Lucia Ristorante, Winchester
Philosophy: Stay true to your roots. Nearly every item on the menu has a family connection at the 30-year-old restaurant, from the Vitello Braciolettine to the Torta Nocciola, a hazelnut cake made from a recipe owner Filippo Frattaroli’s sister learned at cooking school in Italy.
Fun fact: The restaurant’s custom wines, Frattaroli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (red) and Frattaroli Pecorino (white), both from Abruzzo in central Italy, incorporate grapes from vineyards that have been in the Frattaroli family for generations, and the label features a bed-and-breakfast the family owns in the region.
Insider tip: Pasta alla Chitarra (handmade spaghetti), served with a light tomato sauce or topped with a decadent combination of wild mushrooms and white truffle oil, was a staple of Frattaroli’s youth.
9-13 Mt. Vernon St., Winchester, 781-729-0515, luciawinchester.com
One to Watch
Alto Forno, Peabody
Standout Qualities: The latest restaurant from the owners of Pellana and Daniella’s, Alto Forno recently opened to accolades. Chef Tony Bettencourt (formerly of Mano and 62 Restaurant in Salem) is at the helm of this upscale Italian eatery. Inventive takes on pasta are served alongside classics, making for an unforgetable experience.
43 Cross St., Peabody, altoforno.com
Firenze Trattoria, Salem
Standout Qualities: Chef/owner Zamir Kociaj worked in a number of top restaurants in Florence and crafts classic Tuscan dishes, like Tortelloni al Pomodoro and Trippa alla Fiorentina, from centuries-old recipes handed down through the generations.
2 Lynde St., Salem, 978-219-1188, firenzesalem.com