"fun atmosphere, fabulous food, Italian" in Boston? [MA]

A colleague/friend is coming to town next Monday and wants “Italian, fun atmosphere, fabulous food”. When she initially said Italian I thought L’Osteria in the North End because the North End is always good to take visitors to but although I find L’Osteria very reliable I am not sure I would class it as fabulous food. Mamma Maria does have fabulous food as I recall but not what I would call a fun atmosphere. Italian is really never my first choice although I do not object to it so I am stumped. Ideas? Does NOT have to be North End although that would be a plus.

SRV or Babbo would fit the bill

In the north end, Prezza.


I agree with SRV (I seem to recall you’ve already been), and the new Terra inside Eataly fits the bill too - perhaps my favorite opening of 2017 thus far, although I did find the pastas there to be the least striking part of a largely outstanding meal. Fat Hen in Somerville and Firenze in Salem are my current favorites for pasta, though neither tries for the fun atmosphere.

I was at the Davis Sq location of Posto recently and enjoyed it, particularly the crab tortellini. Mida and Bar Mezzana were similarly tasty and interesting on recent visits. Not sure if Waypoint qualifies as Italian but the flavors there are definitely impressive and complex.

For somewhat more conventional menus, Real Gusto has a distinctive modern European feel and really clean flavors, both of which may not be for everyone. Centre Street Cafe has a pretty typical “Italian” menu for dinner, though I’ve only been for the wonderful brunch.

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Walk through Eataly but go to Babbo for a meal.

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Great ideas all, thanks. Can’t believe I forgot SRV when I enjoyed it so much!

Terra could be good too! I also agree with SRV as a rec. I think Babbo is good not great - good value, but doesn’t sound like that is what you’re looking for.

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