I received the food and drinks featured in this post free of charge. All opinions of my experience are my own. You’ll likely see me at Stella again, whether I’m buying or not!
Last Wednesday I had the chance to visit Stella, an Italian restaurant in Boston’s South End, with my coworker Jeannie. She works with them and needed to stop in to try/photograph new spring cocktails and food items – tough job! Luckily she recruited me to help, because after all the more people in your party, the more cocktails and food can be ordered and sampled. And we had some VERY tough cocktail choices to make!
I ended up choosing the Giardino – Ketel One Citron Vodka, Pavan (there it is again!), lime, cucumber, and basil. Good choice, me. The drink was perfectly refreshing. Pavan is a little sweet but the savory summer flavors balanced that out so well. And look how nice my drink looks with the yellow napkin (which matches those rays of sun!) 😉
Jeannie’s cocktail, the Pomelo (Ketel One vodka, grapefruit, coconut, cayenne, and lime) was spot-on too, but I’m glad I stuck with mine, because hers was a little sweeter (though the cayenne helped that) than what I craved at the moment. However the coconut had me swooning. Can’t get enough of it lately! Good thing, since the Pomelo comes with a coconut rim!
She asked for bread right away and while it wasn’t the crusty variety that I prefer at Italian places, I still liked it a lot. Especially the white bean puree with oil! Way more interesting than butter.
We shared two new spring menu entrees. First we sampled the honey-glazed salmon with spinach and sweet potato ragout. INCREDIBLE. The fish was cooked rare and I guess the kitchen forgot to ask us first if that was okay, because about three people came to check on us after the dish came out, to make sure we weren’t upset that it wasn’t cooked more. I think they eventually believed us after we kept insisting that it was more than fine (and how we preferred it!)
I accidentally deleted my picture of our other shared entree, and that was definitely an accident because it was so delish that it needs to be shown! Chicken Cacciatore is not something I’d normally order out (as opposed to that salmon) so it was cool when the kitchen decided that’d be one of the new spring entrees we were to sample. Always nice to have those kinds of decisions made for me. The tomatoes in the dish tasted SO fresh, and the crispy chicken wasn’t greasy at all. Best part? The meat was paired with POLENTA! For anyone who’s never tried Chicken Cacciatore but is already a fan of other Italian chicken dishes, I’d recommend trying this, hands down.
Overall I really loved Stella’s cocktails, food, and overall vibe. This isn’t an outdated or traditional Italian spot. There are indeed old favorites on the menu, but also plenty for foodies. I’m already excited to return! And am thankful to Jeannie for bringing me along to be her spring menu taste tester.
I’m also not going to apologize for the cheesy title. How could I visit a restaurant called Stella and not call the blog post about it “Stellaaaaaaa!”?! That would be a crime.
Do you prefer traditional menu items at Italian restaurants, or do you look for something more unique?
Are you into sharing several drinks/dishes with friends so you can try more, or do you like to “go it alone”?