Boston >Food & Dining > Sportello
348 Congress St, Boston, MA | Directions 0221042.350603 -71.048605
Neighborhoods: D Street / West Broadway, South Boston
I heart Sportello! – Great atmosphere and excellent food. Tagliatelle Bolognese is my absolute favorite.
Not on my list to try again anytime soon – Sportello looks and is a trendy restaurant. We went there for a late dinner on a friday night and ended up waiting 35 minutes for a table. That's fine since I don't expect to be sat immediately when I don't have a reservation. However, I wish they had a better place to wait. Our choices were either the dining area where we could awkwardly stare at the diners or in the entry-way where it's basically the size of a medium sized closet. When we were sat, I had to walk around the back of the bakery to get to my seat and my seat was actually diagonal to my friend's seat because the tables are so thin and narrow! Our knees and feet kept hitting each other. That was very uncomfortable. Our server was friendly and attentive. I started with the spicy tomato soup which was fine. For my entree, I had the carbonara which seriously lacked in flavor. Hamburger helper has more flavor than their carbonara. I really disliked the pasta noodles that they used as well - too thin. My friend had the summer soup which she did not like and roman gnocchi which tasted good, but was unlike any gnocchi either of us had tried. For instance, the gnocchi was more like chunks of potato rather than potato pasta. I may try Sportello at some point in the future, but probably not for a long time.
A gem in Fort Point – First off I will get my complaint out of the way. Sometimes it is nice to face your dining partner. If you can swing it, get a table or a corner of the counter. Okay, now move on to the good stuff. I have eaten dinner here several times and had brunch twice. The dinners were impeccable. Brown butter sage sauce over homemade pasta, amazing chestnut bisque. I mention these but remember the menu is always changing and so some of these may not be available. Regardless, there will be a small but substantial selection of pastas, meats and sides to enjoy. Tender gnocchi, raviolis and unique sauces are some of the consistent items that I have enjoyed. The wine selection is small but well chosen. For brunch there are amazing whole wheat pancakes with blueberries, a brioche 'french toast' and simple things like housemade granola with greek yogurt and fruit. Yum! If you have room for dessert, there are several options on the menu. In addition, the dessert case is packed full of amazing cookies, tarts, cupcakes and other sweets that are a feast for the eyes and palate. I have to confess that I love Barbara Lynch's food and have yet to be disappointed. Yes, one might complain about the price and the size of entrees but do you really need to be eating enough pasta for 2 adults? Savor, enjoy and let your taste buds orgasm.
Bakery-love, Brunch-not so much – I've experienced Sportello in a few capacities (none of which has been dinner thus far).
Lunch- Sportello is probably best for lunch. My mom, cousin and I were able to get sandwiches from the prepared foods case b/c they had some great looking vegetarian options. All were pretty good but my favorite part was the whipped ricotta and stewed fruit served to you before your meal with bread.
Bakery- They have fantastic baked goods, and they're all reasonable priced for the quality. Their hazelnut macaron is amazing.
Brunch-I went for brunch with my boyfriend and his family during the water crisis. Our waiter told us right away that they didn't have mimosas, OJ, bloody marys, etc. Fair enough, we thought. UNTIL we saw other waiters bring out both OJ and mimosas to at least a half dozen other patrons!!! WTF!!! We would have inquired except that our waiter was nowhere to be found basically until the end of the meal. Ugghh. Other cons: my beloved whipped ricotta and bread is apparently not served at brunch; my brioche french toast was mediocre and did not come with the whipped ricotta as indicated on the menu. My french toast also needed more maple syrup but it took forever to flag down our waiter.
I'll continue to come back for the baked goods definitely, lunch maybe, brunch,. no thanks
Good homemade pasta – Cute Modern Italian Restaurant at Boston's Waterfront
My biggest weakness is Italian cuisine and that is why I always end up picking Italian restaurant for Valentine's Day. Sportello is located at the Waterfront area of Boston, which seems like a newly developed district and wasn't packed with weekend crowds at all.
The restaurant is painted all in white with tables lining up in squares and surrounding the kitchen. I like its modern decor and the manager quickly sat us down. I have heard they home-make all their pasta and bread so I know pasta is something we definitely have to try. We ordered the Warm Winter Salad to start and for entree we got Orecchiette lamb Ragout and Tagliatelle Bolognese.
I think the highlight of the dinner probably is the Orecchiette; the flavor is explosive and the pasta really is amazing. Tagliatelle however, is blend comparatively. I had a good time here nonetheless but I do think their pasta is a little pricey. It is definitely a cute place to bring your date.
Disappointing (very expensive) food – I don't mind paying for great food and great service but when I pay high prices for bad food, it really ticks me off. I first visited Sportello for lunch and apparently made the lucky choice of ordering a panzanella salad and pasta bolognese. Their panzanella was a great modern twist on the classic bread salad with perfectly sliced fresh summer vegetables, perfectly toasted croutons, and some delicious kind of pesto off to side to dip into. The bolognese was simply wonderful! On the way out I decided to make a few choices from the bakery but apparently the handsome idiot behind the counter didn't know the difference between a german chocolate cupcake and a coconut cupcake, nor a macaroon from a meringue because almost everything I ordered in the bag was wrong. When I was in the neighborhood again last evening, a friend and I decided to stop in for dinner...and what a disappointment. The complimentary scali bread with whipped ricotta, olive oil and fig jam needs to be rethought. On both visits the fig jam was nothing more than a small fig --no jam-- that you really can't share. The spicy tomato soup was watery and bland. The accompanying caraway grilled cheese was tasty although paper thin and not at all what I was expecting. My friend order calmari with beans and eggplant which was equally as flavorless. To their credit, both apps were taken off the bill when we sent them back. My entree, the pantacce with pork cheeks, parsnip and quince was filled with wonderful flavors but was a small portion. The three very tiny pieces of pork were very tender and delicious, and the parsnip shavings and finely diced quince added a nice texture and sweetness to counterbalance the saltiness of the parmesan shards and braising liquid. The pasta was perfectly al dente with the exception of one large lump of several pantacce that were stuck together in a lump and, as a result, completely raw in the middle. They should have seen that. And I left kind of hungry. Overall, Sportello just doesn't offer a good value and, these days, people just don't to feel they're wasting their money. I think I've experienced enough of Sportello.
trendy spot – I went here for lunch and had a very nice meal. I had the panini and tried the baked stuffed maccheroni. The panini was pretty good, but the maccheroni was amazing!! I wish that I could get the recipe!!! The atmosphere was nice and clean, but not super comfortable. Our waitress was very nice and the open kitchen was pleasant to watch although I did notice one of the chef's eating as he was making a meal. The meals were a little on the pricey side.
Don't bother - not worth sitting down – Went to Sportello last Saturday night with friends to check out the place and have dinner...what a mistake. Bottom line - VERY VERY uncomfortable place to sit and eat a meal (all stools are fixed to the floor do not rotate for conversation with your group). We only made it thru apps before my leg fell asleep...portions were very small and were not that good considering the price . Menu was limited and they claim there is an "extensive wine list" - I believe there are a total of 9 red wines on their list...we spent 190 bucks on 3 (small) apps and 2 bottles of their least expensive wines, what a waste - ended up at Prezza and had an awesome meal - don't bother with Sportello for dinner.
Good but REALLY PRICEY!!!!! – Barbara Lynch has clearly grand vision and sportello shows it. It is essentially like eating in a cafeteria - albeit clean, modern with Italian accents but it is also clear her prices are even more Italian with premiums equivalent to the Euro vs. the dollar. Dinner for two - two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts and teas plus a $54 wine with a 20% tip totaled to over $200. That was a shocker - Okay my food was good but not the quality worthy of $75 a head and was priced as though I was eating in NYC. The service was good too but I was sitting on a stool at a counter with a laminated menu as my place mat- why such a premium on the food is necessary is beyond me. On a recent public radio talk show Lynch commented that Boston restaurants were on par with NYC's - as a New Yorker that goes to NY once a month I beg to differ. Convivio - one of NYCs finer new eateries has a $59 prix fixe menu, with a stunning dining room, excellent service and an ambiance that Sportello cannot match- not to mention the food. Bar Boulud is another great example of outstanding food, service and ambiance where a recent meal for three was almost the equivalent of my bill at Sportello. I am willing to pay for fine dining but when it is at an upscale diner in South Boston, with good- not great food - that is where I draw the line.
Barbara Lynch's First Disappointment – In short, my experience at Sportello was awful, which is surprising coming from a Barbara Lynch restaurant.
I have been to No. 9 Park, B&G and Butcher Shop, all of which I loved - Sportello wasn't anywhere close to the same quality.
First, the service was horrible (not trendy or casual, just horrible). Our waitress knew little about the menu and was very inattentive. Second, the food was not anywhere close to what you would expect from a Barbara Lynch restaurant. The pasta was poorly cooked, the tagliatelle in "bolognese sauce" came in a white cream sauce (not a light tomato sauce) and had almost no meat, the bigoli came with a no clams and 1 piece of sea urchin, the swordfish was bland and surprisingly dry for being served in a broth - I would not have served any of these three dishes to guests in my home, let alone an upscale restaurant. The braised short ribs was the only dish that had any flavor to it whatsoever. Just so that I don't leave anything out, the portions were small and a dish cost between $22 and $25. So where does this leave us? Fairly expensive, poor tasting, small portioned dishes served by an unenthusiastic wait staff (to be fair, the atmosphere was somewhat interesting).
I brought my out-of-town brother and fiance to this restaurant confident that I would be showing them a good time in Boston (it was a Lynch restaurant after all) - I was sadly mistaken. I would not recommend Sportello to anyone.
On the flip side, Drink, the bar below Sportello, was fantastic.
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