Boston >Food & Dining > Grotto
37 Bowdoin St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211442.359955 -71.062977
Neighborhoods: Back Bay, Beacon Hill
Small Beacon Hill Basement – I went to the Grotto for Boston's Restaurant Week and it is now one of my favorite restaurants. We were allowed to select from the whole menu which was a plus. Everything we ordered was delicious! We had the steak fondue, beet salad, gnocchi with braised short ribs and proscuitto wrapped steak tenderloin. All were simply divine, even the beet salad that is fairly simple but presented well. I can't wait to go again and this review is making me hungry!
Wonderful Sauce – Grotto has some the best red sauce this side of Italy. I live in Beacon Hill and have come to this place on several occasions. If you want the best spaghetti and meatballs in Boston this is the place (sounds boring I know). The gnocchi and short ribs are also delicious along with the sweet potato ravioli appetizer. The Italian food here is as good, (or better) than any place in the North End and you don't have to put up with the crowded and loud North End. The prices are also reasonable. The ambiance, and cocktails are very average. Wine List is OK, not great. The interior space is small and needs a facelift, but that comes with doing business in Beacon Hill where most restaurants are like this. If you want great food at a reasonable price, and can live without a full service bar and cutting edge decor then this is your place.
State House employees and Beacon Hill civilians head underground to enjoy creative, contemporary Italian fare. – The Scene
This subterranean dining room, within shouting distance of the State House, provides one of Beacon Hill's most intimate dining options. Filibustering politicos make up much of the lunch crowd, while casually dressed couples feed an early-evening rush. Exposed brick walls display a selection of local art, all of it for sale. Gregarious, jeans-clad waitresses ferry food and drink from the rear kitchen, including selections from a user-friendly wine list.
Grotto's straightforward menu includes inventive spins on familiar Italian favorites. Prosciutto arrives wrapped around beef tenderloin, while the house Bolognese sauce features three different meats. Begin your meal with a bowl of homemade tomato soup (served with a petite grilled-cheese sandwich), before moving on to a savory breast of rosemary chicken, cooked "under a brick" and served with zesty lemon risotto. Considering the generous portions, you'll likely only have room for a trio of homemade sorbets for dessert.
Great Food and Presentation – I finally had to dine at Grotto after two friends had recommended it to me separately. The recommended dishes were their Fondue with Steak and Mushroom (appetizer) and the Duck dish. I have to say, both exceeded my expectation. The steak was cooked medium rare to perfection and tasted great when dipped in the cheese. Also, the duck was prepared in two ways and both were superb. Also to try is the Garlic soup with truffle, which had a very subtle yet deep flavor. The desserts were just ok but everything else was great. I highly recommend it.
A WONDERFUL experience! – So, either things have changed a lot at Grotto in the last few months, or I went to a different restaurant than the people who have complained about it. We went last night -- for *gasp* Restaurant Week, no less (when so many people complain about service and menus) -- and had a wonderful experience from beginning to end. The staff was friendly and helpful, including our waitress who was attentive without being obtrusive, and helpful with suggestions. The Menu was extensive and had so many delicious looking choices it was nearly impossible to order. When we did, we were both extremly happy with our dishes. We both especially loved (cuz we had to share tastes, of course) the cavatelle and the gnocchi (the short ribs were AMAZING), as well as the tenderloin (cooked to perfection), and the chocolate volcano cake and banana bread puding were the perfect finish to the evening. We will most definitely be returning, again and again (there's so much on the menu we still want to try!)
Wost place ever – I went to Grotto with a group of friends for Restaurant Week and was highly disappointed. Not only we were ignored by the wait staff, but the food was awful. Don't go there if you want a nice waiter, delicious food or a reasonable bill.
Excellent food, reasonably priced – I've been there twice, the first visit was transcendental, the second far less so, but both times I was supremely impressed by the quality of the food, although I was not blown away by the service on either visit.
That said... order the beef tenderloin. I did on my first visit, and on the second, my mother and girlfriend did. Each time it was cooked to perfection, and was the best dish at the table. Other highlights include a braised short rib gnocchi, and an amazing cavatelle.
The molten chocolate cake is a decadent dessert, and their coffee list (served in individual french presses) is ubsurdly excellent (I recommend the Kona).
At one room it can get loud, but the decore is excellent, and I would recommend this over many of the more popular North End locales, if just for the inventiveness of the dishes.
Unpleasant. Bad food, bad service – Simply, horrible. Either too salty(heavy on cheese), or too sweet(duck). Beef tenderloin with cheese risotto: simply not edible. Risotto was extremely salty. Meat had a liver-like consistency.
Were seated across from the food prep entrance/curtain. could see staff's gestures and hear unflatteringly remarks about customers. A complete turn off for us.
When asked how our food was, I commented that some of the entrees were a bit rich. I was being tactful. we found a lot of our dishes inedible and left them uneaten. Answering thus, in retrospect, was a mistake-- not only was my comment ignored, our entire table was ignored from that point on. We were surprised by this unprofessional reaction. We had to ask several times for our bill, and the staff just stared and completely ignored us as we were leaving!
What a waste of money. This was an unpleasant dining experience.
Amazing food, inviting atmosphere – My husband and I have been here twice, once with family members, and both times we had a great experience. The food is truly delectable - our favorites have been the gnocci, the butternut squash ravioli, the truffle pasta, and the scallops in pumpkin risotto. The service was good - unobtrusive yet we had everything we needed in a timely manner. The atmosphere is great, too - it's garden-level space is made cosy and inviting with warm lighting and colors. Very romantic.
Watch out for the waiter with the ponytail!! – I went to Grotto for a special occasion recently. The food was really great - the beef tenderloin with the risotto was absolutely wonderful (although I ordered it medium and it was definitely medium rare) and the banana bread pudding was divine. What tarnished a truly enjoyable experience was our waiter. First, we ordered a nice bottle of wine right after we sat down. We had to ask him to bring us water, which he never did, so we asked the hostess. We ordered our dinner with the server, and after about 30 minutes of sitting with just water he came back saying he forgot what we ordered! Meanwhile tables that filled long after ours were getting served. He finally brings the wine (afterbeing reminded) just as our first courses are being served. He was very gruff and unfriendly, but it appeared as though all the other servers were attentive.
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