Note: This post is about the Back Bay location of Papa Razzi.
I've never had a bad meal at Papa Razzi. Although part of a 12-location chain within the larger Back Bay Restaurant Group, Papa Razzi doesn't have a cheesy chain feel. The decor is nice (and a little bit different at each location), the food is consistently high quality, and the service feels genuinely friendly (as opposed to the over-the-top but phony smiles you get at other places.) And the bread is always delicious!
During previous visits, I've enjoyed the blackberry mojito (which is always beautifully presented with a huge sprig of fresh mint), gnocchi di sorrento, and penne all' arrabbiata. Today, I arrived for lunch and was pleasantly surprised to find that Papa Razzi was participating in Restaurant Week. After a late night out at the Dropkick Murphys show at House of Blues and the resulting painful morning at work, I decided to go all out and treat myself to the three-course lunch.
I started out with the beef carpaccio: thinly sliced raw beef with capers, shaved parmigiano, capers, lemon, and arugula. Only...the arugula seemed to be missing. I was expecting a small salad topped with some beef, but as it turned out, it was a full-sized plate completely covered with raw beef, which was in turn covered with shaved cheese and a sprinkling of capers. It all tasted great, but I've had a bit of a stomachache since eating it. Raw beef is probably better eaten in smaller portions.
Next up, I got penne gamberi alla vodka: penne with shrimp and spinach in a pink vodka sauce. I enjoyed it, but I prefer the fiery penne all' arrabbiata that I usually order.
Dessert was fragoline balsamico - strawberries and vanilla gelato topped with sweet balsamic - a great combination! Overall, my dining companions and I really enjoyed our meal, but my non-Restaurant Week meals at Papa Razzi have been even better. That seems to be a fairly common Restaurant Week issue, which is unfortunate for both the consumers and the restaurants. Today's lunch, though, was definitely good, so don't be discouraged from visiting Papa Razzi. I'm consistently impressed by their above-average service and tasty Italian dishes.