We had dinner at Via Matta in Boston to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years because it feels like time has flown by! I had heard several good things about this restaurant so I made a reservation through Open Table. There’s a place for a comment when you make a reservation so I mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary that night, kind of thinking “oh well they never pay attention to these things anyway.” To our surprise, our waiter (James – super nice guy) brought us two glasses of prosecco as congratulations. Such a nice touch! And on an extremely hot day like that, it was very refreshing and went down quite easily.
Via Matta features Italian cuisine from the Piedmont, Tuscany, Liguria, and Emilia Romagna regions. It’s located near the Boston Common and the Public Gardens, and I think they consider it to be a part of Back Bay. It’s pretty close to the theatre district and some fancy hotels. They offer patio seating but we opted to stay indoors that night. I wasn’t able to get really good up-close shots of our food because it was pretty dim inside, so my apologies in advance.
We started by sharing the crispy pork belly antipasti which was served with braised greens, cauliflower, and a pear and campari vinaigrette. There were three generous sized pieces on the plate and it was quite delicious, even though we knew it was fatty. Hee hee.
I heard that the pasta was excellent there but was lured to ordering a seafood dish instead. My husband ordered the saffron-threaded gnocchi which was served with a spicy lobster sauce and tarragon. It looked and smelled delicious from across the table but I didn’t dare try a bite when the word “spicy” was included in the title. He said it was very good and quite filling even though it doesn’t look like they really give you all that much at first. There were bits of lobster meat in the dish too. Oh, how I miss tomato sauces, spiciness, and potato gnocchis!
My friend and I were talking over lunch one day about how she has a friend that only orders things at restaurants that she cannot make herself at home. I kind of share in this mentality, especially since I love to cook and to learn how to make something. So again, even though I know they are popular for their pasta dishes (but not that I make pasta by hand at home) I went for the seafood dish. I couldn’t really see making this at home for just the two of us because of the mix of seafood — and having to only buy or cook a couple of mussels, a couple of shrimp, a couple of bits of lobster — but I could see making it if we were having a dinner party and a bigger number of people.
Anyway, the dish was excellent and very flavorful. I liked how tender and flaky the cod was, and the taste of the grill marks on top. There were big chunks of lobster, shrimp, and at least half a dozen mussels in the delicious broth which was sopped up with a hunk of bread at the end. It was quite a pricy dish but well worth a special night out.
We were too full for dessert but I was quite tempted to order some of their marscarporeos, which I can only imagine means that they make a marscapone filling with some oreo-like cookies. But I figured it would be too grandma-like of me to order them and then smuggle them home in my purse, so maybe next time. :- )
So if you’re looking for a nice restaurant (i.e. I wouldn’t wear jeans to this place – nice slacks would be more appropriate for guys) for a special occasion or a nice night out on the town (i.e. before or after a theatre show), I would recommend checking out Via Matta. I don’t think it would be very appropriate for babies or little kids — both atmosphere and menu wise — but suitable for a romantic outing or even a semi-formal business outing.
79 Park Plaza