Classic Calabrian Cuisine and Meatballs
VIEW Published Article : 2019 Winter Issue SCENE Magazine North End
Each of the many Italian restaurants in the North End of Boston have their own special sauce yet with Limoncello, its more about the meatballs that have guests lined around the corner.
Owner Maurizio Badolato started working as a waiter in his native Calabria and came into his own empire in a way most would only imagine. Maurizio took a chance with lady luck in 2001 and scratched a $5.00 lottery ticket that won him one million dollars. He then carried out a lifelong dream and made his mother Concetta’s meatballs famous when he opened Ristorante Limoncello on the Freedom Trail next to Paul Reveres House.
Housing a staff that has been there for 18 years, Head Chef Andrea Moggi has been with him since day one. Moggi prepares fine Italian food through many of his recipes and creations from the Amalfi Coast. His brother Sergio, along with Chefs Nicola and Manuel complete the authentic Italian kitchen. Maurizio’s brother Corrado and sister Luisa’s genuine Italian character complete the dining experience as they serve you. Polishing the dining room staff is Susan, Sabino, Antonio, Jake, Lorrin and Sandra who have been longtime, loyal employees and now family.
Then there is the inspiration behind this fairytale story, Francesca “Concetta” Badolato, The Meatball Queen of Limoncello. Born in Calabria and mother of Maurizio, Limoncello uses many of her authentic Italian recipes, including her famous meatballs that have people coming back for more. Prior to her death in June 2015, she was a prominent personality at Limoncello. You would find Concetta sitting in her chair, cutting bread, pouring wine for people waiting, or simply gracing the room with conversation. Her presence is still very much a part of the restaurant as her recipes move on.
With so much history and genuine Calabrese tradition to simply see, it’s when you take a seat the menu tops off the experience. The wine selection is legitimate from reasonably priced to a 2013 Super Tuscan Solaia Antinori from Toscana that will most certainly pair well with any dish and impress the big boss or her parents. The menu highlights dishes from the southern part of Italy and traditional to where Maurizio grew up.
The olive oil and mix of Kalamata olives that your server greets you with makes one think, “Now this is Italy!” Where else do you start but with “Momma’s Meatballs” as Maurizio simply puts it, “They are the best! We sell over 4,000 a week.”
The most popular dish on the menu is the Rosette Al Montasio Ed Olio Tartufo. A homemade wide noodle cooked with prosciutto, Montassio cheese, mushrooms and finished in a tomato cream sauce with truffle oil. The delicious smell of truffle oil that flows over as the dishe comes to the table is pure ecstasy. The perfectly rolled pasta and meat as the sauce and cheese melt together, bellissimo.
Limoncello isn’t just a decadent meal yet an actual experience. They are a cozy little corner of the North End neighborhood with family history lining the walls, custom Italian trinkets on the shelves and a pleasantly themed décor. They welcome you with a warm vibe that makes you feel as if you walked into Mamma’s dining room and urge you to pull up a chair and eat with the family. To book a reservation call 617-523-4480 or to view the menu visit www.ristorantelimoncello.com.