Haute Secrets: Dante de Magistris of Restaurant Dante and il Casale

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Being raised in an Italian family certainly has its perks. Just ask Dante de Magistris, who got his initial culinary start at home before moving on to work in some of Boston’s most legendary kitchens, including Café Louis, The Federalist and Pignoli alongside some of the best local names in the restaurant industry, including Michael Schlow, Lydia Shire, Eric Brennan and Susan Regis.

Dante Cooking In Restaurant dantePhoto Credit: Restaurant dante

de Magistris really made a name for himself at blu located in the Sports Club/LA before venturing out on his own (with brothers Filippo and Damian) to open the award-winning Restaurant dante in Cambridge 10 years ago.

Dante and StaffPhoto Credit: Restaurant dante

Since then, they have opened il Casale Cucina Italiana in Belmont and il Casale Cucina Campana in Lexington (Dante is the Executive Chef, Damian is most frequently at il Casale Cucina Italiana in Belmont and Filippo is most frequently at il Casale Cucina Campana in Lexington).

Dante Plating at Restaurant dantePhoto Credit: Restaurant dante

We caught up with him recently to find out what he loves most about Boston.

Where were you born: Boston, MA

How long in Boston: My entire life – aside from living in Italy for 3 years and the summers that I spent in my family’s hometown of Candida, Italy with my grandparents when I was a child.

Neighborhood: I live in the North End.

Occupation: Chef/Co-Owner of Restaurant dante in Cambridge, il Casale Cucina Italiana in Belmont and il Casale Cucina Campana in Lexington.

Best Sushi: Oishii Boston. One of my favorite things about going here is the Spicy Crispy Toro Gunkan Hand Roll.

Best Italian: Coppa

Best dessert: The chocolate hazelnut baklava from Sofra. I stop there a lot when I am going back and forth to Belmont, and this is my go-to. The bitterness of the chocolate with the sweet honey and flaky phyllo is unreal.

Best place for a romantic date: Prezza

Best Sunday brunch: Mistral or Four Seasons

Best place for a power business meeting: Yvonne’s

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Boston Harbor Hotel. You can’t beat the amenities and the views. There is also something exciting happening there… Winter on the Wharf with ice skating and their Summer Series has outdoor movie screenings and live music with Rat Pack, blues and soul bands.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Riccardi on Newbury Street

Best Spa: Exhale at Battery Wharf

Favorite Cultural Event: Italianissimo with the Italian Cultural Center

Best Steakhouse: Grill 23

Best Pizza: The Margherita Pizza at Pasta Beach. It’s the closest thing Boston has to a true Neapolitan pizza. The crust is so light, fluffy, and crisp, and it has a little char to it from the hot brick oven. The tomato sauce is so delicate and clean, too.

Best Lunch: Neptune Oyster

Best Massage: Cassandra at Exhale at Battery Wharf

Best Museum/Exhibit: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: The Boston Public Garden. Whichever the season.

All-around favorite spot in Boston: Oak Long Bar at the Fairmont Copley. With the shuttering of so many Boston institutions like Locke-Ober (now Yvonne’s), Hammersley’s Bistro – the is one of the mainstays that manages to hold on to it’s historic integrity while still being current.

Best Aspect of Boston: Our close community and rich history. We are a city with deep roots and somehow manage to maintain those while pushing forward to become a world class destination. And the Patriots.

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