Earlier this month we went to Belmont to visit a friend and have dinner at il Casale in downtown Belmont, MA – a suburb just outside of Boston. The restaurant is part of a small restaurant group that also runs a restaurant by the same name in Lexington as well as Dante’s in Cambridge, MA.
Despite the high ceilings and large dining room, the restaurant exudes a cozy rustic vibe that is in line with the service which isn’t quite fine dining but professional and friendly; clearly this is a neighborhood favorite. Main plates and pastas are reasonably priced – ranging in the mid $20s and pastas are all available as half portions. Upon taking our seats at a high table near the bar we were greeted by a knowledgeable waiter who took our drink order and brought us warm, homemade bread. To compliment the bread which smelled heavenly, I ordered the burrata cheese which was heavily seasoned with pepper, oregano and candied pistachios.
The cheese was cool and creamy as one would expect and the pepper and oregano added a nice flavor, but my favorite was the crunch of the candied pistachios which alongside the drizzle of olive oil went very nicely with our warm bread. Needless to say nothing was left when our server cleared the plates.
Following my starter I had high expectations and looked forward to the special of the night which I ordered. The homemade Mafalade came with a seasoned roasted pork shoulder ragu in olive oil sauce with peas and carrots. The colors and aroma of this plate created were equaled by their flavor, I’m happy to say.
My fellow diners ordered the gnocchi and grilled cod and they echoed my sentiments about their meals. The pastas were certainly generous portions, and I ended up bringing about a third of my meal home for left overs, which makes me think unless you are really hungry an appetizer and half portion of il Casale’s pasta is more than enough – making it an even more affordable dining option.
With warmer temperatures now gracing Boston, you can also enjoy dining al fresco at il Casale’s patio, but reservations are strongly recommended no matter when you come to dine since this place seems to be a favorite for locals.