Eataly. I hate the name. It's an Italian food emporium that sprawls through a sizable chunk of Prudential Center real estate in Boston (and in other major cities like Chicago, as well as the original in New York.) Towers of jars of tomato sauces and glossy bags of pastas with Italian names. Glorious and pricey cheeses, fish, meats, chocolates. And among the miles of merch, a handful of small restaurants. La Pizza and La Pasta is one. Again, I hate the name.
It’s a gem. Reservations recommended but not needed for an early dinner on a Tuesday evening. Tiny table, open kitchen. Good wines by the glass and a handful of fun cocktails. On the menu: pizza and pasta, both with gluten-free options. A somewhat pricey “mozzarella bar” starter with fresh slices of the cheese and choices for accompaniments. Split between two people is just about right. My husband enjoyed agnolotti with brown butter; my penne con funghi (mushrooms) was superb, sufficient on its own to inspire this blog post.
Sometimes the North End is just a bit too far and complicated on a cold and rainy Boston evening when cabs are scarce. I had little hope for this downtown restaurant in Eataly, which I suspected would be a tourist trap shoveling out some mediocre food. I was wrong. I plan to go back, for another plate of the funghi.
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