With the slew of new restaurants sprouting up in and around Boston, Chef Michael Pagliarini and his wife, Pam, have added one more for the books on the Cambridge side of the river.
Their restaurant, Giulia (pronounced, 'Julia), joins Chef Will Gilson's Puritan and Company for late November openings.
Like Gilson, Chef Mike worked at various kitchens in various positions, including the top position at Via Matta, before taking a step away in order to plan for a brick and mortar of his own.
Also like Gilson, I first met Chef Mike at a popup dinner thrown by a friend about a year ago. One taste of his cooking and I was hooked and absolutely thrilled to hear about his restaurant in the works.
All this considered, it should come as no surprise how happy I was to be invited to the soft opening a couple of weeks ago. I brought a friend along and between the two of us...and the group of friends we ended up joining mid-meal, we managed to try almost everything on the menu:)
Unfortunately, the lighting, though great for atmosphere, was not conducive to taking pictures and the last thing I wanted to do was disturb other diners with obnoxious flashes (which tend to do no justice to the dishes anyways). I did get a decent picture of their clam appetizer (pictured above). Spinach, chick peas and thick cut pancetta accompanied juicy and plump clams dressed in a light but oh so tasty white wine-based sauce.
Of the appetizers, the burrata (imported from Italy) was another favorite, so fresh and creamy.
We went on to try most of their entrees, with a lamb sausage surprisingly being my favorite dish. Above and beyond however, are Chef Mike's pastas. All are made fresh in the kitchen daily and range from Maine lobster stuffed agnolotti to a delicious bluefish puttanesca with ripe olives, capers, anchovies served with maltagliati (long and wide pasta). The pasta came out perfectly al dente with every dish and Mike gets extra brownie points for cutting his pancetta extra thick:)
The desserts were equally impressive and let's remember, this was all on one of their first nights serving to the public!!!! I loved their Italian cookie assortment, but was again taken by surprise when my favorite dessert was their panna cotta, light and creamy, and yet with a world of substance.
The space is warm and welcoming, right near Porter Square. As with most things on 'the other side' of the river, it may seem a bit far, but after the meal I had, which was wonderful, friendly and professional from the moment I walked in to the minute we all walked out, I will make the trip as often as I can...and you should as well:)