The first time we went to Grotto was back in January, just after Christmas. Now I am by no means a winter person. Being from a hot weather state, I hate winter with a passion and vengeance rarely seen in others, leading people to ask why I live in Massachusetts (that’s a story for another time). My husband (then fiance) and I needed a date night, just the two of us to get out of our dreary house, and I found Grotto online just by chance.┬áIt was one of those 20 degree days, with plenty of ice and snow on the streets in which we had to move fast while huddling together to keep warm. When we entered, it was dimly lit, setting the romantic mood for the evening while we tried to warm ourselves back up. The focus of the people in the restaurant was on good food and good quiet conversation.

The waiter immediately greeted us and gave us the run-down of the menu and wine list. We each ordered a glass of wine, and while I can’t remember what my husband ordered to eat, I ordered the pumpkin risotto. No photos, unfortunately, but let me just say it was absolutely, without a doubt the most perfect meal I could have ordered on that cold of a night and in that atmosphere. It came on a rather large plate, and I could instantly smell the pumpkin, warming me right up. The risotto was creamy but not rich enough to cause a calorie concern.

We loved it so much, we knew we had to go back. The second time we went was this past summer, a fairly warm Friday evening. This time it was light out, so there was a bit of natural light – just enough to get a couple of ok photos, after lots of editing.

We ordered an appetizer special, zafferano (crab ravioli), which was simple but tasty as you can see.

Zafferano!

For the main course, I ordered the veal saltimbocca and my husband the chicken parm (I think). He said it hit the spot.

Chicken parm!

For me, my favorite part about the veal was actually the polenta that came with it. We’re talking all sorts of creamy goodness, especially when when mixed with the marsala sauce. The veal itself was tender and juicy, and wrapped in prosciutto (isn’t everything better wrapped in some sort of ham or bacon?).

Veal saltimbocca!

For dessert, if a restaurant offers chocolate cake, we usually order it and perform a mental ranking. Here is Grotto’s chocolate melting cake. It’s not a traditional lava cake, but does have a very warm, soft center. It’s very rich.

Chocolate melting cake!

What I love about Grotto the most is that it’s in a basement of one of the brownstones on Beacon Hill, this little hole-in-a-wall you wouldn’t expect to serve up a fine dining experience. But it serves up a lot more than fine dining Italian. It serves up plenty of memories with a special someone. We’ll definitely return for another cold winter night’s comfort.

Key Takeaway: Go here for date night. Don’t listen to anyone who suggests other restaurants for date night. This is it. You can find it on Bowdoin St. in Beacon Hill. Website here.

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