It has been quite awhile since I last wrote a restaurant review of The Aquitaine Group’s Cinquecento, but earlier this month Sergio and I grabbed dinner at the bar and we had such a good time I wanted to write about it.
Cinquecento has been successful since first opening in 2012. It probably helps that they have ample free parking, a nice patio (for the warmer months) and is easily accessible from the Mass Pike and I-93. However, that only gets you so far if you don’t have good staff and a talented kitchen – fortunately they have it all.
The menu is exclusively Italian as you might imagine with antipasti, soups and salads ranging in price from $10-$17; homemade pastas $22-$29; fish & meat plates $26-$38. On our recent visit we started dinner with the Burrata con Pistachio ($13.75) as well as the Steak Tartar ($15.75). The Burrata was cool and creamy and paired nicely with the soft figs, creating a surprisingly nice combination of sweet and creamy textures and flavors.
However, I was most surprised by the Steak Tartar that was recommended. The cubed steak was savory and would make for a great option if you want to come in for a snack. The plate would pair equally well with wine or beer.
For dinner Sergio ordered one of his favorite plates, the house made Gnocchi ($24.50) which is shown above, and I splurged, ordering the Aragosta Arrosto ($38.50) shown below. I had thought I was ordering the lobster and pasta in a fra diavolo sauce but the Aragosta Arrosto was more flavorful than spicy with only a hint of pepper. Those looking for more heat to the sauce should probably make such a request when ordering. Having said that, the dinner exceeded my expectations. There was plenty of lobster from the tail and it was cooked perfectly. The pairing of the rich sauce, lobster meat and homemade pasta was so good that Sergio repeatedly poached food from my plate when I wasn’t looking.
If you would like to try Cinquecento, I highly recommend making reservations for dinner on weekends. On weekdays you can usually get seats easily enough as a walk in at the bar or in the dining room. Cinquecento is located at 500 Harrison Avenue in the South End.