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Buon Appetito! Italian Flair in the Heart of Boston

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Toscano's Restaurant, BostonYou’ve made it all the way to Boston, now it’s time to treat yourself. One of the best avenues is to get down to the city’s European roots and savor the flavor of Italian cuisine and ambiance offered here.

Via Matta is a great start for a cocktail. This restaurant shines through in their specialty drinks.  Having their sparkling Lambrusco cocktail will surely ignite your evening and start it off right. The bar crowd is fun and flirty. Be careful: the bartenders sometimes suggest some seriously dangerous drinks. Have fun at Via Matta in the Back Bay, on 79 Park St.

Sure, the North End practically screams “Only eat Italian here!!”, but Toscano’s I found is a just as perfect when it comes to fine dining. It’s like if Old World grandma served her best dishes with candles, a white table cloth and a first class wait staff. This swanky establishment offers loads of class with a hint of familiarity. Of course Toscano’s presents pretty table décor and smartly dressed front-of-the-house staff. The bar is low lit and the wine list is a mile long. But the some of the plates are casually comforting and that helps you feel right at home.

I may have had the best pasta I’ve ever eaten here, called “Rigatoni Toscano.” The next thirty hours at the gym sweating out this winning dish is completely worth it. The creamy tomato sauce smothers homemade ziti perfectly. A classic combination as this is already mind-blowing, but then they add one more indulgent element: bacon. Oh yes, double smoked bacon my friends. Enjoy this for two to start, then move onto any of their lavish seafood, chicken or steak main courses.

I’ve never been to Italy, but if the local food is anything close to what Toscano’s offers, I’m booking the next flight over.

If Toscano’s gelato is not what you’re craving, then please do continue your Tour of Italy right into the North End for dessert. Mike’s Pastry is hands down the place to go. Unfortunately anytime to get there, battling a line is inevitable. But who trusts an empty bakery? Mike’s cannolis are known to locals and tourists alike as the best in the biz.

Only fresh ingredients are used at Mike’s, making all their baked goods top quality in taste. I head straight for their marzipan, shaped in every fruit shape possible. It melts in your mouth and is easy to eat there or take home.  If you have time, try an authentic cappuccino at one of their cute little tables in the lobby. Mike’s Pastry is located on 300 Hanover St. They stay open on the weekends until 11:30pm.

Boston truly does Italian right. So hop on that Vespa and let your hair fly during your “terrificante” food adventure. Well, you might have to skip the scooter, it can’t be as fun in Boston with two feet of snow on the ground!

–Eileen Cotter is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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