A Food Aficionado – Bottega di Capri
Bostonians know to go to the North End or our Little Italy to get great Italian food. But delicious Italian food can be had for reasonable prices outside of the North End too. Nestled in between Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village off Harvard Street is a great Italian Gourmet Deli called Bottega di Capri [41 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02445 (617) 738-5333]. This great hole in the wall serves both lunch and dinner that has a few tables.
Customers walk up to the counter to order and pick up their meals. There are daily specials and all their pastas (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, fettuccine, linguini, and bow tie to name a few) are freshly made. Their extensive menu includes Panini sandwiches, risotto, antipasto, salads along with tortellini (meat, cheese, porcini and pumpkin) and ravioli (Cheese, Meat, Tuscan, Spinach, and Lobster) are served with a broad selection of sauces to choose from.
Pollo Alla Parmigiana-fried chicken with a tomato sauce and parmesan cheese served on linguini is a bargain at $8.50. A heaping portion came out with a big piece of breaded chicken smothered by tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese over al dente penne pasta. This dish satisfied and was delicious with the fresh tomato tasting sauce. Also we chose the porcini tortellini with parma-sausage, porcini mushrooms and white wine sauce, a great combo for mushroom lovers. This dish was not overly sauced but lovely in its simplicity. For sweet tooths, they should check out the butter sage sauce (not listed) with the pumpkin tortellini. Per the counter person’s suggestion, it was the only way to eat pumpkin tortellini for only $7.95! Tomato sauce is too acidic for pumpkin and anything else would be a poor match. The sweetness of the pumpkin pairs well with the buttery sage sauce. Gnocchi (a very traditional Italian pasta) and carbonara (pancetta aka Italian bacon in a cream sauce) were not well matched as the sauce was too rich with this starchy pasta. Later learned traditionally gnocchi is paired with only tomato, pesto (garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil & parmesan) or butter sauces.
Another pasta dish we had was the tagliatelle $6.50 had a puttanesca sauce (olives, anchovies, capers, hot peppers and tomato) had a lovely heat with nice slant to this dish. All their pasta dishes come with toscano bread.
The Italian food here were reminiscent of my times traveling through Italy. I enjoyed that the pastas were cooked al dente without being over sauced. The quality and freshness of the ingredients is crucial to delicious food. So when the mood strikes and you are in Brookline Village area, check out this neighborhood gem outside of North End.