Sunday, March 25, 2012
Da Vinci Ristorante
It is Restaurant Week in Boston, so my friend Molly and I decided to check out Da Vinci’s for the $33.12 3-course meal. This is a good value for the quality and quantity of food we got. The restaurant is beautiful, very romantic and elegant yet most of the people in there were not couples (including my friend and I), I definitely thought it would be a majority of couples and we would feel out of place, but it was not like that at all.
(picture from DaVinci website)
Da Vinci’s is fabulous for a gluten free diet. The gluten free penne can be substituted in almost any pasta dish. I’m not sure what kind of pasta it was (soy or corn maybe) but it was delicious; it tasted just ‘’like the real thing’’. Almost all of the entrees can be accommodated and changed slightly if needed, to be made gluten free. The only appetizers that have gluten are the Arancini, Indian Fusion Shrimp Salad and the croutons in the Caesar salad.
The interior is one large open dining area and an open kitchen. I love open kitchens because you get to see all the action! We sat near the kitchen and were able to catch a glimpse of many of the meals being served, each one looked better than the next.
What I liked about Da Vinci’s over the Italian restaurants in the North End is that we didn’t feel like we were sitting on top of the people next to us; we had plenty of space between our table and the next. In the North End you are usually elbow to elbow with the table next to you and your can hear every word of their conversation.
Since it was such a beautiful night (85 degrees in March!) they had the big doors open and seating on the outside patio. I would definitely go back in the summer time just to sit outside, not that it has a great scenic view but I love al fresco dining.
The food was absolutely delicious. We both started with the Organic Green Salad; organic greens with red grapes, sliced almonds and shaved Parmiginao Reggiano (a.k.a. Parmesan), tossed in a moscato vinaigrette. It was delicious; I loved the dressing! It was light and sweet yet had a bit of sourness to it. I looked up a recipe (below) and I cannot wait to try it myself.
For my entrée I really wanted the Indian Fusion Masala Ravioli, and I was so disappointed that they did not make gluten free raviolis; but still quite happy that I could eat anything on the menu and have pasta. The Indian Fusion Masala Ravioli is a house made Indian-Italian fusion ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese, English peas, and ginger then coated in a spicy tomato cream sauce and finished with a curry leaf pistachio pesto. I know, your mouth is watering just reading that right? Well this just sounded so good I asked if it was possible to use penne with this sauce and pesto, with ricotta on the side and they were able to do it. Granted it was not the true dish but it was to die for. They didn’t have ricotta that night (bizarre since the food is made fresh daily and it is in the dish…). Instead I was given fresh shaved Parmesan. The best part of the dish, which I would go back just for this, was the pistachio pesto. It was the best pesto I have ever had. The combination of Indian and Italian sauces left me craving more when it was all gone. I wanted to lick my plate.
For dessert we both had the Chocolate Mousse. It was very light and flavorful. It was a small portion, but I was pretty full from the meal anyways so the size was just right. Everything was perfectly portioned and beautifully presented.
The food was fantastic, the décor is elegant and the service was wonderful and so attentive; top notch. The water glasses were never empty. We weren’t rushed at all, we had a nice leisurely meal and we were there for about two hours. By the time we left at 8pm the place was packed; not an empty table in the entire restaurant.
They also have a very nice wine list, with very reasonably priced bottles. It’s nice to see such a variety of wines and prices available, especially for those of us who are young and can’t quite afford the $80+ bottle of wines, let alone the $50 bottles. I tried a glass of the Santa Marina Pino Grigio ($8/glass). It was light and refreshing with a note of fruit, pear maybe. I liked the fruity and citrus flavors yet it wasn’t too sweet and not too dry.
The entrees range from $22 - $26 for the pasta dishes, and $29-$39 for the fish, chicken and meat dishes. I would go back any day and try another pasta dish. The prices for the pasta dishes are very reasonable, especially compared to the traditional North End Italian Restaurants, and the quality of food, not to mention the impeccable service, beats most of the restaurants of been to in the North End.
Location: 162 Columbus Ave., Boston
Moscato Vinaigrette: recipe from this blog.
¾ cup Moscato vinegar (if moscato vinegar is not available, white balsamic vinegar is a good substitute)
1 teaspoon shallots, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon (or whole-grain) mustard
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste.