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A Happy Place Called Giulia

After visiting Giulia, a rather new tenant of Porter Square, I talked about it at least twice a day for approximately the next week and a half. It was a place where everything was perfect.  I felt compelled to recommend it to friends and (older) coworkers alike, I could not get the experience I’d had out of my mind.  From the food to the atmosphere, I left in the deepest trance of satisfaction.

On a Wednesday night it was full.  Reservation-less, my friend Kathleen and I found ourselves fated to sit at the bar.  If I were to do it all again, however, I would do the same.  The bar had a chic feel and the bartender was fantastic.  He was totally and completely invested in us having a good time.   Attentive and concerned, he made us feel like his only guests.  The dining room was small and cozy, dark and sophisticated without being the least off putting.  With an open kitchen in the back, all the parts of the scene felt connected – bar, kitchen, dining tables.

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Green Heart: cucumber vodka, green chartreuse, green tea and mint $9.

We began each with a cocktail.  The drink list consists of Italian-only beer wine and liquor, and nothing otherwise was missed.  My friend made the sweeter choice: the Sexy Americano was a mix of Rose Champagne and St. Germain.  The Green Heart, pictured above, was a little strong for my taste and I couldn’t decipher all the parts advertised, but, that’s not nearly worth dwelling on.

Faced with the menu, we weighed the various strategies of attack.  Our choices included appetizers, mid-sized pasta servings and pricier meat dishes.  We decided on pasta and I would make that decision a million times over.   Giulia’s founders created it with a devotion in mind to the freshest ingredients for their daily house made pastas.  When Giulia opened last December, we were worried over at Rialto (where I valiantly Hostess duty), another locally sourced Italian eatery just down Mass Ave in Harvard Square, that Giulia would provide fierce competition for that reason.  While each place’s presence accomplishes very different things, and for that reason I believe Rialto need not worry, the fresh and flavorful pasta dishes at Giulia did pose a worthy match.

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Pappardelle with wild boar: black trumpet, juniper, aged parmigiano $21.

I chose the Pappardelle with Wild Boar.   Its flavor so delicious, I ate it as slowly as humanly possible in order to make it last as long as I could.  Anything with truffle makes your tastebuds extra happy, but the wild boar was salty and deliciously paired with that flavor.  And the pasta was exactly what I’d hoped for – a consistency that would be hard to replicate.

My friend wasn’t as crazy about her pasta, but I was enough crazy for the both of us.  Its sauce did lack the oomph of the boar and truffle on my plate, but I still appreciated the quality of the pasta and its fresh accompaniments.

Farro fusilli with asparagus and roasted mushrooms: fresh herbs, butter, grana padano $16.

Farro fusilli with asparagus and roasted mushrooms: fresh herbs, butter, grana padano $16.

That one dish I had was enough to prove all that Giulia had to offer.  But we decided on dessert and that was, for all intents and purposes, the icing on the cake.  We had the Chocolate Terrine.  Imagine room temperature fudge left out to get soft, the terrine was dense and powerful.  Topped with house made mint gelato and salted almonds on the side, this pairing could change anyone’s day.  Our bartender didn’t fail to stress how unique it is to have gelato made in house.  And fantastic it was.  We dubbed it an adult peppermint patty and promised each other we’d return ASAP.

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Chocolate Terrine: House made sweet mint gelato, salted almonds $8.

I would recommend the pasta and this dessert to anyone with my life on it. And with the place not even a year old, it’s exciting to see the potential and success it’s had already and where that will take it next.
Giulia
1682 Massachusetts Ave
Porter Square, Cambridge
Giulia on Urbanspoon

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