Boston Restaurants: Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse has been on the must-visit list of steakhouses in Boston since it was opened by Steve DiFillippo in 1985. The restaurant was originally located on Newbury Street and later moved to Brookline and Cambridge before setting up shop in 2002 at its Park Square home in the former Paine Furniture Building on Arlington Street. (There are now additional locations in Foxboro, Philadelphia and the newest one in Atlanta).
Located across the street from The Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Davio's serves up regional Italian cuisine "with a focus on the grill." Steaks here command a large portion of the menu but because there is an enormous selection of Italian dishes available as well, the choice can be a bit overwhelming. The dishes churned out of the open kitchen are so plentiful here that you are sure to leave with nearly a full meal to enjoy at home.
We visited the restaurant on a recent Thursday evening and there was not an empty seat to be found in the large dining room. The vibrant atmosphere was bustling with an after-work crowd and many business people. Davio's is beautifully decorated with massive columns, 18-foot floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook busy Arlington Street. The ceilings in the ornate dining room are sky high so the noise level can get a bit boisterous at times. Even though the tables are close together, amazingly enough, we could not hear the conversation at the adjacent tables.
Our server from Italy, who has been working at the restaurant since its opening, was extremely friendly and attentive. He told us about two specials that evening — broiled stuffed oysters for an appetizer and a braised lamb shank entrée. The authentic Italian cuisine served up here certainly gives the North End a run for its money. The fresh bread basket was accompanied by a small tray of roasted eggplant, goat cheese mixed with red peppers and black and green olives to further complement. Executive Chefs Stephen Brown and Eric Swartz have designed a menu that includes homemade everything — from sausages and meatballs to pastas and sauces.
We started off with a sampling of their signature spring rolls, two of each addicting treat arrived in flavors like Philly cheese steak with spicy homemade ketchup and spicy mayo, our declared favorite chicken parm served with a marinara sauce topped with fresh parmesan cheese, buffalo chicken with blue cheese dressing and shrimp cotija with citrus aioli. Can't get enough of these? They are now available in many local grocery stories throughout New England.
We also sampled the appetizer special — four oysters arrived broiled and generously stuffed with garlic and mushrooms. Moving right along, we also shared the fresh bufala mozzarella and tomato (red and yellow) salad topped with aged balsamic, olive oil,and fresh basil, which was perfectly paired up with a bottle of Conn Valley Cabernet that our server recommended.
I ordered the tagliatelle Bolognese served with a flavorful combination of braised veal, beef and pork in a tomato sauce. Our server suggested pairing this dish up with a side of Kobe beef meatballs and we were glad he did. Two enormous moist meatballs arrived and served as the perfect addition to the Bolognese. The bone-in ribeye arrived cooked to a medium rare perfection and further complemented with a side of rich gorgonzola mashed potatoes.
Davio's is also a favorite of many visiting celebrities and local athletes so be sure to keep your eyes open as you never know who you may be seated next to.