Boston is famed for its bevy of seafood and Italian restaurants, so when La Morra was recently named the city’s best Italian restaurant, we expected it to be good. We were not disappointed.
Tucked into an unassuming building on Boylston Street in the neighborhood of Brookline, the two story restaurant evokes a country setting. Indeed, the restaurant is named after the northern Italian village where the husband and wife owners (Josh and Jennifer Ziskin) learned their cooking expertise.
At our table looking over the street below, we arrived early and during the course of our meal saw each table become occupied with folks hungry to savor the fare.
For starters, the arancini ai riso (fried stuffed risotto with braised beef and cheese) was delightful. As I look back at the menu, I realize I should have also tried the pate di baccala (salt cod with garlic and lemon).For an antipasti, we savored the ribollita, a fine Tuscan vegetable and bread soup with cavolo nero and beans.
Even as the house became full, our staff kept us apprised of developments in the kitchen. We were fine with waiting for our primi plate, which in our family invariably includes some sort of bolognese. La Morra’s tagliatelle was housemade and the ragú was hearty and filling. It has become a delightful family ritual to compare plates of bolognese, and this was one of the best.
The secondi choices ranged from steak, Cornish hen, lamb and veal piccata to grilled shrimp. The spigola arrosto con bietola saltata was a tasty pan roasted striped bass with rutabaga gratin, sauteed swiss chard and a beet salad with cara cara oranges).
To finish, all we could manage was a trio of sorbet, which cleansed the palate in crisp fashion.
The warmth of the atmosphere, the care of the staff and most importantly the care with which the food was expertly prepared made for an excellent evening at La Morra.