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Charcoal Guido’s, Waltham

There is a line in the Globe’s cheap eats review that says, “they love it because it’s just like their Nonna’s house,” so I was expecting a more rustic, mom-and-pop feel to the restaurant. When Steve and I arrived at the packed Moody Street restaurant my first thought was, “Wow, Nonna must live in a chain restaurant in the mall.” It was too slick with the large HD TVs airing the college football games and trendy red lighting under the bar.

I am glad I made a reservation – the wait was 30-45 minutes for a table for 2. Unfortunately, they sat us right by the door where we were assaulted by a chilly breeze every time someone went in or out.

We started with the panzanella ($10), which was a decent arugula salad with roasted red pepper, cucumber, tomato and topped with really tasty fried chickpeas. I thought the salad was over-dressed (Steve did not) but the issue I really took umbrage with was calling it a panzanella. Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad, featuring stale bread soaked in tomato juices. This salad only had a handful of dry croutons.

Under the heading “Neapolitan pizza” they offer 6 round and 6 oblong ones. I wish I had asked about the difference, as the oblong rapini and sausage pizza ($16) we shared was more flatbread than pizza. That said, I thought the crust was good. It had good smoky charred flavor from the wood fire and decent chew. The toppings were good, but sparse.


sausage and rabe pizza

We also shared the chicken cappelletti ($16), which is another way to say tortellini. The filling was dry – it reminded me of a bad frozen chicken meatball. The homemade pasta it was encased in was too thick.

Chicken tortellini

Our server was busy, but did not ignore us. I enjoyed the bread, which triangles of their pizza dough with basil oil. My cider cocktail was delicious, Steve thought the wine was “ok,” I don’t imagine I’ll be back, it’s too California Pizza Kitchen for my taste.

http://www.charcoalguidos.com/

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