It's been a long, long wait for Bostonians who have been waiting for EATALY by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. The construction alone took about a year as we all waited in anticipation for the transformation of an old, boring mall foodcourt into the Italian marketplace and restaurant emporium known as EATALY.
When EATALY finally opened in November 2016, the place was mobbed. People swarmed through the various aisles, checking out authentic Italian cured meats, cookies, dried pastas, and much, much more. They couldn't get enough of the cappuccino shop, gelato stand, or the freshly fried potato chips at the front.
Good luck trying to grab dinner there during peak hours. Lines for most restaurants were quite long.
During our first visit, we wandered around the open food area in the middle, where seating is available on a first come first serve "grab it if you see it" model. It looked pretty hopeless.
After giving up there, we approached one of the several sit-down restaurants, Il Pesce by Barbara Lynch. By this time, around 9:30PM, the crowds had thinned a bit, though the wait for a seat was still around 10 minutes (not so bad!). Finally, after waiting just 5 minutes or so, we were seated!
Il Pesce is overseen by local celebrity chef Barbara Lynch, who is also behind some of Boston's most well known restaurants, such as Menton, Sportello, and No. 9 Park.
The menu at Il Pesce definite focuses on seafood, with a dedicated "Crudo" section (hello raw oysters!), a "Pesce Intero" section filled with various types of whole fish, and main dishes of all types of seafood, including swordfish, lobster, scallops, octopus, and even skate wing. Entrees range between $29 and $32 USD, while appetizers hover around the $8 to $17 range.
We started with their delicious house made bread with extra virgin olive oil.
We started with the Insalata di Cicoria ($12), a refreshing and tasty salad of radicchio, endive, toasted walnuts, and ricotta salata (cheese) tossed with a pomegranate vinaigrette.
From the Crudo section, we tried a couple different dishes. The first was a cured Gulf of Maine Salmon ($12) served with pomegranate and extra virgin olive oil.
The second was Yellowfin Tuna ($14) served with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
For starters, we chose the simple Escarole with Prosciutto di Parma and Lemon. The dish was perfectly seasoned and very flavorful. I loved the saltiness from the prosciutto paired with the tartness of the lemon.
The Polpi ($17), grilled octopus with fava bean puree, preserved lemon, and baby arugula tossed in a pistachio vinaigrette was fantastic.
One of the specials of the day was a Crab Pasta topped with breadcrumbs. The pasta texture was excellent, and the dish was rich and creamy.
We also ordered Pesce all Piastra ($23), fillet of a local market fish served with braised kale, garbanzo beans, and a smoked paprika salami. It was also quite good.
Barbara Lynch cares a lot about sustainability and has made it a goal to offer "by catch", unwanted fish caught during commercial fishing that is normally thrown out.
General Thoughts - Il Pesce Eataly Boston
All in all, we were pleasantly surprised with our meal at Il Pesce. The quality was quite good, and the prices weren't crazy. I personally really enjoyed the polpi (octopus) and the escarole. Bryan also enjoyed the pasta a lot. This is an excellent option for a meal if I were in the Prudential Center or anywhere in the general Back Bay area of Boston.
Il Pesce Eataly Boston
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199