This meal was provided by Serafina
The dining scene has changed in Boston over the last several decades.
People prefer craft cocktails, small plates, and a more casual atmosphere. They demand an ever-rotating menu of really high quality food, made using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and artisanal ingredients. Out are the white tablecloths, the waiters in tuxedos, and super fine dining, which are not as popular as they once were.
It was shocking for many when Michael Schlow’s flagship restaurant Radius, known for both its excellent high-end food as well as its crazy burger, decided to close its doors for the last time in 2013. Many wondered who would take over that space, a large, airy spot right in the middle of downtown Boston.
It stayed quiet for nearly two years, until finally Serafina, an Italian restaurant from New York, opened its doors in April 2015.
Serafina comes from restauranteur Seth Greenberg, who also opened Mistral and Bastille Kitchen in Boston, in collaboration with Sterling Group Management. Chef Brendan Burke came over from Bastille Kitchen to become executive chef at Serafina. The food is Tuscan-inspired, with an emphasis on lighter Italian fare, antipasti, and super thin-crust pizza.
In fact, it’s the super thin crust pizza that drew owner Seth Greenberg to Serafina in the first place. It was his favorite pizza in New York, and he wanted to bring it to Boston. Greenberg purchased the rights to open Serafina in New England, starting with this Boston location as the first.
The pizza is definitely legit. In the back of the restaurant, Serafina has installed a crazy hot pizza oven, demonstrating its commitment to making seriously good pies.
We met one of the pizza makers, who explained to us his process for making the pizza. The pizzas are baked at close to 600 degrees for 3-4 minutes. The crust is super thin, and they make the dough every morning from scratch. Of course, the pizzas themselves are made to order.
There’s no throwing pizza dough in the air. Instead, the dough is flattened by hand on the counter before going into the hot oven.
Serafina main dining room
Serafina offers a lot more than just pizza.
The “All Day Menu” (which is the only menu they serve during both lunch and dinner), includes antipasti, pastas, salads, and “secondi” or main dishes.
The Antipasti section features a lot of Italian classics, like Fried Calamari ($12), Bruschetta ($11), and Caprese ($13). Since Serafina is located in steakhouse land, there’s also Truffle Lobster Mac & Cheese ($18).
When we asked the server for his recommendations, he immediate suggested the Charred Octopus ($16), an octopus leg charred with a black pepper crust and then served with blood orange, radish, fennel, and avocado in a citrus aioli. This is one of the dishes that executive chef Brendan Burke brought to the menu. You won’t find this dish in New York.
Bryan and I were pleasantly surprised at how good this dish was. The octopus was decently tender, and the accompanying slightly sweet sauce stood up to the strong, salty umami of the octopus. Overall it was quite nice.
We also tried the Burrata ($16 – imported from Italy), which was fantastic. The creamy, flavorful cheese was served with Prosciutto di Parma, basil, and just a touch of exta virgin olive oil. The ingredients alone shine, and we really enjoyed this dish.
There is an extensive Salad section that includes both classics (e.g., a Caesar Salad, a Beet Salad with goat cheese and walnuts, and Tuna Nicoise), and more creative interpretations. We actually did not try a salad, largely because we had limited stomach space and our waiter recommended that we try other dishes if we wanted to really experience Serafina’s signature items. In any event, there are plenty of reasonably priced ($10-$18) options for the vegetarian as well as the health-conscious.
We had to get a pizza since that’s one of their specialties.
The Tartufo Nero ($25) is sensory overload of cheese and truffles, including robiola cheese, fontina cheese, truffle cheese, truffle oil, and black truffles. It’s quite tasty, but also very, very rich. We only had room to eat a couple slices.
The Marinara ($13), a simple pie with just tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic, is quite good and really showcases the thin crust well. The crust is super thin, almost like a cracker. Overall we thought the pizzas were quite solid, and definitely among the better ones in Boston.
The Pastas range from $8 – $22 for most dishes, though there are a few “Tartufo Nero” pastas that cost $27-$29 due to the black truffles. There are always a couple of fresh homemade pasta options, which are clearly indicated on the menu.
We tried the Paglia & Fieno, which is a simple homemade fettucine tossed in a light tomato cream sauce with some Parmigiano and basil. Though it’s simple, it’s fantastic. I loved the flavors of the sauce, and pasta texture is great.
The front of the house told us that’s what she orders every day because it’s one of her favorites as well.
I can totally see why.
The Secondi dishes ranges from $20 to $34. There’s a nice representation of seafood (e.g., grilled salmon, seared scallops, halibut, bass), beef/veal (the Serafina burger, steak frites, veal scalloppine), and poultry (chicken breast Paillard, chicken alla Milanese).
We tried the Filet of Bass Al Pinot Grigio ($28), a unique fish preparation where the sea bass is actually wrapped in thinly sliced layers of potato and quickly fired in the oven so that the potatoes are crispy. The fish is then served on a bed of zucchini and leaks.
Overall, it was very good. The execution was great (the potatoes were crispy while the fish was still tender), and the overall portion size wasn’t too big, which may be good for some but not for others. It’s a realistic “Secondi” portion, but for larger eaters it may feel a bit small.
For desert, we tried the Tiramisu, which they describe as “like Grandma used to make it, maybe better.” Sadly, this was the most disappointing part of the meal. The tiramisu tasted like it been previously frozen (or perhaps it was kept in a super cold refrigerator?). There was hardly any espresso flavor, it was on the sweet side, and overall I just didn’t feel like eating it after one or two bites.
All in all, Serafina is a great option for a business dinner. The environment is very pleasant, the food is good, and most dishes aren’t too risky, which is important when you’re dealing with clients or people who might have different food preferences. There’s also tons of space. Within its 12,000 square feet, Sersfina boasts three private rooms, a large bar, an outdoor patio, and plenty of seating in the main dining room. We sat in a closed-off area next to the window that included a long table and even a TV screen for business presentations.
Portions sizes are smaller, so it may feel a bit expensive, though probably no different than the nicer restaurants in the North End, and definitely more affordable than the steakhouses in downtown.
All in all, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the food. We did receive lots of recommendations for specific dishes, and most people recommended the same dishes. I think the staff know what their favorites are, and it’s definitely worth asking them!
10 High Street
Boston MA 02110
Open Monday to Friday, 11AM – 10PM
Saturday 4PM – 11PM
closed on Sundays
Disclaimer: This meal was provided by Serafina. I did not pay for this meal. All opinions are my own.