeling flush—chances are you'll score some marvelously silky pasta (the meatball-studded timpano is a wonder), rounded out by intriguing seasonal contorni-like foie gras-laced butternut squash or potatoes mashed with pink grapefruit. Meanwhile, the allure of the obscure tints the all-Italian wine list.

  1. 241 Hanover Street, (at Richmond Street)
Book online

Pomodoro

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

While it can be difficult to find a bad Italian meal in the North End, Pomodoro still shines as a beacon of freshness and flavor. It’s well worth the wait for a spot in the tiny dining room, and not just for the free tiramisu that always pops up around dessert time. Favorite entrees include Italian classics like the seafood fra diavolo, chicken carbonara and veal scallopini—all cooked to perfection and served with friendly flair.

  1. 319 Hanover Street, (at Prince Street)
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Sportello

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Tucked away in Fort Point, Chef Barbara Lynch's sleek iteration of the classic diner offers up supremely tasty trattoria-inspired Italian cuisine. Sit at the large communal counter that showcases the action in the kitchen, or grab a bite to-go from the bakery counter's rotating selection of pastries, soups and sandwiches and find a bench along the channel for a waterside picnic.

  1. 348 Congress Street, (at A Street)
Book online

Rialto

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

For its tenth birthday in 2006, Jody Adams gave Harvard Square's premier celebration destination a head-to-toe makeover. The now breezy, spruce interior mirrors a menu stripped of its former pan-Mediterranean flourishes to reveal a regional Italian core. Which isn't to imply that the new order is minimalist—Adams' cooking remains as luscious as ever, staying true to its rustic roots while branching out in deluxe directions.

  1. Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, (at Eliot Street)
Book online


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