“Julia?” asks my friend when I tell her I’d made reservations at a new restaurant outside Harvard Square. “It takes a lot of nerve to name a restaurant for Julia Child in her hometown. Is it French?”
It’s Giulia (for the record, named after the street in Rome where chef Michael Pagliarini and his wife and co-owner, Pamela Ralston, decided to launch the restaurant) and it’s Italian. But like that other Julia, it’s warm, welcoming, sophisticated without being pretentious, and very, very good. Pagliarini, formerly of Back Bay’s Via Matta, works in a style that is faithful to principles of Italian cooking while adapting freely to take advantage of seasonal ingredients and his own vision. He’s innovative, but like the best new ideas, his are clearly steeped in understanding and respect for the tradition.