While the city of Boston has countless restaurants, some of the best dining spots in the city are actually nowhere near the downtown area. Take Delfino, for example; this little place in the heart of Roslindale Village matches up with most any Italian restaurant in Boston, yet it remains relatively unknown (except to locals) perhaps because of the fact that it is several miles from downtown and is also not on any subway line. But Delfino is certainly a special spot that deserves to be considered by anyone who loves both Northern and Southern Italian cuisine.
Delfino is not flashy or glittery from the outside, blending in with the other storefronts along South Street in Roslindale Village (which is also known as Roslindale Square). The inside of the restaurant is quite pleasant, though, with dim chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings and sconces along the walls giving the dining area a romantic and soothing feel, while soft fabric walls and murals add to the warmth of the room. An open kitchen adds a bit of noise to the place, and the hard tile floor doesn't help, either, but generally the noise level remains at a respectable level.
Delfino is considered to be mainly an Italian restaurant, but the food offered here wanders a bit into French and New American territory here and there, making for a menu that is a little more interesting than one you might find at your basic Italian dining spot. The appetizer list is heavily focused on seafood, with such items as fried calamari, steamed mussels, littleneck clams, and pan-seared scallops. Grilled sourdough bruschetta and sauteed broccoli rabe are also offered, as is a wonderfully creamy arancini (rice ball) that unfortunately is not offered all the time. Entrees include a delightful plate of pappardelle, arugula, and shrimp mixed with a mild pink sauce; freshly-made pasta rounds stuffed with a savory and slightly bitter mix of sundried tomatoes, swiss chard, pinenuts, ricotta, and goat cheese; Statler chicken stuffed with an aromatic basil pesto, creamy Vermont goat cheese, and flavorful sun-dried tomatoes; and a pasta bolognese with a hearty sauce made up of beef, veal, pork, tomatoes, and mascarpone cheese. Other entrees include lamb chops, pan-seared duck breast and confit duck leg, and gnocchi with fennel and sausage. Desserts are freshly made and include such items as tiramisu, creme brulee, and warm chocolate cake. Delfino does not have a full bar, so expect to choose between wine and beer.
Roslindale has become a bit of a hot spot for dining over the past several years, and Delfino is one of the best--if not the best--restaurants in the neighborhood. The place can get crowded with locals (and the restaurant don't take reservations), but if you go early or on a weeknight, you shouldn't have much of a problem getting a table. It may not be a household name among folks in much of the Boston area, but there is a reason why those in the know return to this place again and again, as it is definitely up there among the elite of Italian restaurants in the metro area.
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