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LOCAL FARE

Gogo eat at this seaside treasure in Winthrop

A light, garlicky blanket of red and yellow grape tomatoes topped a tender, moist cod. It was paired with a classic cheese risotto.Kathy Shiels Tully

WHO’S IN CHARGE Winthrop native Roseann Jaworski loves to cook, and she puts her passion to work at GoGo on the Ocean.

I’d be doing this at home, anyway,” she said. She and her husband, Robert, a Winthrop police detective, opened this cozy Italian restaurant in May 2017. They’ve lured customers from around the North Shore, Boston, and as far away as Quincy, all by word of mouth. Recreations of classic Italian dishes — freshly made pasta, arancini, red sauce — all come from recipes stored in Roseann’s memory.

While working for decades in the restaurant industry, Jaworski said she’d “always find myself cooking a family meal for the servers and staff” using recipes she learned from her mother or from trips to Italy to visit family.

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“My aunts would show me over and over, saying ‘like this, like this” until I got it right,” she said.

THE LOCALE GoGo on the Ocean is located on Shirley Street, which winds parallel to the Winthrop waterfront, only a 5-minute stroll from the Winthrop Ferry terminal building. The 40-seat indoor section of the restaurant was decorated by Roseann (also called “Ro”) with an “under the sea” vibe — sparkling seafoam greens, ocean blues and grays, white-washed pine tables, beachy decor, and twinkling white and blue lights.

April through October (weather permitting), there’s also a heated, 60-seat alfresco dining area overlooking the Crystal Cove marina. While you sip and sup, you can gaze upon a mesmerizing million-dollar view of the Boston skyline.

ON THE MENU Having dined alfresco this summer with my husband, enjoying the view of Boston with 747s flying overhead in the distance and brilliant summer sunsets, I wondered how the “inside” restaurant would compare.

To my delight, both venues at GoGo maintain the summer vibrations while serving up delicious homemade Italian food, friendly service, and a family-like ambiance.

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My friend, Deb Z., noted that the menu seemed short. That’s because Roseann shops and cooks in small batches daily. Fish is purchased in small scale (sorry, her pun) from Pine River in Revere. “But I’ll make whatever you want, if I have the ingredients,” she said.

Deb suggested we stagger our dishes as shared small plates. Our appetizer strategy began with six, medium-sized, Blue Point oysters from Connecticut (special at $1 each, usually $2.75 each), which had a refreshing sweet brine.

We were bowled over by a lightly crusted spinach arancini ($5) served in a pool of white cream sauce, but no flour, so it’s gluten-free.

The cod pomodoro ($23) consisted of tender, moist cod covered in a colorful blanket of red and orange/yellow grape tomatoes lightly sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and elephant garlic. It was accompanied by asparagus and Ro’s classic risotto, the common rice dish making us swoon with its cheesy simplicity. (She uses Romano parmesean cheese for flavor.)

A fall chill the night we went provided the perfect backdrop for Ro’s braised beef short ribs ($26). They were served with creamy, comforting homemade mashed potatoes, made with heavy cream and butter. “I might have this for dessert,” Deb said upon tasting the sweet, caramelized spicy thai barbecue sauce coating two large chunks of tender short ribs, cooked low and slow for 13 hours.

Jaworski also makes all the desserts ($8 each). After debating white coconut cake versus tiramisu, we chose cheesecake — a cream cheese, ricotta, and mascarpone mix. Punctuated with sweet tartness from ground black raspberries and vanilla bean, it was a surprising (and appreciated) light end to the meal.

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GoGo on the Ocean, 561 Shirley St., Winthrop, 617-846-8866, www.gogoontheocean.vpweb.com.


Kathy Shiels Tully can be reached at kathyshielstully@gmail.com.