62 Restaurant & Wine Bar
Photo by Fawn DeViney
Chef Antonio Bettencourt’s pasta “rags” with ricotta, asparagus, and house-made bread crumbs is delish, and his light touch with modern Italian-inspired dishes pulled Salem 62 to the head of the pack in this popular cuisine category. Focused on creative Italian “craft cooking,” this delightful chef offers a variety of pastas such as parpardelle with lobster, roasted tomatoes, basil, mint, and Thai chilies (the chilies add an additional layer of intensity). Goat cheese agnolotti with roasted beets, pancetta, and wild arugula is another favorite of patrons. Secodi plates of roasted cod, duck breast, salmon and skirt steak are cooked with precision. The restaurant’s vibe is sophisticated and inviting. A long, low banquette in the bar is the perfect spot to start your evening with a cocktail, such as Cherry Bourbon Lemonade or an Indian Summer with spicy tequila, grapefruit, lime, and Aperol. Spuntini or small plates are in the offering—braised pork belly with spicy red cabbage is a specialty. Bettencourt worked in restaurants such as Tomasso Trattoria in Southborough, before settling into this bewitchingly delicious restaurant in Salem.
62 Wharf St., Salem, 978-744-0062, 62restaurant.com
TASTER’S CHOICE/TRADITIONAL ITALIAN
Andiamo Restaurant + Bar
With classic Italian dishes such as tagliatelle alla Bolognese, shrimp scampi, rigatoni alla Cabonara, Andiamo’s chef-owner Jim Rogers gets high marks for his tasty, hearty fare. Many of the ingredients used in these classic dishes are made in-house, including the mozzarella, burrata, ravioli, sausage, and focaccia.
24 Winter St., Newburyport, 978-255-4341, andiamo-restaurant.com
Joseph’s Trattoria, Bakery, Café
Crab ravioli, veal medallions, and fresh lobster meat in a lemon cream sauce beat out any surf and turf dish you will encounter. Fresh pasta, housemade sauces, and a delightful staff make your traditional Italian dining experience extra delicious.
145 Oxford Ave. Haverhill, 978-374-8288, josephstrattoria.com
Prides Osteria’s executive chef, Paolo Laboa, grew up in Genoa, Northern Italy’s major seaport. It is here where Laboa cultivated his culinary skills—he’s won world competitions for his pesto and was named Italy’s best young chef when starting his career. Laboa believes in using the freshest ingredients—no hormones, no antibiotics, and always grass fed and organic. Laboa does not post a menu online as it changes daily so every visit is a surprise!
240 Rantoul St., Beverly, 978-969-0083, pridesosteria.com
A sampling of tastes from around Italy is what you will find just over the border in Salem, New Hampshire. Tuscany’s rustic breads, Napoli’s thin crust pizza, and tagliatelle from Bologna are just some of the highlights from owner Joe Faro’s Italian hot spot.
63 Main St., Salem, New Hampshire, 603-912-5467, tuscanbrands.com