Review: Contessa Offers a Spectacular Boston Dining Experience

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday March 14, 2022

A beautiful view of the Boston Public Garden is one of the many things that await you when you dine at Contessa at the Newbury Boston Hotel.

Located on the rooftop of one of Back Bay's iconic structures — the former Ritz Carlton Hotel — the restaurant offers spectacular views of the ever-changing downtown skyline. But the view is only one of the numerous pleasures to be found at the Contessa, which was designed by Designed by Ken Fulk to evoke a nostalgia of another era. His design layers Neoclassical motifs with Art Deco references and Mid-Century modern detailing, paying special tribute to Milan's most famous designers — Piero Portoluppi, Gio Ponti, and Renzo Mongiardino. It is styled like a grand Italian trattoria, with a glass roof and retractable panels for open-air dining, with the vibrant city skyline and views of the Public Garden as the backdrop.

With a glance at the menu, I found one my favorite antipasti (appetizers): The 3 Meatballs Ado with mustard sauce made with pork, veal, and bacon. This is comfort food of the highest order, soft and tasty, that will melt in your mouth. Additionally, there are plenty of appetizers to order for sharing.

As for a salad, my choice is the Squash Carpaccio, made with butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, agrodolce and studded with delicious drops of mascarpone cheese. It is even more comforting than a salad should be, and is also large enough to share.

For the main course, the menu is complete with a range of fish, poultry and meat prepared with classic accompaniments like Gamberoni al Forno con Fagioli and a 40-oz. Dry-Aged Bistecca Fiorentina. For a simpler meal, Contessa offers pizza — perfectly crisp and chewy, topped with ingredients like salumi, funghi, or vongole picante. I would choose either the Halibut with Mussels or the Butter Chicken.

And save room for desserts! You won't want to miss there simple not-too-sweet treats — gelato in an array of classic flavors. I suggest mixing the coffee and pistachio gelato. There are many of cakes to choose from: Pistachio, amaretti, and gianduja chocolate, and a nod to Boston with Boston Cream Pie Bomboloni. I would go with the Torta Di Baci — a chocolate cake with hazelnut praline and chocolate mousse.

Not only was the food amazing, but the waitstaff was extraordinary. Our servers, Nick and Aaron, were attentive, friendly, and just plain amazing.

The Verdict: Contessa is an Italian restaurant that's comfortable, stylish, and excels in regional Italian food, wine, and service. There's every reason to make this one of your go-to places for entertaining friends, family or just yourself.

Contessa reservations and full menu are available at the restaurant's website.