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Overhead view of a round white plate filled with bright green twists of pasta.
Campanelle al pesto di pistacchio at Fox & the Knife.
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Where to Eat Italian Food in Greater 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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Campanelle al pesto di pistacchio at Fox & the Knife.
| Sarah Storrer/Eater

Boston isn’t short on Italian food — it’s easy to find variations inspired by different regions of the old country, as well as the red-sauce variety popularized by so many Italian American grandmas and grandpas. And the North End doesn’t have a patent on the stuff, either — there are excellent options throughout the city and its surrounding ‘burbs.

Here are 16 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.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. Note that as of January 15, 2022, restaurants in the city of Boston are required to check for proof of vaccination for customers dining indoors; Brookline and Salem have similar mandates, with Brookline’s also covering outdoor dining. Outside of these communities, venues with their own vaccination proof requirements are noted as such on this map.

This map was originally published on July 18, 2018; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Bistro 5

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For over two decades, Bistro 5 has been serving some of the loveliest Italian food in Medford (and beyond). Get the chef’s tasting menu for an overview of chef and owner Vittorio Ettore’s food, which heavily features local and seasonal ingredients, including herbs grown right onsite.

Fancy Italian dish on a white plate with walnuts, frisee, dollops of a white sauce, and other components
A dish at Bistro 5.
Bistro 5

Gran Gusto

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Gran Gusto’s menu is all over the Italian map, and in this case, that’s a good thing. Start with a Caprese salad, and move onto a pasta dish like paccheri with short rib ragù; the chitarra alla “sciuè sciuè,” which is served out of a cheese wheel; or the traditional Emiliana-style lasagna. But don’t miss the pizza; it’s one of the best in town.

Paccheri garnished with a meaty short rib ragu and a sprig of rosemary sits on a white plate on a dark background
Paccheri with short rib ragù at Gran Gusto.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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 duck tortelli to potato culurgiones. Watch for the team to open a new spot around the corner later in 2022, Möeca, with a focus on seafood dishes inspired by Italy and beyond.

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 Guy Fieri “Triple D” seal of approval, not to mention the love of crowds of locals and tourists alike. The ravioli is made to order, and the veal osso bucco isn’t half bad either. Come hungry; portions tend toward gigantic.

A white plate full of plump, round ravioli, topped with lobster
Lobster ravioli at Rino’s Place.
Rino’s Place

Geppetto

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Geppetto, a Cambridge newcomer from the Puritan & Co. team, draws inspiration from northern Italy and beyond while emphasizing New England ingredients, so watch for dishes like pumpkin agnolotti with wild mushrooms and a pork chop Milanese. Whatever you do, save plenty of room for dessert; pastry chef Brian Mercury is among the best around. Proof of vaccination required.

A breaded pork chop sits on a white plate, garnished with round spirals of leeks.
Geppetto’s pork chop Milanese is served with caper and lemon brown butter, leeks, and grilled radicchio.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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. Proof of vaccination required.

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

Carmelina's

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Carmelina’s, open for a decade in Boston’s North End, has a menu inspired by Sicilian fare, including quite a bit of seafood. There are non-seafood dishes to explore, too: Try the Sunday macaroni — meatballs, sausage, and beef rib served with macaroni, tossed with tomato sauce, and topped with ricotta. It’s a lot of a good thing.

Closeup overhead view of a plate of mussels in a red sauce with a green herb garnish
Mussels at Carmelina’s.
Carmelina’s

Sportello

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Barbara Lynch’s Italian joint Sportello is one of Fort Point’s gems. Making a reservation is wise (the staff saves a couple seats for walk-ins, but banking on that is like rolling the dice, depending on the night), though takeout is also available. And hey, it’s not so bad eating braised rabbit or oxtail on a bench outside with a sea view. The spicy tomato soup is required eating.

A spread of Italian dishes — including salumi, olives, and more — on a bright white surface
A spread of Sportello dishes.
Pat Piasecki

Bar Mezzana

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It’s all about the lobster paccheri, folks. (But also any other pasta dish. And any crudo. 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

Orfano comes from chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison, also behind Sweet Cheeks and Fool’s Errand nearby. This Fenway restaurant offers contemporary takes on classic Italian American cuisine (get the meatballs) in a meticulously designed space — with some fun quirks. (Hint: Say yes when asked if you’d like some pepper.)

Bucatini piled onto a decorative plate and topped with herbs at Orfano in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
Orfano’s bucatini.
JM Leach

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

Fox & the Knife

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Fox & the Knife is the brainchild of chef and owner Karen Akunowicz (of Top Chef and Myers + Chang fame). The menu is inspired by her time spent living in Modena, Italy, and features dishes like wild boar Bolognese and Milanese di maiale. Its spritz menu is vast (and surprisingly affordable for Boston), and its focaccia is irresistibly cheese-stuffed. Looking for more of a southern Italian menu? Try Fox & the Knife’s new sibling down the street, Bar Volpe.

A hand pulls away a triangle of taleggio-stuffed focaccia bread from a plate of it.
Taleggio-stuffed focaccia bread at Fox & the Knife in South Boston.
Sarah Storrer/Eater

SRV (which stands for Serene Republic of Venice) is a bacaro and wine bar serving Venetian-inspired cuisine in the 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 miso, eel, and scallion or gnocchi with sausage, kale, and burnt cream.

Closeup overhead view of an elegant green risotto with mushrooms and pearl onions in it.
Risotto at SRV.
SRV

Mida features must-eat pasta, some of the best arancini in town, and more. Carb lovers with gigantic appetites will love Monday nights, which feature a pasta feast situation — $70 includes pasta galore for two, as well as salad and bread. There’s a location in Newton, too.

Overhead view of a wooden table covered with plates of Italian food. Arms reach in from all sides.
A della casa tasting at Mida.
Emily Kan

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 three-course prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings.

A large piece of pork belly sits on a plate with a jammy sauce and thinly sliced radishes and other vegetables
A smoked and braised pork belly special at La Morra.
La Morra

Tavolo Ristorante

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This popular neighborhood spot — sibling to Ashmont Grill — calls its food “Dorchester Italian,” which includes everything from spicy mussels to chicken parm to lasagna Bolognese, not to mention pizzas.

Overhead view of a light wooden table covered with small white plates of Italian appetizers
A selection of small plates at Tavolo.
Tavolo

Bistro 5

Fancy Italian dish on a white plate with walnuts, frisee, dollops of a white sauce, and other components
A dish at Bistro 5.
Bistro 5

For over two decades, Bistro 5 has been serving some of the loveliest Italian food in Medford (and beyond). Get the chef’s tasting menu for an overview of chef and owner Vittorio Ettore’s food, which heavily features local and seasonal ingredients, including herbs grown right onsite.

Fancy Italian dish on a white plate with walnuts, frisee, dollops of a white sauce, and other components
A dish at Bistro 5.
Bistro 5

Gran Gusto

Paccheri garnished with a meaty short rib ragu and a sprig of rosemary sits on a white plate on a dark background
Paccheri with short rib ragù at Gran Gusto.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Gran Gusto’s menu is all over the Italian map, and in this case, that’s a good thing. Start with a Caprese salad, and move onto a pasta dish like paccheri with short rib ragù; the chitarra alla “sciuè sciuè,” which is served out of a cheese wheel; or the traditional Emiliana-style lasagna. But don’t miss the pizza; it’s one of the best in town.

Paccheri garnished with a meaty short rib ragu and a sprig of rosemary sits on a white plate on a dark background
Paccheri with short rib ragù at Gran Gusto.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Giulia

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

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 duck tortelli to potato culurgiones. Watch for the team to open a new spot around the corner later in 2022, Möeca, with a focus on seafood dishes inspired by Italy and beyond.

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

A white plate full of plump, round ravioli, topped with lobster
Lobster ravioli at Rino’s Place.
Rino’s Place

Rino’s Place in East Boston has the Guy Fieri “Triple D” seal of approval, not to mention the love of crowds of locals and tourists alike. The ravioli is made to order, and the veal osso bucco isn’t half bad either. Come hungry; portions tend toward gigantic.

A white plate full of plump, round ravioli, topped with lobster
Lobster ravioli at Rino’s Place.
Rino’s Place

Geppetto

A breaded pork chop sits on a white plate, garnished with round spirals of leeks.
Geppetto’s pork chop Milanese is served with caper and lemon brown butter, leeks, and grilled radicchio.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Geppetto, a Cambridge newcomer from the Puritan & Co. team, draws inspiration from northern Italy and beyond while emphasizing New England ingredients, so watch for dishes like pumpkin agnolotti with wild mushrooms and a pork chop Milanese. Whatever you do, save plenty of room for dessert; pastry chef Brian Mercury is among the best around. Proof of vaccination required.

A breaded pork chop sits on a white plate, garnished with round spirals of leeks.
Geppetto’s pork chop Milanese is served with caper and lemon brown butter, leeks, and grilled radicchio.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Pammy's

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

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. Proof of vaccination required.

A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
Lumache Bolognese with gochujang at Pammy’s.
Natasha Moustache

Carmelina's

Closeup overhead view of a plate of mussels in a red sauce with a green herb garnish
Mussels at Carmelina’s.
Carmelina’s

Carmelina’s, open for a decade in Boston’s North End, has a menu inspired by Sicilian fare, including quite a bit of seafood. There are non-seafood dishes to explore, too: Try the Sunday macaroni — meatballs, sausage, and beef rib served with macaroni, tossed with tomato sauce, and topped with ricotta. It’s a lot of a good thing.

Closeup overhead view of a plate of mussels in a red sauce with a green herb garnish
Mussels at Carmelina’s.
Carmelina’s

Sportello

A spread of Italian dishes — including salumi, olives, and more — on a bright white surface
A spread of Sportello dishes.
Pat Piasecki

Barbara Lynch’s Italian joint Sportello is one of Fort Point’s gems. Making a reservation is wise (the staff saves a couple seats for walk-ins, but banking on that is like rolling the dice, depending on the night), though takeout is also available. And hey, it’s not so bad eating braised rabbit or oxtail on a bench outside with a sea view. The spicy tomato soup is required eating.

A spread of Italian dishes — including salumi, olives, and more — on a bright white surface
A spread of Sportello dishes.
Pat Piasecki

Bar Mezzana

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

It’s all about the lobster paccheri, folks. (But also any other pasta dish. And any crudo. 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

Orfano

Bucatini piled onto a decorative plate and topped with herbs at Orfano in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
Orfano’s bucatini.
JM Leach

Orfano comes from chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison, also behind Sweet Cheeks and Fool’s Errand nearby. This Fenway restaurant offers contemporary takes on classic Italian American cuisine (get the meatballs) in a meticulously designed space — with some fun quirks. (Hint: Say yes when asked if you’d like some pepper.)

Bucatini piled onto a decorative plate and topped with herbs at Orfano in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
Orfano’s bucatini.
JM Leach

Coppa

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

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.