Best Italian Restaurants in Boston

March 27, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

Whether you’re looking for dinner tonight or planning a special occasion, here’s where to go for pasta, wine, and more.

Coppa
Italian · South End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

From "must-have, made-in-house" pastas to "fabulous" signature charcuterie, everything on the "creative" "tapas-style" menu at chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s corner Italian is "delicious" – and "doesn’t break the bank" ; run by a "professional" staff, the "super-cozy" dining room gets "crowded" , so those in the know "get there early" for "date night" or to snag a seat on a sidewalk patio that's "ideal for people-watching."
Mamma Maria
Italian · North End · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

Longtimers have been sopping "delicious sauces" and sipping from the "nice wine list" at this "genuine" -feeling North End Italian for decades, while those who’ve "recently discovered" it "can't wait to go back" (despite what a few say are "expensive" tabs); the "quiet" dining room "tucked away" in a historic townhouse offers "romantic" ambiance, leading to an "upscale but not pretentious" experience.
Sportello
Italian · Seaport District · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

Restaurateur Barbara Lynch offers a "unique" , trattoria-inspired experience at this "sleek" Fort Point destination, which "never fails to satisfy" with its "creative pasta dishes" and "great wine selection" ; some find the distinctive "diner-like setting" with most seats around two U-shaped counters a little "awkward" , while others consider it a "fun way to watch" the "hip" , "friendly" staff at work in the open kitchen.
Galleria Umberto
Pizza · North End · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.4 · Service 4.1

"To-die-for" Italian eats taste "like grandma made them" at this "old-school" , cash-only "institution" , where Sicilian pizza and arancini are among the "inexpensive" attractions served "until they run out" ; "fancy it’s not, but it’s the real thing" say fans who brave "long lines" and assure it’s "worth the wait" to "experience the North End like locals do."
Menton
French · Seaport District · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

"The theater of a perfectly crafted restaurant unfolds" at Barbara Lynch’s "fabulous" French-Italian in the Seaport District’s Fort Point, thanks to an "impeccable" team that "accommodates individual preferences" and provides an "educational experience" throughout each course; the "over-the-top" experience in the "romantic" , "formal" space is a "wallet emptier" , but it’s "worth the obscene amount" to be treated like "an oligarch for the night."
Giulia
Italian · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

"Fabulous" homemade pasta steals the show at this Porter Square Italian, where fans praise the "great care" evident in "exquisite" , "thoughtfully prepared" plates with "precise flavors" and seasonings that work in "symphonic harmony" ; "unpretentious, attentive" service enhances the "comfortable, stylish" oak and brick–filled space – that is, "if you can get in" ; P.S. the pasta prep space is repurposed as a chef’s table at night.
Sorellina
Italian · Back Bay · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"Definitely dress up" to blend with the "chic crowd" frequenting this "outstanding" contemporary Italian in Back Bay, where chef Jamie Mammano offers "beautiful, mouthwatering dishes" in a "subdued, elegant" black-and-white setting; though "a little pricey" , it’s a "real class act" with "top-of-the-line" service sealing the deal.
Rino's Place
Italian · East Boston · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.4

"Generous" portions of "delicious, old world–style" Italian dishes (notably "homemade pastas" ) doled out by an "attentive" team make this "affordable" East Boston "destination" a "consistent" go-to; with reservations only taken for parties of six or more and "lines out the door" , it’s "a beast to get into" , but it’s "worth the wait" as long as you expect a "cozy" joint that’s all about "the food and atmosphere – not the decor.
Erbaluce
Italian · Bay Village · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.5

"Secreted away" amid Bay Village brownstones is this "fine-dining gem" run by "master of innovation" Charles Draghi, who punctuates his "outstanding" contemporary Italian plates with "fresh herbs and fruits" in an "interesting" , "creative way" ; he still has time to circulate the "packed" , "intimate" dining room, though, "visiting tables to chat" and lending to the "impeccable" service; P.S. it’s a "favorite" among "theatergoers in the know" for pre- and post-show dining.
Scampo
Italian · West End · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

"Classy chef" Lydia Shire "is a queen" of Boston’s dining scene, and "you will pay homage" at her "wonderful" West End "favorite" , where "creative" and "exciting" Italian-inspired cuisine is delivered by a "talented" staff; the "big" , "beautiful" dining room in the Liberty Hotel, a historic former jail, can get "noisy" , but that’s all part of the "fun" , "celebratory" mood.
SRV
Italian · Back Bay · $$

In the style of a Venetian bacaro, or wine bar, this South End Italian keeps the vino flowing and the small plates (including sophisticated house made pastas) coming to guests gathered in the hobnob-enabling dining room, outfitted with drink rails to encourage mingling, or on the cloistered rear patio.
Carmelina's
Italian · North End · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

"Huge lines" attest to the pretty "perfecto" Italian fare – notably "delicious, fresh" pastas – at this North End "favorite" ; some say the space is "cramped" , but retractable front walls allow for open-air dining in summer months.
Pammy's
$$$

Between Harvard and Central squares sits this understated establishment that takes a trattoria's approach to housemade pastas and other modern Italian-leaning mains in a charming, pretty little footprint filled with white ceramic, leather banquettes and a wood-burning fireplace.
Giacomo's
Italian · North End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

Pasta "made fresh in-house" and "to-die-for" sauce result in "fabulous" Italian dishes that leave "budget-minded" guests "swooning" and "licking plates clean" at these "no-frills" , cash-only Italians; though the "often-colorful" staff tries to move things along "fast" , there’s "always a line" for the "tiny" digs – but it’s "worth any inconvenience."
NICO
Italian · North End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

"Delicious" Italian fare and "pleasant" service await at this North End stalwart, where lots of "fresh" pastas are tossed in a signature marinara based on a family recipe from restaurateur Nick Varano (Strega, Strega Waterfront); red curtains and chandeliers help make the "small, cozy" space a contender "for a romantic date" , as does pricing that’s "not over the top" ; P.S. jarred sauce is available for purchase.
Massimino's Cucina Italiana
Italian · North End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.4

This "North End hideaway" has "been around for ages" , supplying "outstanding" "hearty" Italian plates and "welcoming attitudes" to regulars who "always return" ; the "small" quarters can get "a bit overcrowded" , but the "boisterous setting" (which includes a private wine cellar) is dribbling distance from TD Garden, so basketball fans may find it a "good spot for pre-game meals."
Carlos Cucina Italiana
Italian · Allston · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.4

Locals "often recommend" this longtime eatery in Allston where "fun" staffers deliver "large portions" of "simple" but "delicious" "red-sauce Italian" eats at "reasonable prices" ; the "space is a bit cramped" , but "knocking elbows" with your neighbors is all part of the "friendly" experience.
Prezza
Italian · North End · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

Chef-owner Anthony Caturano pushes peasant-style Italian cookery in a "creative" direction at this North End "favorite" , crafting "amazing" combinations of "well-seasoned" entrees; besides "gracious" service, there’s a "stylish" "urban-chic" "scene" in the dining room – with "prices to match."