Best of Boston

BEST Italian Restaurant

2013 BEST Italian Restaurant
Photo by Jesse Burke

Erbaluce

Boston

Drawing on his Piedmontese heritage, Charles Draghi turns out elegant northern Italian-inspired fare with a delicate touch—homemade pappardelle with cubed beets and speck; butternut-squash broth with spicy shrimp; and wild boar with a Concord-grape mosto, all designed to pair with… read more »

2012 BEST Italian Restaurant, Casual
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Coppa

Boston

One of the biggest misconceptions about Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s South End enoteca is that it’s for hard-core meat eaters only. Sure, the restaurant was named after a cured cut of pig and boasts some of the best meatballs… read more »

2012 BEST Italian Restaurant, Romantic
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Franklin Cafe

Boston

No need to consult with a wardrobe stylist when prepping for a classy date night at the Franklin. Just come as you are, slide into a black leather booth, and let the low lighting, art-covered walls, and excellent wine list… read more »

2012 BEST Italian Restaurant, Upscale
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Rialto

Cambridge

The city’s Italian-dining scene skews either reasonably authentic (yet undistinguished), or posh (but not quite legit). Rialto bridges the gap with seasonal, from-scratch cooking (strands of bucatini with lobster and saffron; salumi with house-made ricotta) and attentive, special-occasion-worthy service. Chef… read more »

2011 BEST Italian Restaurant, Upscale
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Dante

Cambridge

Okay, so the guy went and named a restaurant after himself. Clearly, chef Dante de Magistris is focusing his subtlety elsewhere—on, for example, his nuanced dishes. In actuality, each is served with a side of humility; he and his brother… read more »

2011 BEST Italian Restaurant, Casual

Trattoria Toscana

Boston

We’re reluctant to give up this little storefront gem, but its ribbons of house-made pappardelle and tender raviolis are just too delightful not to share. The bubbling braised tripe and perfectly charred tagliata are right out of Nonna’s Tuscan kitchen—which… read more »

2011 BEST Italian Restaurant, South

Orta

Pembroke

We love Orta for the same reason we love classic red-sauce Italian food: It’s bold, unpretentious, and easy on the wallet. That’s not to say chef Jimmy Burke’s fare isn’t inspired. The menu is anchored by standbys like veal Parm… read more »

2009 BEST Italian Restaurant
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Rialto

Cambridge

Like a Verdian lothario, this town’s upscale Italian has a knack for breaking hearts. Leave a place transported by its pillowy gnocchi, and you can bet your Bolognese it’ll be dense as lead when you go back for more. Spending… read more »

2009 BEST Italian Restaurant, Affordable
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Il Casale

Belmont

When dining at Il Casale, don’t be surprised if your companions—having mopped the last bit of tangy, rich marinara from their plates—start hatching a plan to move to the suburbs. Who wouldn’t want to get closer to food like this?… read more »

2008 BEST Italian Restaurant, Affordable
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Trattoria Toscana

Boston

This ’07 winner keeps its crown for another year, and deservedly so. We adore the relaxed intimacy of the teeny Fenway trattoria, especially the everyone’s-a-regular welcome from owner Zamir Kociaj (who’s Albanian by birth, but very much Italian by nature)…. read more »