Focaccia, in various forms, is one of the many Italian culinary triumphs that is fortunately fairly easy to find around the Boston area. Whether it’s nearly saturated with olive oil or enhanced with interesting spreads, whether it’s topped with just a sprinkling of sea salt or stuffed with melted cheese, it’s comfort food to the max.
This weekend is going to be chilly, so it’s the perfect time to try three of the best focaccia options around — paired with plenty of pasta, of course.
For a peek at one of the hottest new restaurants in town: Whether you know her from Top Chef, Myers + Chang, or the James Beard awards, Karen Akunowicz is a culinary powerhouse, and the opening of her South Boston restaurant, Fox & the Knife, has been highly anticipated. Now about a week in, the Italian restaurant is already off to solid start, and the taleggio-stuffed focaccia is an early must-try. Also get the crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside fried chile chickpeas, the surprisingly light tagliatelle Bolognese with wild boar, and a refreshing Aperol spritz. 28 W. Broadway, South Boston
For a refresher on one of several incredible Italian restaurants in the South End: It’s no North End, but the South End is a bit of an Italian hotspot of its own, featuring old-timers like Anchovies and Coppa alongside newer spots like Bar Mezzana, SRV, and Mida. Mida, which debuted in late 2016, does excellent things with pasta, but be sure to start with the focaccia. Mida goes heavy on the oil for its focaccia, and that’s a messy but beautiful thing. The garlic butter doesn’t hurt, either. 782 Tremont St., South End, Boston
For a non-Italian gem in Somerville’s Union Square: Unlike the other two options, Field & Vine isn’t an Italian restaurant, but it sure knows how to serve focaccia. While the bread itself is irresistible, it almost takes a backseat to the spreads that accompany it — choose from a rich, salty house-made butter, lemon-garlic tahini, or Asian pear chutney. For the rest of the meal, dig into a menu that emphasizes the seasonal, local bounty with dishes like mushroom pot pie; littleneck clams with miso butter; cast iron cheddar cornbread with slow-roasted pork shoulder; and roast duck with lentils and sunchokes. 9 Sanborn Ct., Union Square, Somerville