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Best New Italian in Boston Area: Giulia in Cambridge, MA

[Photographs: Elizabeth Bomze]

I remember thinking that Cantabrigians had gotten a great Christmas present when Giulia opened last December. The stylish yet low-key Porter Square space came with the promise of Michael Pagliarini, former executive chef at Back Bay's higher-falutin Italian dining room Via Matta, his Umbrian roots, and his considerable pasta-making skills.

That kind of profile breeds high expectations, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I went into my first meal there with cautious optimism. It's not that I doubted there'd be a few standout dishes, but there are plenty of restaurants—particularly Italian ones—that sound like they'll impress but fall short of truly memorable.

This isn't one of them. I can say that honestly because I haven't stopped thinking about the resilient spring of the bucatini rigate and the smoky char of the grilled radicchio. Just about everyone else I know who's been there (including critics at the Boston Globe and Improper Bostonian) will back me up. In fact, there are very few restaurants I can think of that received such unanimously enthusiastic praise, and that right out of the starting gates. When I go back, it'll be hard not to order the same dishes I had last weekend. Check out all the dishes in the slideshow »

Giulia

1682 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (map)
617-441-2800; giuliarestaurant.com

About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.

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