Gran Gusto, Cambridge MA

We hadn’t been to Gran Gusto for a couple of years and decided to head there last night about 8 pm. for a late-ish for us dinner. We had such a lovely time that I thought I’d give it a shout-out.

We didn’t have a reservation but the hostess sat us at a four-top, the only empty table in the restaurant. The place was bustling but the noise level was manageable. We started with a small meat and cheese plate which had a nice assortment of salumi and a few cheese slices along with some Castelvetrano olives. The olive oil that accompanies the house-made bread is fruity and a little peppery. For mains we each had the chitarra pasta with a cherry tomato-garlic sauce and then tossed with a little pasta cooking water in a hollowed-out wheel of Grana Padano to form a simple but delicious creamy sauce. This was a simple, delicious dish that was more than the sum of it’s parts. To drink we had quartinos of the very drinkable house Merlot for a reasonable $8 each. To finish we shared a tiramisu and a couple of glasses of Limoncello.

Our server was the passionate and fun owner who is quite helpful in making suggestions. For four 6 oz. glasses of wine, a starter, two pastas, a dessert and two liqueurs the bill was a reasonable $92. We’ll make sure to return soon.

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Here’s a pic of the chitarra.


Well, this is an old thread but it’s the only mention of Gran Gusto on this board so I’ll add to it.

I went here for lunch a few days ago. As others have lamented, there are so few places that have managed to maintain seated midweek lunch options due to the pandemic. I was specifically looking for a place where my older dining companion would be comfortable and there would not be a crowd. Well, it definitely fit that part of the ask! From noon when we were seated, until about 1pm as we were wrapping up, we were literally the only diners in the restaurant. Two other parties arrived around one, but I really don’t see that they are doing enough business to be open.

Food was… adequate. We each got two appetizers. My dining companion was very pleased with her Caprese salad, although to my taste the tomatoes were “mid-winter.” (I would have expected as much and not ordered that dish to begin with.) She did note the fresh mozz was quite cold and firm, and would have been better at room temp. My chickpea fritters had good flavor and were a generous portion, but were room temp. They would have been better hot from the fryer. I could not be sure they were just fried- perhaps rewarmed? My eggplant parm was tasty- nothing special but nice and hot. My dining companion’s calamari was to her liking, but I found the actual calamari kind of bland. It did not have the quality or freshness to shine as a grilled dish, and probably should have been battered and fried.

Service was friendly but rather slow. I had to ask for a water refill, and there were strange lapses between when the plates were brought out, especially given that we were the only diners. I also hate to mention it, but when I think of the lunch it is foremost in my mind: they really need to do something about the fruit fly issue. I spent quite a bit of time shooing flies away from our table.

I would only go back here if I needed an easily accessible place with parking and plenty of space. I would also probably try the pasta/pizza side of the menu and stick with simpler dishes.


Glad you shared. We used to like Gran Gusto a lot. Maybe they’re experiencing all the stresses that restaurants have been under these past couple years.


I’ve had mixed reactions to Gran Gusto over the years (and got into trouble on Chowhound for being less enthusiastic about it than a lot of its fans thought I should be), but we had a spectacular lunch on their patio last Saturday. My wife had a white pizza with crumbled sausage and broccoli rabe, and I had a spaghetti and clams special with a lovely, garlicky sauce with parsley and finely chopped zucchini. The pasta was perfectly textured, and the sauce astoundingly good. Their pizzas are always superb, with a nice char to their crust, and this one was no exception.

It was a beautiful day, warm and with a cloudless sky. The tables on either side of us happened to have a party of Italians at each, and if you closed your eyes, let the sun soak in, and listened to the lively conversation surrounding you, you could imagine that you were in Italy.

We capped off the afternoon by walking around the tiny but beautiful Miyawaki forest at Danehy Park.


B and I felt similarly about Gran Gusto back in the (CH) day. People swooned about it, but somehow the atmosphere and the schtick wasn’t our cup of tea. Grand total of 2 visits, the service was odd not unfriendly, but odd. And the food was just OK. Maybe we were just clueless hounds. Any case thank you for this review. Both the pizza and the spaghetti and clams are right up our alley.

This thread also reminds me about dear @bear. I hope she is well. I miss her presence here.


Thanks for this, especially the tip on the Miyawaki Forest at Danehy. First I’ve heard of it and can’t wait to visit. And maybe stop by Gran Gusto, too. It’s good to hear your recent review.

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Totally. But the pizza is good, and this particular meal was terrific. They’ve reduced the schtick factor as well in recent years, even pre-pandemic.

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They were open for lunch last Saturday? Website is now saying: Tuesday-Sunday 4.30PM-9.30PM

Monday Closed
We would prefer lunch.

Website hours are often unreliable, since places do not always update. Here’s what Google says:

You can call them to confirm, as we did last Saturday.

Thank you! I hate it when website hours are hard to find or inaccurate!