When DePasquale Brothers in South Medford closed its doors many years ago, Medford lost a true classic; this was an Italian restaurant that looked like it was straight out of a movie set, with red and white tablecloths, photos of Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Rocky Marciano, and others adorning the walls of the basement room, and heaps of old-fashioned Italian food like you might find at home (if you came from an Italian family, that is). And when it closed, it seemed like yet another unique Boston restaurant was gone for good. Fortunately, however, another similar eatery took over DePasquale's old location, and not only has Bocelli's kept the old-world atmosphere, but it has quite possibly surpassed DePasquale's in food quality, and is now a fixture in the wonderful old close-knit neighborhood of South Medford.
Walk into Bocelli's and you will find a similarly intriguing layout to DePasquale's, with a few upgrades here and there. The main floor looks like a pizza place (perhaps because it is, more or less), fooling many a patron into thinking that Bocelli's is a simple sub shop. Not so, however; if you look to the left there is a slightly hidden dining area and if you look to the right when first entering, there is a steep, winding staircase that leads to a cozy, romantic basement dining room where full Italian meals are served. And what food items they have at Bocelli's; delicious takes on such classics as pasta fagioli, Caesar salads, veal saltimboca, chicken parmigiana, shrimp scampi, fettuccine alfredo, house-made lasagna, and, yes, thin-crust Italian-style pizza (including sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom) that is much like that of the old DePasquale's. The meals at Bocelli's tend to be pretty substantial, so be prepared to take half (or more) of your meal home unless you are very hungry.
More than a few people (including yours truly) have sentimental memories of DePasquale's, including Sunday dinners, trips from work during lunch hour, and quick runs over for pizza to go. And Bocelli's indeed maintains the special atmosphere of its predecessor, while also upping the quality of the cuisine to a level that should satisfy lovers of old-fashioned Italian food.
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