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“A real gem!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Erbaluce

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116-5418 (Downtown)
617 426 6969
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Ranked #90 of 2,566 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $50
Cuisines: Italian, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
Transit: The nearest T stop is the Arlington Street stop on the Green Line. The restaurant is two blocks away, down Arlington Street toward the South End, on Park Square.
Description: Charles Draghi and Joan Johnson's highly acclaimed contemporary Italian restaurant and wine bar. With Charles' simple, ever changing menus, rooted in traditional regional Italian cooking,and the best seasonal local ingredients. This restaurant has won numerous awards and kudos from critics, and many dedicated customers. Along side the Italian menus are equally lauded, all Italian wine lists, comprised of rare and traditional village wines. Joan has created the inviting ambiance of erbaluce, which is lovely, simply elegant, and romantic- recalling the classic trattorias of Northern Italy. The enoteca/wine bar is a cozy and lively meeting place, with its own menu of simple plates and a fun cordials cocktail list. Joan's welcoming presence in the dining room, along with Charles' inventive cuisine and rare wine offerings, make an evening at erbaluce a truly wonderful and unique dining experience.
Lauderhill, Florida
Level Contributor
254 reviews
126 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“A real gem!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

I'm a wine geek, always on the lookout for wines and grapes that are new. I saw this restaurant, named for a white wine grape from the Alto Adige region of Italy, one that I'd just discovered for the first time on a recent trip to Italy. The place was right behind my hotel, so I made time on last week's business trip to Boston to check it out. It turned into a truly memorable experience.
Décor is elegant and understated...this is all about the food (the "flowers" decorating the table was a rosemary plant). Menus change from week to week (to some degree from day to day), and there are daily specials. The wine list is extensive, fairly priced, with several unique options even by the glass. The gracious hostess (and, I believe, owner) Joan is very knowledgeable about wine and their holdings (there are several bottles not on the list if you inquire). We had a nice conversation about our mutual love.
Now, to the food: before anything, I was served an opening course of chunks of whole-grain bread and Tuscan white bred, with a lima bean paste. If that latter sounds awful, think again--this was cooked with garlic, and a stick of cinnamon, pureed finely and served with a good olive oil...it was subtle but really delicious.
Next up was a Treviso salad, with radicchio leaves alternating with green leaf lettuce, lemon zest, dill, and a mound of burrito with pistachio in the middle. This medley of flavors was blended perfectly and presented beautifully.
Then I had a plate of nicchi, a ravioli-like pasta but with a top ridge, like a sailboat, stuffed with braised pork and wild boar, coated with an asparagus pesto, walnuts, and a few sliced tiny red tomatoes, and shaved parmigiano. It was fascinating, every flavor in beautiful balance (that word again!), and in a lovely presentation. All this washed down with a bottle of Freisa from Piedmont, a mineral-laced red with a slight effervescence, perfect for the meal (and a new grape for me!). Another surprise at the end, I was given a small plate with a lovely chocolate truffle and a maple meringue.
Service could not be improved. My server was efficient, friendly, attentive (though I had to come at opening time, the place filled up quickly, and she was busy), and all the other staff performed like a well-oiled, albeit friendly, machine. Prices are not cheap, but for this quality, are quite fair.
I've only been in Boston once before, but this place alone will make the return visit worthwhile.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank KentheEnchanter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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320 reviews from our community

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Ocala, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A bit of Tuscany in Back Bay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2013

This intimate Italian style restaurant is tucked away on a picturesque street just a stone's throw from the Park Plaza and Four Seasons hotels, but seems miles away from the chain restaurants of the area. It was difficult to choose from the menu of fanciful and appetizing items that changes daily. None of our selections disappointed and all were presented beautifully. Our server Jessica was an enthusiastic and informative guide to the cuisine and clearly loved where she worked, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We appreciated the availability of gluten free options. We were there on a Saturday night and there was only one seating, much like restaurants in Tuscany. We were free to linger over coffee with friends as long as we liked.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Richard M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Virginia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great Spot in Bay Village”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Decided to come to Erbaluce on the recommendation of a friend, and very glad I did. Definitely an unexpected spot in a quiet corner of Boston near the theater district, yet unlike the chain restaurants you find a block or two away. The staff were all very friendly, and the food is quite unique and excellent. The menu changes somewhat frequently, so I'll definitely come back next time I'm up in Boston. Best recommended if you're there as a couple of with a few friends, but you can ask to sit at the bar if you're there on your own, and you'll still get the full menu and service.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank joshNVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, MA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Best known secret in Boston”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

Incredible pairings of food and wine. This has been our default best restaurant for more than 4 years and it never disappoints.

Chuck Dragi is tops in our book-

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank cm3ward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
82 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Highly recommended (come with deep pockets)”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

If you really want to enjoy Erbaluce be prepared to drop between ~120$ for 2 people.
That will include a decent entree, a bottle of wine and desert.
The food was very good, the ambiance is relaxing even though the noise levels are higher than i expected (but i did not mind that).
Having said all of that, i have eaten in very good restaurants in my life (sadly most in Europe) the price you pay here compared to the quality of food is not in sync, for the quality of food they serve, it should have been somewhat less expensive.
Still, i had a good experience.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sivan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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