One Bennett St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Upon first entering the Rialto Restaurant and Bar, I was stunned by the vibrancy of the atmosphere. The bar takes the center stage in the restaurant, with a charming semi-private dining space across from it and the main dining room behind.
The candle-lit tables and comfortable dining booths gave me a feeling of exclusivity without isolating me from the other diners. My seat near the window allowed me to look out at the vine-covered courtyard. A florist comes in every day to tend to these vines, preparing to show them off in the warmer weather.
Since I had heard of Rialto as an Italian restaurant, my mind immediately began to picture my favorite “Italian” foods: spaghetti with meatballs, pizza, and Italian bread. What I found at Rialto surprised me with its more authentic take on regional Italian cuisine and its marvelous taste.
Every two months the restaurant features a new regional menu with regional wine pairings. These customized menus represent the different regions of Italy and the Italian countryside.
The restaurant does not ignore the staples, however. Since I was a little girl my favorite Italian anything has been the bread, and so my hopes were high as soon as our waitress placed the bread basket on the table.
The Tuscany rolls—crunchy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, as all great bread should be—exceeded expectations, and came with the pleasant surprise of cheese sticks with rosemary.
My friend and I paid close attention to the restaurant staples, or the food that remained regardless of the region of the month. The staples include the tenderloin, Lobster Bucatini, and Slow Roasted Long Island Duck.
I sampled the Duck and the Potato Gnocchi, while I also had a close look at the mouthwatering Ginger Roasted Carrots. The Duck was crispy and tender with a tangy sauce and Sicilian green olvies, and the creamy potato gnocchiš were accompanied by delicious Chantenay carrots, glazed turnips, and hazelnuts.
Though the meal left my friend and me feeling satisfied and full, we could not resist the desserts when we saw the menu. We tried the Chocolate Chestnut Tortaš, with candied chestnuts, kumquats, and citris-apricot sorbet.
This was the perfect combination of textures, with the crunchy chestnuts and zesty kumquats balancing out the sweet tortaš and refreshing citris-apricot sorbet.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my night at the Rialto Restaurant and Bar, where the staff made me feel more than welcome to stay, and the food really made me want to. What I admired the most was how every delicious meal, every original cocktail, had a story behind it of a chef who wanted to create something unique, something that pays homage to the legacy of traditional Italian cuisine. In my eyes, mission accomplished.
Rialto Restaurant and Bar Map & Directions
[pw_map address=”1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA”]