Ask the Editor: Two Pals Seeking Good Pasta and Drinks

These ladies want to catch up over carbs and cocktails.

Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.

Bucatini and lobster scampi at Mida

Bucatini and lobster scampi at Mida. / Photos by Emily Kan


What’s your take on good pasta and wine or cool cocktails, but not SRV or Pammy’s? (We’ve been there before.) Gal pal dinner for two on *~FriDaY~*


SRV and Pammy’s are both top-tier choices for pasta and drinks—they both made Boston magazine’s new Top 50 Restaurants list—so good on you gals for having checked them out. As you’ve visited those two favorites already, I’m going to assume you’ve also discovered Terra (located at Eataly Boston, about a mile from SRV) and Giulia (a Cambridge classic, about a mile from Pammy’s), too. Though if not, check’em out. But here are some more under-the-radar gems I’d love to guide you to.

Mida—which is also on Boston magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list, and is also located pretty close to SRV—is nonetheless hardly top-of-mind for many of my dining-out friends. Yet every night, chef Douglas Williams and his team are hand-making a range of al dente noodles to toss with seasonal, boldly flavored sauces, like lobster scampi with fresh basil and luxurious mascarpone; and short rib ravioli reveling in rich carrot, mushroom, and sweet potato. I typically go with a lively lambrusco by the glass, or a classic negroni. Bar seats are often a great choice here, but there are always a couple dining-room tables saved for walk-ins, too. And I know you’re thinking about Friday night, but if ever you need pasta on a Monday, this must be your spot: It’s all-you-can-eat Mangia Monday at Mida, with $35 bottomless bowls, salad, and bread. (782 Tremont St., Boston, 617-936-3490,

Another Top 50 honoree that still doesn’t get its due, IMO, is Fat Hen. I’ve enjoyed this small, dark, Somerville spot, with its chill beats playlist and its fantastic list of spritzes, since it opened next door to sister-grill La Brasa in 2016. But it’s really come into its own since chef Brian Miller took over earlier this year. On my most recent visit, I could not get enough of the agnolotti with duck-and-smoked-pork sausage, smoked corn, and chanterelles; a look at the menu today shows those Piedmontese pillows have been revamped for fall with smoked cheese pumpkin, brown butter, and ricotta, which is 100 percent making my mouth water right now. No bar here, but a cozy table for two would be perfect for a catch-up session. (126 Broadway, Somerville, 617-764-1612,

And finally, I’ll direct you to Sulmona, a 2017 newcomer from chef Delio Susi, who’s also behind the Kendall Square mainstay Amelia’s Trattoria. Here, the modern room has cool design details that will catch your eye, and a large bar at which to enjoy the lengthy list of Italian wines, creative cocktails, and believe it or not, quality whiskeys. For pastas, the hand-rolled cavatelli with meaty boar ragu is a standout; and linguine alla vongole brims with fresh littlenecks and herbaceous breadcrumbs. The specials menu is always worth a look, too. (608 Main St., Cambridge, 617-714-4995,

There you have it—more carbs than you can count. Is it Friday yet?