195 Main Street, Everett, MA 02149
--- Winner, Best Italian Restaurant in Boston Area, 2010 ---
Although pasta out of the box isn't the worst thing in the world, there really is nothing like fresh pasta. When it is made--and cooked--correctly, its texture and flavor can be very tough to beat, especially when combined with other fresh ingredients such as seafood, pasta, herbs, and spices. And yes, it is probably politically incorrect to extol the virtues of fresh pasta in these protein-crazy times, but what they are serving up at Abbondanza, an old-fashioned Italian eatery a few miles north of Boston in Everett, might make even the most rabid followers of today's trendy diets revert back to their old ways.
Abbondanza, which is located on Main Street just west of the downtown area of Everett, looks like a very small restaurant from the outside, but is actually quite spacious, thanks to its two floors of dining. The ground floor dining area is a bit on the romantic side, with dark, moody lighting giving a cozy overall feel to the space. A basement dining area can be accessed via a narrow staircase to the right, and while this room isn't quite as intimate as the upstairs dining area, it is comfortable and attractive, with paintings lining the walls and slightly brighter lights making up for the lack of natural lighting in the room. Both the ground floor room and the basement room have tiny bar areas with a few seats at each.
As previously mentioned, the pastas at Abbondanza are wonderful, with the lasagna being full of flavor and the rigatoni having the type of chewy consistency that you can only get from freshly-made pasta. There are some less common pasta dishes at Abbondanza as well, including butternut squash and amaretto ravioli, tortellini mixed with mushrooms and ham, and cavatelli mixed with sauteed eggplant, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and buffalo mozzarella. For those who might be looking for something other than pasta, Abbondanza does have a variety of meat and seafood dishes, with the tender veal being among the the best in the Boston area, and the frutti di mare being a seafood lover's dream, as it is overloaded with calamari, clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp. Some of the specials here are, well, special, with a few being better than nearly anything on the regular menu. The beef braciole, for instance, is outstanding, with rolled up beef that is fall-apart tender, and because the beef is on the bone, lots of extra flavor seeps into the meat. And the lamb chops are similarly tender, and have the type of rich flavor that you can only get from this type of meat. Drinks include a few beer options, a number of wines, and a nearly perfect house-made sangria as well as a rather unusual sangria martini. As with many Italian restaurants, save room for dessert, or perhaps box up half of your dinner so you can sample some of the outstanding sweets here.
While Everett is not typically a destination spot for diners, Abbondanza should definitely be one Boston-area dining place to search out. The restaurant is a fairly short distance from the busy Revere Beach Parkway, so it is easy to find, and parking is generally no problem at all. Pasta lovers will absolutely fall head over heels over this place, as will those who try some of the meat dishes served at this true hidden gem near the Malden border.
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