Giulia is a game effort to bring high quality, high-end Italian fare to Harvard Square in the spot where the late (but in no way lamented) Rafiki Bistro was. I wish them well. There are a few kinks to work out of the system at this new restaurant.
We dined with friends and the welcome was very warm on a cold, blustery evening. Some of the raw wood makes the place look a little unfinished - I'm not sure if that's intentional or if it really was unfinished and work remains to be done. If it's the former, the place will probably start looking pretty tired inside of six months as skin oils, food and wine spatters start collecting on the wood.
We tried several small plates. The warm semolina cakes with lardo were savory, silky little pillows and a nice way to start the meal. The escarole hearts were crisp and flavorful with a powerful anchovy tang. Pastas, which are made on site, were quite good - the papardelle with wild boar was the clear winner among them, with slightly chewy, wide pasta set off by a rich sauce. The take on "cachio e pepe" had nice flavor but was a tad dry, and I'm not sure the orecchiette was the best pasta choice for this preparation. The portions on the pastas are all over the map. The papardelle was a very good serving for the price, making it probably the best value on the entire menu - the cachio e pepe was spare, the lobster agnolotti pretty reasonable and well prepared. House made lamb sausage with white beans was a solid offering both in terms of the big flavor, but the swordfish at $24 was overpriced for the little wafer of somewhat dry fish.
The wine list, needless to say, is very heavy on Italian, but it's no place to search of bargains. Virtually all the bottles are north of $40. Cocktails are well prepared. Our server was enthusiastic and on point for most of the evening (one side dish was forgotten but eventually showed up), however he did seem to be encouraging us to order more than we really wanted or were prepared to eat.
Giulia offers high quality food and one expects to pay for that. But they will probably need to fine-tune portion sizes and price points if they hope to last beyond the honeymoon phase.