1169 Main Street (Route 18), Weymouth, MA 02190
--- Winner, Best Italian Restaurant in Boston Area, 2008 ---
The South Shore of Boston has a lot of Italian restaurants, but the vast majority of them feature Southern Italian cuisine, with few Northern Italian restaurants to be found. There is, however, a charming little Northern Italian restaurant situated in a rather plain-looking strip mall on busy Route 18 in Weymouth. But while it is easy to pass Ecco Trattoria without even knowing it is there, locals in Weymouth, Braintree, and other nearby towns have indeed discovered this wonderful dining spot, which could easily hold its own against some of the better upscale Italian restaurants in Boston proper.
The interior of Ecco Trattoria stands in stark contrast to the relative anonymity of its exterior. The main dining area is calming and intimate with its burgundy walls and dark-colored carpeting, its hanging lights and ceiling fans, its art deco posters, and its piping in of soft music in the background. The dining room has a mix of booths and larger round tables, and a tiny but attractive bar (complete with wine rack) sits in the back of the restaurant. Service is particularly good, with a truly professional waitstaff that helps make the dining experience a positive one.
Ecco's menu does lean heavily toward Northern Italian entrees, but there are also some Southern Italian dishes mixed in (and the takeout menu concentrates mostly on pasta and sandwiches). Starters include fresh salads (including a nice house salad that features mixed greens, walnuts, pears, and gorgonzola cheese) hearty homemade soups, and appetizers such as oysters, pasta filled with prosciutto, tomato bruchetta, and stuffed peppers. The well-presented entrees at Ecco will satisfy a wide variety of tastes, with a handful of pasta dishes (and pizza) offered as well as veal, chicken, steak, and seafood entrees. The chicken francais is worth considering, as the meaty cutlets have a delicious breading and are mixed with roasted peppers, capers, lemon, rosemary, and garlic, all in a scrumptious white wine sauce. Another worthwhile option is the seafood risotto, which comes with a tasty mix of mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, and calamari, served with a hint of saffron and placed on a bed of creamy arborio rice. A few other items that are offered (in addition to nightly specials) include veal and sage ravioli, seafood fra diavlo, roasted mussels ala vodka, and veal chop. Ecco also has some standout desserts, including a profiterole that is so rich that it could almost be made into a meal itself.
In an area that is filled with average to good Southern Italian restaurants, Ecco Trattoria towers above most of the competition with excellent food, impressive service, and a charming, attractive atmosphere. It may be just a bit more expensive than some of the other Italian restaurants nearby, but in this writer's opinion, the few extra dollars that you will pay at Ecco are well worth it.
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