50 Best Restaurants: Perfecting the Little Things at Alta Strada

Testing a restaurant for our annual 50 Best Restaurants cover story typically involves ordering a lot of food — more than what’s expected for a table of two, or sometimes even a table of four. At times, you can almost feel the server judging you — wow, they can really pack it in — or, worse, you worry he might be onto you (anonymity is the most important thing when researching something like the 50 Best Restaurants).

This, coupled with the fact that my fiancé and I don’t typically get wine or cocktails at dinner, has make for some uniquely awkward interchanges. Not so on my most recent visit to Alta Strada. Our waiter didn’t so much as blink an eyelash when we ordered antipasti, appetizers, pizza, pasta, and an entrée. Instead, he simply asked how we wanted everything paced, following his question with a few smart recommendations. The rest of the night we continued to receive thoughtful, personalized service — e.g., “Are you enjoying the crostini with your homemade ricotta, or would you prefer some more bread instead?” Small beans? Maybe. But — for me, at least — it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. (92 Central St., Wellesley, 781-237-6100, altastradarestaurant.com.)

We’re blogging about the 50 Best Restaurants on Chowder all month long at bostonmagazine.com/50best. Join the conversation on Twitter (#50Best) with @ChowderBoston.