Cinquecento, the much-anticipated newest addition to the South End, opens to the public tomorrow. The massive Roman trattoria inhabits a unique architectural space with a curvy, glass-walled entrance set in a courtyard, way back from the street. In warmer weather, there will be patio seats outside. To get to the door, you travel through a wide tunnel-like space that passes under the second story of the building. In case you get lost, the name of the restaurant is painted in extremely large lettering down the length of the tunnel. The small downstairs is comprised of a 48-seat private dining room and the restrooms; a modernly attractive staircase sweeps up into the main dining room and bar. With exposed brick, reclaimed wood tables, a classy marble bar, and endless bottles of Campari, the space has a subtle Italian feel and an upscale coziness.
As for the food, there's free antipasti on weeknights from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. Oh, and there's a regular menu as well. The Italian cuisine is broken into fairly standard sections: antipasti, zuppa e insalate, salumi, pesce e carne, contorni, and piatti del giorno. Think zuppa di fagioli with ham and kale, saltimbocca di vitello con carvolo, and gnocchi with wild boar. Weekend brunch - sure to be a hit especially on Sundays with SOWA Open Market just steps away - features dishes like an apple and taleggio panino with honey and walnut pesto and roasted porchetta panino with mostarda and bitter greens.
And what's an Italian restaurant without an impressive wine selection? There are 100 bottles at Cinquecento (sadly that Italian word for "500" refers to the street address, not the wine list), and four are on tap.
Cinquecento is the latest addition to the Aquitaine Group, which also owns the three Aquitaine locations, Gaslight Brasserie (right down the street from Cinquecento), Metropolis Cafe, and Union Bar and Grille.
While the grand opening is tomorrow, the restaurant has hosted a few soft opening services for friends and family. While this group has an admittedly positive bias, the overall vibe is looking good so far. "Atmosphere is fun, wait staff is professional and friendly," reads the sole Yelp review. "Well thought out wine list with something for everyone. All in all a great addition to the neighborhood. We'll be going back!" The first review to appear on the restaurant's Facebook page is also great (and as demonstrated yesterday, reviews are not always positive on restaurant's Facebook pages.)
So, tomorrow's the day. Start readying your stomach. The bar is open 4 PM to 1 AM, and the dining room is open 5:30 PM until midnight.
· All coverage of Cinquecento on Eater [~EBOS~]