Bursting with goat cheese, sweet potato, lobster, and other fresh ingredients, the Italian classic steals the show at these local pasta spots.
Even the plainest of pastas, tossed in simple red or butter sauces, can excite discerning eaters. But molded into circles or squares and stuffed with fresh ricotta, black truffle, or pancetta? That’s when the real fun begins. Luckily, Boston offers any number of places to dig into the pillowy perfection that is ravioli, a staple of traditional Italian cuisine. Here are 10 of our favorites.
The soft red glow of the neon letters adorning Bacco’s facade might be the first thing you notice as you approach its entrance on the corner of Salem and Parmenter Streets, but we’re confident it won’t just be the restaurant’s curb appeal (and equally inviting interior) that keeps you coming back for more. Bacco’s lengthy menu of Italian eats has inspired many a repeat customer, with four ravioli options among the ample highlights. May we suggest the porcini, whipped up with prosciutto and caramelized shallot cream? It’s an excellent follow-up to the fontina- and basil-fueled arancine, or any other antipasti your belly desires.
107 Salem St., Boston, bacconorthend.com.
When acclaimed chef (and Belmont native) Mark Ladner announced he’d be opening a restaurant in Cambridge after years of helming New York City hotspots—including Del Posto, where he earned a Michelin star—local foodies buzzed with anticipation. And Bar Enza, which officially launched at the Charles Hotel in 2021, doesn’t disappoint. Here, among other alluring dishes, Ladner serves up robiolina-filled ravioli topped with fresh-shucked corn, house-made truffle butter, aged pecorino, and garlic chives. Sign us up.
One Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-5050, bar-enza.com.
We’ve long sung the praises of this South End go-to, which first rolled out its popular coastal-Italian cuisine in 2016. While it’s certainly tempting to pack your appetizer order with Bar Mezzana’s stellar Negronis and ultra-fresh crudo (see: the yellowtail with grapefruit and pickled chili), do yourself a favor and save room for the restaurant’s house-made pastas—particularly the ravioli. Stuffed with goat cheese and ricotta, Bar Mezzana’s ravioli offering basks in a butter sauce with chanterelle mushrooms, corn, and chopped jalapenos.
360 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-530-1770, barmezzana.com.
Allston isn’t exactly the first (or even second) neighborhood that springs to mind for most pasta-seeking locals, but you’d be wrong to discount this Brighton Ave. gem. Family-owned and operated for decades, Carlo’s churns out huge (and decidedly delicious) dishes of your favorite Italian American comfort foods, including a mouthwatering lobster ravioli in pink-vodka sauce. Enjoy it via sit-down service at one of a handful of tables inside the tiny restaurant, or order it to go for an evening of elevated takeout on your couch. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
131 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-9759, carloscucinaitaliana.com.
Fox & the Knife
Living and working in Modena, Italy inspired chef Karen Akunowicz to open the critically acclaimed Fox & the Knife, an Italian enoteca set just steps from Broadway Station. Here, the James Beard Award winner puts her culinary prowess to work with a range of creative plates including hand-rolled pastas, not the least of which is the raviolo carbonara—complete with guanciale (a.k.a cured pork jowl) and brown butter. Just make sure you order some of the restaurant’s focaccia to mop up any leftover sauce, lest you leave any behind.
28 W. Broadway, Boston, 617-766-8630, foxandtheknife.com.
Set below street level, this longstanding Beacon Hill spot is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. So punch “37 Bowdoin” into your Google Maps app, and bring your appetite: You’ll need it to tuck into the many enticing dishes on Grotto’s menu, which includes a nightly prix fixe option (should you be so inclined). If ravioli is what you crave, go classic with the house-made ricotta, served with basil, tomato, and parmesan, or try something different with the patata dolce—a sweet-potato ravioli featuring bacon, cheese, and brown-butter sauce.
37 Bowdoin St., 617-227-3434, Boston, grottorestaurant.com.
Wood beams and exposed-brick walls set the stage at this cozy Brookline eatery, but the northern Italian fare cooked by chef/co-owner Josh Ziskin is the true star of the show. One shining example? The ravioli ai piselli, prepared with peas, ricotta, mint, and prosciutto. Pair it with one of La Morra’s exceptional vinos—curated by co-owner Jen Ziskin, a certified sommelier and Italian wine specialist—for the perfect balance of flavors.
48 Boylston St., 617-739-0007, Brookline, lamorra.com.
Come for Piattini’s pair of Newbury Street patios—ideal for sipping prosecco while you people-watch during the warmer, tourist-heavy months—but carve out plenty of time to stay for its solid roster of Italian small plates, which make it easy to sample a number of yummy creations. When you’ve had your fill of dishes like beef carpaccio and seared tuna with ramp gremolata, choose from three ravioli styles: black truffle, lobster, or fresh burrata. Don’t eat meat or dairy? You’re in luck; Piattini even makes a vegan ravioli, stuffed with Impossible burger “beef,” roasted garlic, and lemon zest.
226 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-2020, piattini.com.
When you take a seat at one of Prezza’s cloth-covered tables, kick off your meal by ordering the restaurant’s signature “Dirty Italian” martini. Garnished with a prosciutto- and provolone-stuffed pepper, the vodka-powered cocktail will tide you over while you weigh your myriad food options—including three types of hand-made ravioli. On our must-try list? The corn raviolini, with uber-flavorful rock shrimp and pancetta.
24 Fleet St., Boston, 617-227-1577, prezza.com.
Once featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this family-owned Eastie standout has impressed even the Mayor of Flavortown with its authentic Italian cooking—especially evident in the filling-packed lobster ravioli. Chef Anthony DiCenso, who took over the business from his parents Rino and Anna, crafts his beloved take with imported extra-virgin olive oil and ricotta, Italian parsley, diced shallots, parmigiano reggiano, and (of course) mounds of fresh lobster.
258 Saratoga St., Boston, 617-567-7412, rinosplace.com.