Nosh on: Quattro serves up authentic Italian comfort food in the North End

Bistro chef Francisco Martinez plates entrees behind an open kitchen
Bistro chef Francisco Martinez plates entrees behind an open kitchen

It’s cramped, it’s colorful, it’s overwhelming: it’s the North End fit-to-burst with life on a sunny day. The hub of Boston’s Little Italy is the “top” of Hanover Street at its intersection with Richmond and Parmenter. This is where Quattro — which took over the Il Panino Express spot this spring — stands, inviting passersby into its cool interior of sleek pale marble countertops, wall-to-wall white, and floor-to-ceiling windows that connect it to the bustle of the street when weather permits.

Quattro’s minimal — but appealing — menu offers authentic Italian comfort food. Yes, there’s pizza. A simple crust is cooked in seconds in Quattro’s custom-made brick oven. The chewy dough is seared with mozzarella and topped with figs, goat cheese and a generous pile of arugula dressed with lemon and a dash of salt. The flavor proportion is perfect: a touch of sweet, a hint of sour, a tinge of bitter.

Succulent, lightly battered stuffed zucchini flowers are paired with a crunchy salad of yellow zucchini, onion and marinated red pepper. Another appetizer of fluffy green Boston Bibb leaves and crisp, bitter radicchio is splashed with balsamic vinegar, forming a regal looking salad of wonderfully contrasting textures.

A bowl of gnocchi (made from potato flour, not durum wheat) gets the Caprese treatment with burrata (melting slightly from the heat of the dumplings,) a fresh cherry tomato sauce and an oversized sprig of basil as aromatic as it is tasty. They don’t call Italian the Mother Cuisine for nothing.

264 Hanover St., Boston
Entrees: $10-$25
617-720-0444
quattro-boston.com



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