A great week in restaurant news for Italian food fans

Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar
Christina Tosi, founder of Milk BarShannon Monson

Openings: Lots of Italian restaurant news this week. In the North End, load up on garlicky red sauce at Tony & Elaine’s (111 North Washington St. at Thacher Street). It’s the latest from Nick Frattaroli, the restaurateur behind Ward 8, Bodega Canal, and North Square Oyster. Chef Eric Buonagurio serves classic dishes at lunch and dinner — spaghetti and meatballs, parmesan of every persuasion — with homemade pasta. In the coming weeks, grab sandwiches to go at a separate takeout counter.

The restaurant is named for Frattaroli’s parents, longtime North End restaurant servers.

Il Massimo has opened in Dedham (400 Legacy Place), sister restaurant to Providence’s Massimo Ristorante. Recover from shopping over white lasagna with sage béchamel, lobster fra diavlo, and burrata ravioli. It’s open for lunch and dinner.


And in Somerville, Jeff Malloy (the North End’s now-closed Carmen) opened La Cucina (400 Assembly Row). Enjoy braised boar and rib chops, flatbreads, and rigatoni Bolognese. Malloy will open a pasta shop and grocery next door in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Milk Bar has debuted in Harvard Square, alongside &pizza (1-3 Brattle St.). The first Milk Bar opened in Manhattan’s East Village in 2008 inside David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar. Pastry chef Christina Tosi drew a following with her crack pie — a gooey, oat-crusted, butter-and-brown-sugar concoction — and cereal milk soft-serve. Washington, D.C.-based &pizza founder Michael Lastoria is a longtime friend.

Lastoria describes his pies as having “classic pizzeria flavors with a twist.” His favorite? American Honey, with spicy tomato sauce, goat cheese, red pepper flakes, arugula, and honey.

The pizzeria caters to diners of all stripes: “Vegan, gluten-free, dietary restrictions, allergies — more health-conscious or not. We have everything for you to be indulgent, but if you want to be healthier, it works for you as well,” says Lastoria.


Most of all: “It won’t put you in a [food] coma,” he says, laughing.

Coming soon: Good news for fans of Sultan’s Kitchen in downtown Boston. Owner Ozan Ozcan reports that he will become chef at the upcoming Servia (126 State St. at Chatham Row) this spring. Ozcan will focus on Ottoman Turkish cuisine, with rotisserie lamb and mezze served in a bi-level space, complete with an open kitchen.

Kara Baskin

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.