Best of Boston

BEST Italian Restaurant

2001 BEST Italian Restaurant, South



Don’t even utter the word marinara. Octopus, seared sea scallops, smoked pork chops, and delicate raviolis are the breed of Italian served here. The ambience—high ceilings, sultry décor, two hopping bars—is as much a draw as the cuisine. Plus, there’s… read more»

2001 BEST Italian Restaurant



Ah, civility—a welcome change on a street known for interminable lines and cutthroat competition for tables on Saturday nights. Maurizio’s is intimate but not stuffy, the kind of restaurant where you know you’re guaranteed perfect ambience. You even get a… read more»

2000 BEST Italian Restaurant



On any given night you can find crowds gathered on the sidewalk outside this cramped, noisy, hole-in-the-wall North Ender, jostling for the chance to dive into some of the freshest homestyle Italian cooking in Boston. Pomodoro is not fancy; it’s… read more»

1999 BEST Italian Restaurant

Ristorante Toscano


No place else in Boston captures the simplicity and lack of fuss of real country Italian food, specifically food from Tuscany. That’s because nowhere else is run by northern Italians who know how plain that food is. Florence-born chef Vinicio… read more»

1998 BEST Italian Restaurant, Contemporary



Boldly layered flavors, as in charred calamari with black olive puree and red pepper jus, and imaginative twists on staples, as in fusilli in a parmesan broth with walnuts and sundried tomatoes, make this copper-kitchened restaurant one of the brightest… read more»

1998 BEST Italian Restaurant, Take-Out



Food so good you won’t want to go out for dinner. Although the containers should feed two or three people, don’t underestimate the hog factor once you dig in. It’s a toss-up which lasagna is the best, meatless traditional or… read more»

1998 BEST Italian Restaurant, Traditional

Mamma Maria


Don’t be misled by the name: this ain’t no spaghetti house. Bringing high-end Northern cuisine to the North End, chef Bill Wallo is a maestro of the classics. Papardelle is served in a lovely traditional Tuscan rabbit sauce, and Bistella… read more»

1997 BEST Italian Restaurant, Contemporary



Pomodoro’s flavorful, creative offerings reconcile the old Italian with the new. The food retains a simple, traditional character—which should not read as dull or unimaginative, whatever you may have come to expect after numerous “red sauce” menu encounters so often… read more»

1997 BEST Italian Restaurant, Traditional

Ristorante Toscano


When Vinicio Paoli first arrived in Boston in the early ’80s, he says it was just like a scene from Big Night: “People would order risotto and then ask why they didn’t get a side of spaghetti!” Despite this less-than-fortuitous… read more»

1996 BEST Italian Restaurant


Hyde Park

This is native son Tommy Menino’s favorite neighborhood joint, and he should know, right? By the way, they call it spaghetti, not pasta. read more»