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Fox & The Knife
Photograph: Alyssa Blumstein

Beyond the Aperol Spritz: The best aperitivo spots in Boston

From extensive liqueur lists to satisfying snacks, these places have what it takes to make you say "cin cin!"

Olivia Vanni
Written by
Olivia Vanni
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Thanks to the Aperol Spritz, we’ve all gotten a little taste of la dolce vitabut the best restaurants for aperitivo in Boston have so much more to offer than this singular cocktail from overseas. Following Italy’s ritual of sitting down for beautifully bitter drinks and snacks before having a full dinner, some of the best Italian restaurants in Boston have perfected the art of aperitivo by offering menus crammed with amariserved straight or in cocktailsand small bites. So do as the Romans do and stop by one of these spots to warm up your stomach before going hard at one of the best restaurants or best bars in Boston.

The best restaurants for aperitivo in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Everything about this South End eatery lends itself to a perfect aperitivo. Its kitchen has a strong focus on cicchetti, Venetian small plates traditionally served in bars alongside, you guessed it, heavy pours of aperitivo spirits. Grab a couple customary snacks, like its seasonal tramezzini and frittelle, to pair with any number of cocktails mixed with Italy’s most beloved liqueurs. Whether it’s a house negroni or the vermouth of the day, SRV’s drinks will get you primed for an evening of eating… and even more drinking. 

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Italians aren’t the only ones who like an aperitivo—the French are also aperitif pros, and Frenchie is the place to enjoy this ritual en français. Its cocktails celebrate all of the classic liqueurs typically sipped during an aperitif, like Lillet Blanc and Green Chartreuse, but mixed in unconventional ways—from a White Negroni to an Ultraviolet Spritz. Regardless of the country, no aperitif is ever complete without snacks, and Frenchie aims to please with its hot and cold bites, including jardiniere, escargot toast and seared foie gras.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

This South End spot has such an extensive aperitivo selection that it’s basically the Amalfi Coast, by way of Ink Block. Bar Mezzana’s beverage menu boasts a house spritz made with Campari, peaches, Moscato and soda water, in addition to customary Italian cocktails like the Aperol Spritz, Negroni and Sgroppino. If you prefer drinking your aperitivo neat, this place has one of the largest varieties of amari that we’ve ever seen this side of the Atlantic (25!), as well as sections solely dedicated to vermouths and grappas.

  • Restaurants
  • North End

Let’s talk about Parla and its outstanding selection of amari. This North End gem offers a sprawling list of aromatic alcohols (31 of them, to be exact) that folks can order by the shot, full pour or flight. If novices aren’t ready to drink these liqueurs straight up, the bar’s renowned craft cocktail menu incorporates them into ever-elaborate, seasonal drinks (i.e. its Strawberry Butch, which blends Bumbu rum, Angostura, house-made strawberry shrub, honey, lime Fernet Vittone and soda). Use these beverages to wash down a small plate of crispy polenta or ricotta fritters, and you’ll be in paradiso. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

We love a restaurant that dedicates an entire section of its menu to spritzes. In addition to its array of amari, Coppa’s cocktail selection includes the now ubiquitous Aperol spritz, as well as bubbly beverages mixed with BroVo’s JK amaro and St. George Bruto Americano. Pair your spritz of choice with a board of salumi and cheese to feel the full effect of your aperitivo. 

  • Restaurants
  • Roxbury
  • price 3 of 4

There are so many reasons to love this South End restaurant (and its new Newton outpost), but its solid selection of aperitivi is definitely up there. MIDA’s cocktail menu features a whole section dedicated to these spirits, served either neat or in spritz form. All of the Italian faves are there: Aperol, Campari, Cappelletti, Contratto and Cocchi Torino. We recommend going pure and trying these herbal elixirs straight.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Somerville
  • price 3 of 4

This Davis Square establishment lets you go all in when it comes to aperitivo. Posto specializes in pizza and pastabut it’s the spritzes and selection of pre-meal snacks that make it a must for living that dolce far niente lifestyle. We suggest sitting down at this Somerville spot for a pitcher of Aperol spritzes (yes, they’re sold by the pitcher here), bites like arancini and warm marinated olives, and one of their gourmet pizzas, of course.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South Boston
  • price 3 of 4

We’re raising a glass to this South Boston joint and its true dedication to aperitivo. Its modern Italian menu includes a whole list of aperitivi that guests can drink either straight or within a spritzfrom Dolin Dry Vermouth to GrandTen’s locally made Angelica. In line with Italian tradition, Fox & The Knife also offers a list of snacks like harissa-marinated olives, fried chickpeas and house-made ricotta with fettunta grilled bread to accompany these evening herbal libations.

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