gltsoi (gltsoi) wrote,

L’Impasto, Cambridge

L’Impasto is perfect in the sense that it is exactly what it is trying to be; a small, neighborhood Italian restaurant serving delicious homemade food at reasonable prices. There is no website, the wine list only has 6 offerings ($7 a glass), and there are only 22 seats with a wait staff of two. But the pastas are all homemade and the bread is excellent. We ordered the steamed mussels, a classic Napoletana pizza and chitarrine alla Bolognese to share.

The mussels were tender and I enjoyed the lemon and garlic scented broth, but it was served in a ceramic crock that made it impossible to get to the broth until half the mussels had been eaten. They need to serve it in a wider bowl.

The pizza was larger than I expected (I think 14”?) and the crust was quite good, but the tomato sauce was looser than it should have been. So much so that when Steve pulled the first slice off the pan on to his plate, he only got the crust and left a triangular pool of liquidy tomato sauce and mozzarella. It improved as it cooled.

The chitarrine alla Bolognese was deeply satisfying. The homemade chitarrine was perfectly cooked with a meaty, flavorful sauce. I still think that Sweet Basil’s Bolognese is my favorite, but this a solid rendition.

I do have to mention the bread basket– we had an assortment of Francese, olive and a cheese and pepper bread. The breads were excellent. So good in fact, that they sell loaves to go. I noticed the table next to us got some focaccia as well.  

Lots of the reviews mentioned the poor service, and while our meal took almost 90 minutes, I didn’t mind the pacing. I think our server was the owner and he was enthusiastically friendly. Almost too friendly, as he kept touching my shoulder or arm whenever he came over to us. I’m not a fan of being touched be random strangers, but I noticed he was doing it to the gentlemen sitting adjacent to us so it’s slightly less sleazy. He also tucked in ½ loaves of the cheese bread and the Francese with my leftover pizza. What a lovely surprise! I enjoyed some cheese toast the next morning with my tea.

The menu is extremely affordable – our meal and a beer for Steve came with $38 before the tip. Despite the small flaws, I really enjoyed L’Impasto. I think it’s the kind of place that is casual enough for a weeknight meal when you don’t want to cook, but charming enough for a nice date night.


2263 Massachusetts Ave


(617) 491-1901

Tags: cambridge, italian, restaurant review
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