Food & Drink

The 10 Best Italian Restaurants NOT in the North End

Published On 04/20/2015 Published On 04/20/2015
Courtesy of Sorellina
Courtesy of Coppa
Ostra Boston
Courtesy of Nebo Cucina & Enoteca 
Anchovies Food & Spirits
Courtesy of Kristin Teig for Posto 
Courtesy of Restaurant dante
Courtesy of Sorellina
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1. Coppa 253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Coppa is South End’s cozy, corner enoteca from James Beard Award-winning Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. The neighborhood space is constantly crowded by diners in search of innovative, tapas-style Italian dishes, including house-made pizza and pasta from the wood oven, house-cured charcuterie, and cheese from Formaggio Kitchen. Enjoy a slice of the Sicilian, or indulge in the Bone Marrow pizza with roasted beef heart and horseradish. Opt for the rigatoni bolognese, or try the spaghetti carbonara with sea urchin. Whether you stick with the familiar or step out of the box (with boquerones), a meal at Coppa is an adventure in creative Italian cuisine, assuming you can snag one of the 38 seats.

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2. Ostra 1 Charles St S, Boston, MA 02116

Savor the flavor of your favorite seafood at this Mediterranean spot that uses fresh ingredients and light preparations to bring out the best in your briny delicacies, all in the comfort of swank surroundings (piano lounge, anyone?).

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3. Nebo Cucina & Enoteca 520 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02210

The Pallotta sisters modernized their Mom and Grandma’s family recipes for Nebo’s traditional yet appropriately novel menu. The light/creamy burrata and the smoky cozze (skillet-roasted mussels) are ample starters, followed by the golden-brown vitello Milanese or the Bobby Flay Throwdown-winning zucchini lasagna for dinner. Be sure to stop by at lunch for a Spuckie, a substantial meat-arific sammy on ciabatta.

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4. Erbaluce 69 Church St, Boston, MA 02116

Chef Charles Draghi, the wizard who rejuvenated Marcuccio’s, mixes his deep Piemontese roots with classical-French techniques for one-of-a-kind flavors. The menu changes nightly, but representative dishes include braised meat and marrow-stuffed Marubini, red cod with spiced lobster coral sauce, and squash tortellini immersed in herbed chicken and butternut broth. The all-Italian wine list features distinct regional wines for proper pairings.

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5. Pastoral 345 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Pastoral's got rustic pizzas, like duck sausage and clam topped with house-made mozzarella, as well as the option for you to grab their pastas, sauces, and cheeses to make your own treats at home.

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6. Anchovies Food & Spirits 433 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

Don’t let the suburban-strip-mall name fool you, this place is 100% legit. Anchovies is one of the best-kept secrets in Boston and it cooks up Italian home-style fare such as the garlicky perfect linguine with mussels. Savor the giant Italian nachos amped by braised short rib ragu, and then take down The Anchovies Famous stuffed peppers overflowing with ground beef and cheeses. The prices are all wicked cheap, including $7 wines-by-the-glass.

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7. Pizzeria Posto 187 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

From a chef-turned-first-time owner eager to break the location's curse (four spots in five years), PP's a modern take on the "classic Italian wood-fire pizzeria and enoteca" plating a mélange of small bites, pastas, and pizzas in an airy high-ceiling'd "woodsy-meets-industrial" themed space replete with exposed brick/stone accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, a black/dark grey slate bar, an exposed wood fire oven, and a private dining room behind dual sliding doors.

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8. Restaurant Dante 40 Edwin H Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA 02142

Situated in the Royal Sonesta Hotel right on the Charles, Restaurant Dante serves a modern Italian menu and wine list with a view. Enjoy your grilled octopus, slow roasted duck gnocchi, poached Artic Char with roasted turnips, or hyper-fresh beef “Cut of the Day” in the simple, elegant, and light-drenched restaurant. Or if the weather is warm, have your meal on the spacious patio with a local brew or a specialty, house-infused cocktails like the Black Dhalia (cranberry black tea vodka, lemon, and house-made grenadine) or the Beatrix Kiddo (tequila, mint, cucumber, lime, and habanero vinegar). If you try nothing else, give the traditional, rich, custardy Tiramisu a try… you won’t be disappointed.

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9. Sorellina 1 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116

Sophistication is the name of the game at Sorellina, from the chic dining room to the posh classic Italian cuisine. It’s all in the details, like the Polpo’s squid-ink cous cous and tender-grilled octopus. Even the Maccheroncelli get a make-over via American Wagyu beef meatballs glazed with Montepulciano sauce and finished with Parmigiano. But your evening wouldn’t be complete without the Milanese, a breaded bone-in natural veal chop accompanied by oven-cured tomatoes.

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10. Sportello 348 Congress St , South Boston, MA 02210

The second in what'll soon be a triumvirate of Fort Point Lynch properties, Sportello (sounds like a maker of sac-flaunting soccer shorts, but means "counter service" in Italian) features casual, market driven Boot food in a simple brown/white space highlighted by an elongated, serpentine, white Corian counter.