Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Bottega di Capri

41 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 738-5333 Find location!

Photo of Bottega di Capri, Brookline, MA Too often, the focus on pasta places is on the pasta itself, with the sauces that go on the pasta being overlooked. There's a tiny eatery in Brookline Village, however, that is quite the opposite, being all about the sauces instead of the pasta, which makes this old-school cheap eats spot a rather unique place in the Greater Boston area. And while Bottega di Capri is a just bit low on the atmosphere level, folks who live in and around Brookline Village seem not to care all that much, going there on a regular basis to dine in or do takeout.

Located in a strip of small stores on the northern edge of Brookline Village, Bottega di Capri doesn't really get the foot traffic that the heart of the village gets--and it definitely doesn't have the crowds of people walking by it as Coolidge Corner businesses do to the north. The storefront itself looks a bit like a market, convenience store, or sub shop, so it is easy to go right by the spot, thinking that it's not a place where you would grab a nice dinner. The interior is rather plain and basic, with a few tables set up close together and a counter area in the middle where you order your food, but there are some nice touches here and there, including attractive hanging lamps and sconces, pictures displayed on the walls, and earthy colors used throughout. The owners of Bottega di Capri certainly make the most out of the shoebox-sized space, though this might not be a spot to go for a night of quiet conversation.

It would probably be easier to name the pasta sauces that aren't offered at Bottega di Capri than those that are; the variety of sauces available is quite impressive, running the gamut from tomato-based sauces to cream sauces and much, much more. A few of the highlights include an incredibly rich gorgonzola sauce with cream and walnuts; a pesto rosa sauce that is a good compromise between a smooth cream sauce and a hearty tomato sauce; a vodka sauce that gets some added complexity from whole sage leaves added to it; a pesto alfredo sauce that has the added brightness of basil in the heavy cream base; vongole, which can be gotten with either white or red clam sauce; and a parma sauce, which combines the earthy taste pf porcini mushrooms with the sweet taste of sausage. The pastas at Bottega di Capri are mostly basic, with spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, penne, rigatoni, and bow tie offered, along with tortellini (cheese, meat, porcini, and pumpkin) and ravioli (cheest, meat, spinach, lobster, and a Tuscan mix). In addition to pasta, other items offered here include a wonderful prosciutto antipasto with buffalo mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, a weekly risotto special, tender and buttery meatballs, a variety of hot and cold sandwiches (including panini), and a number of specials offered each day, including chicken, lamb, eggplant, and zucchini dishes. Alcohol is not served at Bottega di Capri, but Italian drinks are available, including San Pellegrino fruit beverages (coffee and tea are also on the menu). Prices are downright cheap, with most items being under $10.

Bottega di Capri is one of those hidden gems that happens to be right out there in plain sight; indeed, thousands of people probably go by it each day, but many don't even know what it is. The upside to this, of course, is that you can usually get a seat there at dinnertime, even though there aren't many seats to be had, which allows you to enjoy the outstanding pasta sauces here in relative tranquility--or do takeout if you live nearby, as so many locals do.