Boston Restaurant Blog -- March, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Newton Centre isn't quite Moody Street in Waltham, but it has more restaurants than one might think. Some of the spots you'll find in this affluent neighborhood of the city include Cafe St. Petersburg, Coconut Cafe, Pava, Pie Bakery and Cafe, Sapporo, Sol Azteca, Sweet Tomatoes, Tango Mango, Tartufo, and Union Street. And then there is an Italian restaurant on Beacon Street called Appetito that has been around for a pretty long time (more than 15 years), yet still doesn't seem all that well known. Well, we tried the place earlier this month and had quite a nice overall experience, though I feel that the atmosphere may be a bit more of a draw than the food, based on what we ordered.
Appetito is certainly an attractive place, with a slightly dark bar area partitioned off to the right, and a comfortable, colorful dining room to the left with an interesting wall mural showing all kinds of people. The bar section has seating as well (including a long bench seat), though it's not quite as nice as sitting in the main dining area. To the front of the bar area is a display case with such items as salads and desserts in it. Rustic old bronze chandeliers, candlelit tables, and soft music coming through the speakers tend to give a mellow, peaceful feel to the restaurant and bar in general.
We started our meal at Appetito with wine and beer (the beer menu is rather limited, by the way) as well as an antipasto called Piadina Contadino, which included peasant bread, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, spinach, and apple and fig jam. The dish was delicious, with a nice mix of sweet, savory, and salty tastes, though there was very little bread on the plate, unfortunately. Our meals soon came to us, with one entree being outstanding while the other was decent but flawed. The Pollo Salcicca was a wonderful dish of sauteed chicken and a richly flavored fennel sausage along with broccoli rabe and mushrooms, all mixed with fresh parmesan cheese and an herbed cream sauce. The other entree--the wild mushroom and fig risotto--didn't approach the greatness of the chicken and sausage dish, as it was excessively watery (when the meal was finished, the bottom quarter of the bowl was filled with liquid), but the flavorful mix of mushrooms and figs helped save the dish a bit. The tiramisu that we had to end our meal was a solid, if unexceptional dessert, and it was just big enough for two. Service was solid throughout, and the prices were maybe a tad high, though by no means outrageously so.
I have been to a number of restaurants of late whose atmosphere seemed to impress me more than the food did, and this was probably the case for Appetito as well. For a quiet, romantic dinner, I would say that this dining spot is a good, solid option for Newton, but for food, I'd probably give the nod to such nearby places as Vecchia Roma or Fiorella's instead.
For those who want the address for Appetito, here it is: Appetito, 761 Beacon Street, Newton, MA, 02459. The phone number is (617) 244-9881.
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