Boston >Food & Dining > La Dolce Vita
221 Hanover St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211342.363000 -71.055100
Mon. - Sun. 11am - 11pm
Neighborhoods: North End, Central
Excellent Traditional Italian – It was Sunday afternoon (about 3PM) as we walked down Hanover street, looking for a place to "settle-in" for the next couple of hours for a leisurely dinner.
As we perused the menu outside of Dolce Vita, an elderly gent stuck his head out the door and said to us "Welcome, welcome... very good food, good price, you come in, welcome..." So we did. It wasn't busy in the restaurant, but we warned the server anyhow not to rush us. We expected to be there "quite a while." He was good with it.
We had appetizers, pasta course, entrees, and deserts. All WONDERFUL.
The Sicilian antipasto, of grilled and marinated vegetables, was awesome. Seriously, how can simple veggies grilled over charcoal taste this good? Very impressive.
We split an order of spaghetti Carbonara (the waiter asked us "egg sauce or cream sauce" -- very thorough), which was also just plain excellent.
My wife had the shrimp Scampi -- and said it wave positively lovely. I had the veal Marsala, which was truly excellent... the veal was very tender, not the shoe leather I've been served recently even in some decent restaurants.
Desert (cannolis) was fine, but nothing special.
Overall, a very pleasant experience. I'd certain go back, and I'd certainly recommend Dolce Vita.
Awesome North End Experience!! :) – My brother's college roommate is visiting us from Brooklyn and he had never been to Boston before (gasp!) so I was in charge of giving him a great Boston experience. I thought the North End woulod be a fantastic cap off to his trip. Usually when dining in the North End I usually choose a restaurant by strolling around and browsing menus but I went out on a limb and chose Dolce Vita from their website. We had a 6:30 reservation, and while my brother and his friend arrived on time, my parents and sister and I were late. This was no problem, however, they sat my brother and friend and our table was still there when we arrived 20 minutes late. Our server was very accomodating making it a very relaxed experience. He let my younger sister choose whatever she would like to eat and fixed a plate for her. The owner was EXTREMELY sweet and engaging, not at all rude like some other reviews have mentioned. He chose a bottle of wine for me and told me if I didn't like it I would not have to pay for it. There were two little girls at the table next to us and he invited them up to dance with him and the accordian player and kissed them on the foreheads when they left. He even posed for pictures with them for their parents. He watched over the dining room throughout the whole meal and made sure each guest was being attended to. The atmosphere was perfect. It is such a trendy, beautiful place with rice oil paintings on the walls and white table cloths which are complimented by the ebulient zest of the servers and staff that make you feel as though you are eating at home. The food was delicious! Then for dessert they made us a special dessert of a large piece of tiramisu surrounded by a cannoli for each of us. While I wouldn't recommend conducting a serious business transaction there, I would HIGHLY recommend Dolce Vita for almost any other event or party of any size! I would especially recommend it for visitors with children, there are very few places so welcoming!
Phenomenal..for a dining experience – When you go to Dolce Vita, it's all about the experience. If you want food fast, go to Burger King. Going to this restaurant is like walking into a celebration. Everything is done with enthusiasm. The owner greets everyone with a warm welcome. If it's someone's birthday, everyone in the restaurant joins in and sings making it a special place. Whatever you want, the chef will make. The wine is delicious and the service is impeccable. A warning though, this is not for a short evening. If you are a person who rushes through dinner or wants to sit quietly then this is not for you. I can't emphasize how fantastic this restaurant is for people looking for a dining experience in Italy and not just a plate of pasta.
Worst Ambience – My friend and I had made a reservation on a Saturday night for 2. Once we got there, no one greated us and had to hunt down the host/owner. We sat at the bar and waited an hour past our reservation time before we were seated. From 8:30pm until close there must have been 8 birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated, which is fine. But it's not ok when they turn the lights out and sing (with an accordion and microphone with the owner joining in) for 10 minutes while the rest of the customers can't see what they are eating. This place was completely obnoxious and not at all enjoyable. Go somewhere else.
NEVER AGAIN – I had made reservations a week prior to my friends birthday because she thought it looked cute from the outside. Well if we had known the outside was going to be the best part, we would never have gone. The owner was the rudest man alive, kept pushing us away and saying "bella, bella" and " ay ay ay". After waiting an hour for a table that we reserved way ahead of time and having the owner pick fights with a two of the women we were with, he tried to make it up to us by giving us a "private room". Well leading us to the basement and making us sit in a dingy old room next to the kitchen is not what I had intended for my friend's birthday. The food was pretty decent to be honest but way over priced for the proportions. It is not quiet like the restaurant advertises.Do your self a favor, don't go here!
North End mainstay serves up hearty, heaping Italian dishes with an extra side of jovial personality. – The Scene
Rare is the restaurant dominated by a figure other than the chef, but here owner Franco Graceffa serves as greeter, menu interpreter and entertainer. Only diners without a pulse won't be swayed by the Sicilian's ebullient personality as he breaks into song. Graceffa's dining room is full of romantic touches (candles, fresh flowers, Italian waiters), making this an inviting spot for a date or anniversary.
The lengthy menu is full of authentic specialties that are sure to satisfy those with an appetite. Worthy starters include an antipasto full of fresh, marinated vegetables or hearty tortellini filled with sweet peas, smoky ham and mushrooms. Pollo al verdicchio (chicken in white wine) and lobster-stuffed manicotti are exceptional in both quality and quantity. Good beer on tap and reasonably-priced wines provide perfect accompaniment. Of the dozen-plus dessert options, try the excellent, authentic gelato and spumoni.
not worth the money – two couples, 8:oopm res., told to be on time or lose res., got there at 8:00pm & waited, on the sidewalk mind you, til 8:25. expected slow service, it being feast weekend and all. waiter was very nice but the service was terrible. had to ask a diff. waiter for bread & a round, had to flag owner/manager(?) to get a round. had to send back marsala, wrong sides. ordered white wine to go with marsala, wine showed up at dessert. pasta portions were laughable...almost forgot...owner opened a bottle of DOM for the young couple next to us....the cork bounced off the tin ceiling then smacked my wife in the shoulder, left a tiny welt...when we told the owner what happened, he brushed us off, said something in italian as tho he didn't understand english, and walked away....on the flip side, when i did finally get my marsala, it was great!! altho my wifes marsala tasted like yesterdays marsala...2nd couples entrees were good....with 20% tip(small argument ensued) and drinks/app... came to $240.00 and left feeling unsatisfied and still hungry...
THE BEST!!! – We were visiting Boston for the weekend. I made reservations the week before for a Sat night @ 7pm. We showed up at 6:45pm and were seated by the owner at 7pm. The wait staff was wonderful. They paid special attention to my teen kids and joked and spoke with them often. They remembered everything about our order and it was delcious! I only wish that I had skipped Legal Seafood the previous night (it was awful!) and went to Dolce Vita for 2 nights instead! The waiter said, create your own menu...whatever you want. The carbonara was great...I'll be back for sure.
Dinner??? What Dinner??? – Had a Sat night reservation for 8pm... We were brushed off by the owner when we told him we were there waiting for our table.. "oh bella bella i see you"... At 9pm we let him know we had a show to get to at 10pm (thinking to ourselves it was too late to get into another North End restaurant at this time on Sat night we stupidly waited). Again we were treated rudely.. "bella i told you i saw you waiting... i am working very hard... we have a wait b/c of the snow"... I'm sorry does it usually not snow in Boston during the winter???? How would that effect reservations??? Finally at 9:45 we left and went to a wonderful express place on the corner!!!!!!!!!
Rude Owner- Ruins the night – The owner needs to take customer service classes! Rushed us through our meal, hovered over our shoulders, telling us that we were late for our reservation (we were 15 minutes early!), and hung up on us when we tried to call him. As it was a celebration, we were not happy. All he cared about was turning over the tables to make more money. Spent quite a bit of money to enjoy ourselves, not be stared at and watch him yell at waitstaff in front of everyone. Won't be going back.
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