Sogno, the new Italian restaurant in Woburn, is ringed with plush banquette seating—more than 30 tufted leather booths, ranging from a cozy settee for two to a deep circle accommodating six, are like warm hugs, making just about any size group feel like VIPs.
The seating is just the start of Sogno’s charms. From the marble and granite geometric mosaic tiles accenting the bar to the elegant coffered ceilings, the whole space invites convivial lingering—exactly the vibe owner Ron Martignetti, who grew up in a large Italian family, wanted to create when opening his dream restaurant.
Sogno (pronounced So-n-yo) means dream in Italian, and the aptly named restaurant fulfills a lifelong desire for Martignetti, offering a wide-ranging menu of Italian classics that stretches from pizza to porchetta.
Perhaps start your visit at the stylish bar for some creative “cicchetti”—Italian-style tapas available only in the lounge—and a cocktail. Naturally, you can get an Aperol Spritz, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can swap out the Aperol for Limoncello or a seasonal spritz. Cocktails also change with the weather, and could include thoughtful drinks like the “Cuore Grato” (grateful heart), a wintery refresher made with Elena Gin, cranberry juice, cinnamon simple, lemon juice, and muddled rosemary.
The dinner menu is also available at the bar, or you can take up residence in one of those cozy banquettes to continue your food tour of the boot. Executive chef Jason Maynard, whose impressive resume includes time as executive chef at Mistral in Boston, deftly puts his own spin on the classics, starting with the Melanzane Fritte appetizer—a fun take on eggplant parmesan. Rounds of eggplant are lightly floured, egg-washed, and fried to crisp perfection on the outside, hiding velvety tenderness within, before getting topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and fior de latte, a high-quality mozzarella that adds the perfect texture after a turn in the oven.
Pair that melty, cheesy appetizer with something bright, like the Arugula salad—the greens are tossed with halved Castelvetrano olives, slices of almonds and clementines, then lightly dressed in a bright, slightly sweet lemon-orange vinaigrette softened by sweet prosecco vinegar.
It’s a refreshing interlude before diving into a pizza or pasta—or maybe sharing both. Sogno takes its pizza very seriously, using imported double-zero flour to craft a dough that ferments for 48 hours, yielding a very tender crust. Traditional toppings, like pepperoni, are available. But why not be adventurous and try a pie topped with mortadella and pistachios? Whatever your decision, it will be fired in the showcase Neopolitan-style brick pizza oven—a focal point of the open kitchen that cooks a pie at around 730 degrees Fahrenheit in about 90 seconds.
Don’t miss the decadent burrata ravioli—like all the fresh pasta, it is made specially for Sogno by Lilly’s in Everett. These pillowy bundles—four to an order—come bathed in a parmesan truffle crema made with naturally infused truffle oil, and topped with roasted mushrooms. If you prefer a classic, the tagliatelle Bolognese stars imported San Marzano tomatoes, cooked for four-to-five hours with a mixture of ground veal, sausage, and pancetta.
Knowledgeable wine drinkers will find a lot to like in Sogno’s 2,000-bottle wine cellar, on display just past the bar. It represents an evolving wine list of approximately 270 selections from all regions of Italy, some California, and select Champagnes, at prices that will enable every diner to enjoy a bottle.
Desserts are something special at Sogno. Pastry chef Emelina Kozak studied with top pastry chefs in Florence, Italy, and brought those skills to the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston and The South End Buttery before coming to the North Shore. Try the Zeppoles—impossibly light, and served with seasonally rotating house-made sauces (think apple cider mascarpone or salted caramel). It’s a generous portion and fun to share. For a grown-up trip down memory lane, order the stellar Palmare Nocciola—two chocolate panzanella cookie shells, filled with graham cracker gelato, topped with chocolate hazelnut ganache and toasted meringue. It’s like that ice cream truck treat, the Chocotaco, but elevated to fanciful new heights. It might just leave you dreaming in Italian.
304 Cambridge Rd., Woburn, 781-625-1300, sognoitalian.com