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“Good if uninspired food in a cramped space”
Review of Grotto

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Ranked #99 of 3,206 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cross street: Cambridge
Transit: T Stops are Park and Government Center.
Level Contributor
54 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Good if uninspired food in a cramped space”
Reviewed December 22, 2012

My wife and I arrived late into Boston and Grotto was suggested to us for a romantic dinner spot. The restaurant is located in a basement and, while the atmosphere is quite fine, the space is very cramped. I was constantly being nudged by guests going by our table.

My first course - a grilled seafood antipasti was generally good though I though the octopus was overdone and kind of mushy. My wife started off with a salad that she liked.

My second course - braised short ribs and gnocchi was quite good. My wife tried the seafood zuppa and liked it, although we both agree there was probably a bit too much saffron.

Wine list is limited, but properly focused on Italian wines with some california varieties mixed in.

Service was decent, but not exceptional.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank SSVermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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291 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed December 9, 2012 via mobile

This restaurant was a treat! Didn't expect much from a ground level place. The atmosphere is cozy but chic. My husband and I had an amazing brunch. We ordered gnocchi short ribs and duck hash, and although sounding so simple, both dishes were complex and hardly forgettable. We are definitely to come back next time in Boston.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Enjoyable, but not noteworthy.”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

A neat, crowded little spot. Very dark. Very red. Very small.
Food was good, but nothing to write home about. Wine list started at $34/bottle, with a large selection of Italian wines. I started with the mussels - 8 of them - in a classic white wine broth. Not spectacular, and it could have been more flavorful, but they didn't mess it up. I went with the classic Bolognese for dinner. It was quite good, though a bit of my pasta was stuck together and undercooked. The portion was just right. My dining companions had the scallops and crab ravioli and had good things to say. We shared the molten (at Grotto they call it "melting") chocolate cake and banana bread pudding with caramel ice cream. Both yummy, but again, not very noteworthy. Melting cake was a bit dry for my taste and not rich enough. I think the banana dessert was a better choice. Service was fine, but seemed a bit insincere. And our waiter repeated himself - twice telling us his favorites without us asking him to. With so many great Italian restaurants in Boston, I probably won't be returning to Grotto, but I did have a nice - if not spectacular - meal at a very reasonable $37 for 3 courses.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Cate S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
188 reviews
142 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2012

This is a very small cozy place in the basement. Seating capacity is about 35 or so, all in one small room. The food was very good. I recommend the three course meal for $ 37.00. I had the arugula salad, meatballs and spaghetti and chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. All were excellent. The red sauce is absolutely wonderful - spicy but smooth and rich.

My dinner companion had the mussels, duck and same dessert. He enjoyed them as well.

I was able to find a bottle of wine I liked and was familiar with. I would not call the wine list extensive, but it is adequate for sure. My main complaint about the wine list was the lack of champagne choices. Just as an FYI, they do not serve hard liquor.

We had a 7 pm reservation on a Tuesday night. By the time we left the place was packed and a bit loud. Based on this (and previous reviews) if you want a more intimate setting I would go early.

I would go here again the next time I am in Boston and would recommend it to my friends.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank DennisBTR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Excellent food and cozy atmosphere”
Reviewed October 29, 2012

A friend who lives in Boston recommended Grotto. It's a small place in the basement level of a brownstone, so we actually walked right by it before realizing it was there. The food was excellent, wine list was substantial, and the service was great. We had an early reservation, which was good as it got somewhat noisy by the time we left and the "normal time" dinner crowd was arriving. It is a small dining room, so not a great place for a larger group. All in all, we would recommend this restaurant.

Visited October 2012
Thank gmargrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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