I had one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time this weekend at Benedetto in Harvard Square. If you’re not familiar with Benedetto, it’s a wonderful Italian restaurant in The Charles Hotel in Cambridge from the team behind Giulia. Chef Michael Pagliarini and his team serve up a wonderful menu of fresh handmade pastas and so much more.
I first visited Benedetto a little more than a year ago to film at episode of NESN’s Dining Playbook. I had the best time making raviolis and cavatelli with Chef, and I was so excited to go back again.
Filming Dining Playbook at Benedetto // Photo by Regan Cleminson
When I visited with my friend this weekend we started with some cocktails and a plate of Sfizi (small bites). We tried a bunch of them — crispy polenta with a creamy salt cod, chives and caviar; ricotta crostini; clam crostini with crispy pork belly; and a chicken liver crostini with rhubarb and a blood orange marmellata. What a great way to start the evening, and made even better by the beautiful weather and sitting on Benedetto’s beautiful patio.
Then, a pretty plate of Yellowfin tuna crudo with strawberries, cucumbers, basil and elderflower. My mouth is starting to water when I think about it again.
Then, two of the most wonderful handmade pasta dishes — a potato and cheese raviolini, and a delicious cavatelli with ramp butter, pistachio pesto, and fava beans.
As if it couldn’t get any better than that, my friend and I were completely blown away by dessert. Benedetto’s Pastry Chef Renae Connolly is a James Beard award semi-finalist and she was named Boston Magazine’s best pastry chef last year.
And for context, I was already really excited for dessert because last year when we filmed Dining Playbook, I tried her blood orange granita, and it was so good that I’ve been talking about it ever since. So I was ecstatic when our server told us that they had another granita on the menu — this time a bright pink Rhubarb Granita topped with vanilla tofu, candied citrus, and rose syrup. It was as delicious as I could’ve imagined.
Because we of course couldn’t just have one dessert we also tried the Triple Fruit Spumone and their Strawberries and Cream. What a great way to end our meal.
You can check out Benedetto’s full menu here. They’re located at 1 Bennett Street in Cambridge inside The Charles Hotel.
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