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Dishes of pasta, pizza, and appetizers arranged on a dark marble table.
Dig into pastas at Pasta Beach on the waterfront in downtown Boston.
Brian Samuels/Pasta Beach

Where to Eat Excellent Italian Food Around Boston

It’s not all about the North End (but okay, sure, there’s a lot of good Italian food in the North End)

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Dig into pastas at Pasta Beach on the waterfront in downtown Boston.
| Brian Samuels/Pasta Beach

Boston isn’t short on Italian food — it’s easy to find variations inspired by different regions of Italy, as well as the red-sauce variety popularized by so many Italian American families. And the North End doesn’t have a patent on the stuff, either — there are excellent options all around the city.

Here are 17 local restaurants that showcase some of the best Italian and Italian American food the Boston area has to offer, from Sicilian-inspired seafood to hefty plates of pasta.

Note: While pizza is probably America’s favorite Italian offering, dedicated pizzerias don’t appear on this map; they’ve got their own.

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Giulia is serving some of the best fresh pasta in the city. If available, get the pappardelle with wild boar, but a diner can’t go wrong with any of the options, from beef neck tortelli to squid ink linguine with cuttlefish. Plan out dinner here well in advance; reservations are difficult to snag.

Closeup shot of thick pasta noodles covered in red sauce and grated parmesan cheese on a green ceramic plate.
Giulia’s fresh-made pasta is hard to beat.
Giulia

Rino's Place

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Rino’s Place in East Boston has the hard-to-find lovability of locals and tourists alike. This is no-frills, classic Italian American checker-tablecloth dining. The ravioli are made to order, and no meal is complete without a plate of crispy calamari for the table. Come hungry; portions tend toward gigantic. (No reservations; walk-ins only.)

Bar Enza

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This Cambridge neo-trattoria takes everything that is fantastic about classic Italian fare, but with an eclectic modern spin. Veteran chef Tony Susi’s Bar Enza has a focus on plates meant to be shared, like fried zucchini flowers stuffed with lobster mascarpone mousse and fluffy tomato foccacia. There’s lots of pasta to go around — try the tender ricotta gnocchi and sweet corn-filled tortelli for a good introduction to Susi’s show.

A white bowl of pasta garnished with herbs and vegetables sitting on an outdoor patio table.
Ricotta gnocchi.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Pammy's

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Pammy’s is not quite Italian — the restaurant describes itself as “a New American restaurant inspired by the feel of an Italian neighborhood trattoria” — but it pulls from Italian cuisine enough (and is good enough) that it’s worth including here. Negronis are served on draft, and the pasta is made from scratch, down to the flour being milled in-house. Don’t ignore the lumache, served with a Bolognese sauce that’s kicked up with spicy Korean gochujang.

An overhead shot of pasta in an orange sauce, piled in a white bowl.
Pammy’s famous lumache.
Natasha Moustache/Pammy’s

Table Boston

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The concept here is simple and undeniably Italian — like your nonna has invited you into her own kitchen for dinner. Sit next to friends and strangers alike over the course of a night-long feast spread out between six to eight courses. The plates are constantly changing based on seasonality and whatever chef and owner Jen Royle has put together that night. Don’t miss the meatballs, which just won a third consecutive award for best in the North End.

Mamma Maria

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Where classic red-sauce dining meets Boston’s historic old charm, Mamma Maria defines what great Italian food in Boston should look like. Overlooking the cobblestones of Boston’s oldest city square on North Street, Mamma Maria’s gorgeous storefront reels you in, and the food will surely make you stay. As is done in Italy, expect a seasonal menu — Mamma Maria focuses on taking the best from what the local markets have available, like their pumpkin gnocchi with sea scallops, perfect for fall. The bar is not to be missed, featuring artisanal cocktails with local liqueurs, including Boston’s own Black Infusions Vodka.

Italian at heart, Viale emphasizes the beautiful Mediterranean coast at their Central Square restaurant. The menu is multifaceted — boar ragu gnocchi, saffron arancini, halibut crudo, and pizzas with whipped ricotta, calabrian hot honey, and sausage. The cocktails are meticulously curated, and there’s negroni on draft.

Pasta Beach

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While there is no sandy beach oasis near the Rowes Wharf location, Pasta Beach does a good job of cultivating relaxed, vacation-style vibes at its waterfront restaurant. The pasta is made in-house daily and there is a carb concoction for everybody. Order the carbonara made with decadent guanciale (pork cheek), imported pecorino, and egg, or taste the sea with their lobster cappelletti with ricotta and spinach.

Carlo's Cucina Italiana

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Looking to get out of the North End? Head to Allston and get settled in the cozy, laid-back dining room at local favorite Carlo’s Cucina Italiana. This is as Italian-American as it gets — dig into hearty portions of ricotta-stuffed eggplant, gnocchi tossed with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, and excellent linguine combined with mussels, clams, squid, and shrimp.

Bar Mezzana

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It’s all about the lobster paccheri, folks. But also any other pasta dish, any crudo, and it should not be an option to leave without ordering dessert. Just order the whole menu at Bar Mezzana, which features coastal Italian cuisine.

Overhead view of three oval restaurant plates, each with a different elegantly plated crudo.
Bar Mezzana crudos.
Reagan Byrne/Bar Mezzana

This South End enoteca from Toro duo Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer has been open for more than a decade. The team does a particularly good job with cheese and cured meats; definitely get the beef heart pastrami when available. But don’t forget the pastas: The cavatelli is a must.

A white bowl of cavatelli in an orange-ish sauce sits on a wooden table
Cavatelli with slow cooked broccoli and chicken sausage, tomato, fennel pollen, and parmesan at Coppa.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

SRV (which stands for Serene Republic of Venice) is a bacaro and wine bar serving cuisine inspired by the Adriatic right in Boston’s South End. Go with friends and get at least one of each cicchetti option (Venetian small plates), but also try some of the creative pasta dishes, such as paccheri with eggplant, taleggio cheese, lemon verbena, and pine nuts, or the strozzapreti with sausage, cauliflower, and salsa verde.

Bar Volpe

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Unlike its northern Italian predecessor, the Fox & the Knife, chef Karen Akunowicz’s Bar Volpe places emphasis on the phenomenal flavors of southern Italy. The South Boston restaurant serves as both a dining room and a store where fresh pasta can be bought by the pound to take home. Make sure to try the hand-crafted Sardinian culurgiones stuffed with goat cheese and potato served over a tomato basil sauce.

La Morra

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This Brookline mainstay tends to lean in the direction of northern Italy, based on owners Josh and Jen Ziskin’s time in Italy’s Piedmont region. For a taste of as much of the menu as possible, try the prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings.

This Jamaica Plain gem has garnered an enthusiastic following since it opened in October 2022. It’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but look especially for the taleggio cappelletti drizzled with aged balsamic, the bowl of countneck clams, and the Roman-style pizza bianca with excellent pairings including whipped ‘nduja and stracciatella, ricotta and hot honey, and eggplant caponata.

Via Cannuccia

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Chef Stefano Quaresima transports customers direct to Italy at this new spot on Dorchester Avenue. Roman through and through, this trattoria is a bakery by day — putting out some of Boston’s freshest and tastiest pastries thanks to their lievito madre (sourdough starter) — and a restaurant by night. Stop by on the weekend to sample their brunch, where you can taste a true maritozzo rarely found anywhere outside of Rome. Then, come back in the evening for an unforgettable dining experience that will make you question if you’re in Dorchester or Anzio, Quaresima’s hometown south of Rome.

Delfino Restaurant

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In Rosindale, Delfino’s shines as a star in the neighborhood’s dining scene. There is careful attention to tradition here, with hearty recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, holding true to their Italian origins. The linguine frutti di mare (seafood linguine) may be the best bang-for-your-buck seafood pasta in Boston. If seafood isn’t the vibe, “Figgy Piggy” is a can’t-miss plate of roasted pork, prosciutto, and garlic mashed potatoes all drenched in a fig demi-glace.

Giulia

Giulia is serving some of the best fresh pasta in the city. If available, get the pappardelle with wild boar, but a diner can’t go wrong with any of the options, from beef neck tortelli to squid ink linguine with cuttlefish. Plan out dinner here well in advance; reservations are difficult to snag.

Closeup shot of thick pasta noodles covered in red sauce and grated parmesan cheese on a green ceramic plate.
Giulia’s fresh-made pasta is hard to beat.
Giulia

Rino's Place

Rino’s Place in East Boston has the hard-to-find lovability of locals and tourists alike. This is no-frills, classic Italian American checker-tablecloth dining. The ravioli are made to order, and no meal is complete without a plate of crispy calamari for the table. Come hungry; portions tend toward gigantic. (No reservations; walk-ins only.)

Bar Enza

This Cambridge neo-trattoria takes everything that is fantastic about classic Italian fare, but with an eclectic modern spin. Veteran chef Tony Susi’s Bar Enza has a focus on plates meant to be shared, like fried zucchini flowers stuffed with lobster mascarpone mousse and fluffy tomato foccacia. There’s lots of pasta to go around — try the tender ricotta gnocchi and sweet corn-filled tortelli for a good introduction to Susi’s show.

A white bowl of pasta garnished with herbs and vegetables sitting on an outdoor patio table.
Ricotta gnocchi.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Pammy's

Pammy’s is not quite Italian — the restaurant describes itself as “a New American restaurant inspired by the feel of an Italian neighborhood trattoria” — but it pulls from Italian cuisine enough (and is good enough) that it’s worth including here. Negronis are served on draft, and the pasta is made from scratch, down to the flour being milled in-house. Don’t ignore the lumache, served with a Bolognese sauce that’s kicked up with spicy Korean gochujang.

An overhead shot of pasta in an orange sauce, piled in a white bowl.
Pammy’s famous lumache.
Natasha Moustache/Pammy’s

Table Boston

The concept here is simple and undeniably Italian — like your nonna has invited you into her own kitchen for dinner. Sit next to friends and strangers alike over the course of a night-long feast spread out between six to eight courses. The plates are constantly changing based on seasonality and whatever chef and owner Jen Royle has put together that night. Don’t miss the meatballs, which just won a third consecutive award for best in the North End.

Mamma Maria

Where classic red-sauce dining meets Boston’s historic old charm, Mamma Maria defines what great Italian food in Boston should look like. Overlooking the cobblestones of Boston’s oldest city square on North Street, Mamma Maria’s gorgeous storefront reels you in, and the food will surely make you stay. As is done in Italy, expect a seasonal menu — Mamma Maria focuses on taking the best from what the local markets have available, like their pumpkin gnocchi with sea scallops, perfect for fall. The bar is not to be missed, featuring artisanal cocktails with local liqueurs, including Boston’s own Black Infusions Vodka.

Viale

Italian at heart, Viale emphasizes the beautiful Mediterranean coast at their Central Square restaurant. The menu is multifaceted — boar ragu gnocchi, saffron arancini, halibut crudo, and pizzas with whipped ricotta, calabrian hot honey, and sausage. The cocktails are meticulously curated, and there’s negroni on draft.

Pasta Beach

While there is no sandy beach oasis near the Rowes Wharf location, Pasta Beach does a good job of cultivating relaxed, vacation-style vibes at its waterfront restaurant. The pasta is made in-house daily and there is a carb concoction for everybody. Order the carbonara made with decadent guanciale (pork cheek), imported pecorino, and egg, or taste the sea with their lobster cappelletti with ricotta and spinach.

Carlo's Cucina Italiana

Looking to get out of the North End? Head to Allston and get settled in the cozy, laid-back dining room at local favorite Carlo’s Cucina Italiana. This is as Italian-American as it gets — dig into hearty portions of ricotta-stuffed eggplant, gnocchi tossed with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, and excellent linguine combined with mussels, clams, squid, and shrimp.

Bar Mezzana

It’s all about the lobster paccheri, folks. But also any other pasta dish, any crudo, and it should not be an option to leave without ordering dessert. Just order the whole menu at Bar Mezzana, which features coastal Italian cuisine.

Overhead view of three oval restaurant plates, each with a different elegantly plated crudo.
Bar Mezzana crudos.
Reagan Byrne/Bar Mezzana

Coppa

This South End enoteca from Toro duo Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer has been open for more than a decade. The team does a particularly good job with cheese and cured meats; definitely get the beef heart pastrami when available. But don’t forget the pastas: The cavatelli is a must.

A white bowl of cavatelli in an orange-ish sauce sits on a wooden table
Cavatelli with slow cooked broccoli and chicken sausage, tomato, fennel pollen, and parmesan at Coppa.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

SRV

SRV (which stands for Serene Republic of Venice) is a bacaro and wine bar serving cuisine inspired by the Adriatic right in Boston’s South End. Go with friends and get at least one of each cicchetti option (Venetian small plates), but also try some of the creative pasta dishes, such as paccheri with eggplant, taleggio cheese, lemon verbena, and pine nuts, or the strozzapreti with sausage, cauliflower, and salsa verde.

Bar Volpe

Unlike its northern Italian predecessor, the Fox & the Knife, chef Karen Akunowicz’s Bar Volpe places emphasis on the phenomenal flavors of southern Italy. The South Boston restaurant serves as both a dining room and a store where fresh pasta can be bought by the pound to take home. Make sure to try the hand-crafted Sardinian culurgiones stuffed with goat cheese and potato served over a tomato basil sauce.

La Morra

This Brookline mainstay tends to lean in the direction of northern Italy, based on owners Josh and Jen Ziskin’s time in Italy’s Piedmont region. For a taste of as much of the menu as possible, try the prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings.

Tonino

This Jamaica Plain gem has garnered an enthusiastic following since it opened in October 2022. It’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but look especially for the taleggio cappelletti drizzled with aged balsamic, the bowl of countneck clams, and the Roman-style pizza bianca with excellent pairings including whipped ‘nduja and stracciatella, ricotta and hot honey, and eggplant caponata.

Related Maps

Via Cannuccia

Chef Stefano Quaresima transports customers direct to Italy at this new spot on Dorchester Avenue. Roman through and through, this trattoria is a bakery by day — putting out some of Boston’s freshest and tastiest pastries thanks to their lievito madre (sourdough starter) — and a restaurant by night. Stop by on the weekend to sample their brunch, where you can taste a true maritozzo rarely found anywhere outside of Rome. Then, come back in the evening for an unforgettable dining experience that will make you question if you’re in Dorchester or Anzio, Quaresima’s hometown south of Rome.

Delfino Restaurant

In Rosindale, Delfino’s shines as a star in the neighborhood’s dining scene. There is careful attention to tradition here, with hearty recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, holding true to their Italian origins. The linguine frutti di mare (seafood linguine) may be the best bang-for-your-buck seafood pasta in Boston. If seafood isn’t the vibe, “Figgy Piggy” is a can’t-miss plate of roasted pork, prosciutto, and garlic mashed potatoes all drenched in a fig demi-glace.

Related Maps