A New Umbria Debuts in Boston with Hearty Steaks and a Rooftop Lounge

It’s a North End revamp of a five-story downtown restaurant and club that closed in 2017.

A roasted chicken sits atop a bed of potatoes with a sprig of rosemary coming up out of it.

Umbria’s seven-spice Murray’s brick chicken. / Courtesy photo

With three floors of steaks and pastas, not to mention a rooftop lounge, a new version of an old favorite arrives in the North End this week: Say hello—again—to Umbria, opening July 20 on Hanover Street. It’s Downtown Boston’s Umbria (later Umbria Prime) reborn, although with fewer floors this time, and closer to its many sibling restaurants. (Owner Frank DePasquale and his family are behind quite a few establishments in the North End, including Bricco, Trattoria il Panino, and more.)

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Umbria takes its name from a landlocked, mountainous region of Central Italy known for its hearty, meaty fare—lots of pork and boar, fragrant truffles, sturdy lentils and other legumes. Seafood’s not really a focus in Umbria (the region), aside from some freshwater fish from Lake Trasimeno, but we’re in Boston, so Umbria (the restaurant) understandably leans in a more seafood-heavy direction. There are plenty of raw bar items, for instance, including shellfish towers jam-packed with oysters, shrimp, clams, lobster, and Alaskan king crab. The appetizers, too, showcase fish, with a yellowfin tuna tartare, Maryland crab cakes, Maine lobster tacos, New England seafood fry, and more. And getting into the main sections of the menu, diners will find dishes like paella valenciana, frutti di mare, and cioppino.

There are some meatier winks to the inspiring region. The gnochetti al cinghiale, for instance, features red wine-braised wild boar with mushrooms. Dishes like braised beef short rib with roasted chestnuts and braised lamb shank with flageolet beans feel straight out of the rustic mountain cuisine playbook. The region’s famous truffles are plentiful: shaved over a seared ahi tuna dish; hiding in the mashed potatoes alongside a surf and turf; adding earthiness to a burrata; livening up a side of four-cheese gnocchi.

And meatier still: Umbria is billing itself as an Italian steakhouse, with plenty of beef to offer, from A5 Japanese wagyu sirloin to a 36-ounce Niman Ranch grass-fed tomahawk ribeye for two. Beyond beef, there’s a pork tomahawk, a Colorado rack of lamb, and coffee-crusted buffalo loin rounding out the options. DePasquale Ventures corporate chef Nello Caccioppoli will oversee the menu.

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Boston Restaurant Openings, Summer 2023, to learn more about other exciting new openings this season.

On the drink side, that well-loved espresso martini from Bricco is here, too, alongside other classics like a Cosmo and a Negroni. The wine list features domestic selections as well as Italian, with quite a few options from Tuscany, Umbria’s neighbor.

The space—the former home of Ristorante Fiore—is expansive, spanning three floors of dining, plus a rooftop lounge called Mia (opening soon). The old Umbria, which closed in 2017, was a multi-story affair, too, with a mix of dining, a jazz lounge, and nightclub space over five floors. The new spot feels more oriented toward dining, although the rooftop—one of the only ones in the neighborhood—is sure to be hopping once it gets up and running. The new Umbria also includes a garden that’ll provide ingredients for some of the food.

Back when Umbria 1.0 opened, it snagged our 2005 Best of Boston award for Best New Restaurant, with our early aughts team praising its “flavorful cuisine … straightforward grilled, slow-braised, or brick oven-roasted food.” A 2006 review by Corby Kummer noted that the restaurant wasn’t “rigidly focused on authenticity,” instead drawing inspiration from “the hearty appeal of the region’s food and mak[ing] richly satisfying dishes that clearly honor the main ingredients.” It’s a strategy that worked then, and who’s to say it won’t work again?

The new Umbria is slated to operate from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily, beginning on July 20; reservations recommended. Stay tuned for updates on the opening of the rooftop.

An empty restaurant features gray walls with large black-and-white photographs, wooden ceiling beams, and a bright, airy look.

Umbria in Boston’s North End. / Courtesy photo

250 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 617-865-1265,