Tag Archives: Italian

Old World Charm in Davis Square

It’s great that a place like Sessa’s Italian Specialties has managed to stay afloat for more than 30 years in Davis Square. Walking in the door you are immediately greeted by all sorts of sensory treats: delicious smells emanating from the deli where they serve calzones, sauces, and other homemade foods; fresh loaves of bread stacked in front of a variety of bulk olives; and strands of cured meats, garlic and peppers hanging from the ceiling tiles.

delicious calzones

When I first moved to Somerville I was psyched to discover this place full of Italian imported products. They actually carried the only canned sauce my grandmother would ever allow in her home: Don Peppino. A distant relative in Italy made it and sold it wholesale to Italian restaurants in America and used to bring her and her brothers cases of it when he came to visit, she told me, though the company has long since changed hands.

Being choosy about the bagged pasta and other items with a shorter shelf life is advisable. It’s not unheard of for some of the items on the shelf to have “expired” sometimes years before, and I prefer to go for the canned goods and amazing selection of olive oils. The deli meat and selection of homemade food is also quite delicious.

The owner is about as surly as my great-grandmother looks in all the old family photos, and you’ll read other statements to that effect if you check out their page on yelp. He’s rarely there, though, and it’s usually his much friendlier daughter behind the counter. You won’t find many places like this anymore, however, and it’s well worth stopping in and helping them stick around for hopefully another 30 years.

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DAILY TRIVIA: The first sitting president to visit Somerville was Bill Clinton.

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Vinny’s On Broadway: Mangia!

Hidden away in the dark recesses of a seemingly ordinary convenience store-slash- sub shop is one of the true culinary gems of this town: Vinny’s Ristorante, specializing in Sicilian style cuisine.  

Vinny's on Broadway, East Somerville

I walked by this place for years on my way to Sullivan station without realizing what it was, and this was even after hearing that an elusive Italian restaurant with amazing food existed someplace in this neighborhood.  I  could post a pic from the inside, but really… that would ruin all the fun.  Instead, it would behoove you to see it for yourself.

The restaurant itself isn’t large, but the ambiance is comfortable and date-friendly. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food you will be enjoying, which could easily rival any of the North End restaurants.  In addition to several homemade pasta varieties, the menu features some interesting and hard-to-find dishes including ostrich, rabbit and tripe…  indeed, there is something to delight (and gross out) just about everyone.

If you’re like me and want nothing to do with unconventional meat dishes, may I recommend the eggplant parmigiana? It is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. And be sure to order the Arancini  ( Sicilian rice balls) appetizer… it’s by far one of the tastiest things on the menu.

Buon appetito!

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DAILY TRIVIA: Somerville was originally part of the old colony of Charlestown, one of the earliest settlements.

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