Five Best Restaurants for Southern Italian Cuisine in Boston

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Last year, we took a look at some of Boston’s best northern Italian restaurants, so this year, we are heading south where olive oil and tomatoes reign supreme to find the region’s best fare in Boston. While northerners prefer rich dishes with hearty meats and creamy sauces (think risottos and polentas), southerners prefer the flavors of eggplant, tomatoes and peppers to form the base of the region’s most revered dishes. Here’s a look five of the best restaurants for southern Italian cuisine in Boston.

 

 

1 Taranta

Start off with a selection of house made southern Italian antipasto or the pan-roasted mussels with Sicilian marsala before moving onto one of their best dishes - orecchiette pasta with aji Amarillo spicy Abruzzese sausage, broccoli rabe and cherry tomatoes. What makes this popular restaurant so special is the Peruvian twist chef/owner Jose Duarte puts on his dishes using Peruvian corn, potatoes and asparagus. We recommend the standout macadamia crusted Atlantic salmon filet served on a herbed risotto cake with Peruvian asparagus and a Pisco-Sicilian blood orange sauce.
210 Hanover Street Boston, MA 02113

2 NEBO Cucina & Enoteca

You won't find a more spacious Italian restaurant in the city than NEBO. Bordering the North End, the Fort Point Channel and the waterfront, the Pallotta sisters' expansive restaurant features soaring ceilings and a design that resembles and Italian neighborhood. Authentic southern fare from the Puglica region so you will find everything from ricotta gnocchi with sweet sausage and broccoli rabe to their layered zucchini lasagna, a “Bobby Flay Throwdown” winning dish and, of course, one of the city's best pizzas (try the crispy Gino with spicy sausage, hot cherry peppers, tangy tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella).
520 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02210

3 Tresca

In a city as rich in history as it is sports, it's not surprising the North End's popular Tresca is co-owned by Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque. Don't miss their "famous stuffed meatballs" made with ground beef and sirloin, cipolini onions, fire roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella in a tomato basil sauce. You haven't had nachos quite like Tresca's Italian take (think tortilla chips with shredded mozzarella, Bolognese and whipped ricotta). Even better, if you are looking for a romantic table, Tresca has the best one in the North End - one cozy table for two on a balcony overlooking bustling Hanover Street. Doesn't get much better than this.
233 Hanover Street Boston, MA 02113

4 Antico Forno

Owner Carla Gomes knows great southern Italian fare and serves it up at her restaurant Antico Forno. Translated "old oven, kitchen of wood," the restaurant was the first and only wood burning brick oven pizza in the neighborhood when it opened. The original oven was built from the ground up and features a base made with volcanic ash to retain the heat better than most regular ovens. Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are cooked here topped with everything from smoked mozzarella to fresh cherry tomatoes and San Marzano tomato sauce. We love the cozy restaurant's rustic fare like the fusilli pasta dish filled with sautéed eggplant, zucchini and roasted peppers in a San Marzano tomato sauce topped with goat cheese and basil cooked in the brick oven.
93 Salem Street Boston, MA 02113

5 Bricco

We love the combination of northern and southern Italian fare on the menu at Bricco where you can take a culinary journey of some of the country's best dishes without having to leave Boston. Pair up a glass of sangria or specialty cocktail like the Negroni at Bricco with a sampling of soft burrata that tastes even better when complemented with arugula, roasted red peppers, asparagus and aged balsamic. Whatever you do, don't miss the meatballs here served with fresh ricotta; or the ricotta pillows, a dreamy combination of truffle butter and wild mushrooms with a gnudi di ricotta garnish.
241 Hanover Street Boston, MA 02113
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