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Boston Area

New Caffe Italia - Marblehead-longish

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New Caffe Italia - Marblehead-longish

JRL | Apr 7, 2005 02:01 PM

Tried the new Caffe Italia in Marblehead the other night, about a week after it opened. It has potential, especially because it so convenient for us. So far, not as good as the one in Orient Heights used to be (haven't been in awhile), but I'm hoping it just needs a little time to work out the kinks in both the food and the service. They did a great renovation of what was a very dark, dingy restaurant (Rio Grande) - warm, inviting and a really large bar area. It is, however, extremely loud.

I had the arugula salad, whcih I asked for without its white balsamic dressing because I've had it before and think it's awful and with a wedge of lemon, so I could just do olive oil (on the table for the bread - great densely crusty rolls without doughy insides) with lemon. After a longish wait, I got my salad - with the dressing and with lemon. H, who had ordered a Caesar salad, didn't get anything. Sent my salad back; the second time, it came with the lemon and the dressing on the side. H's Caesar salad was nowhere to be seen. That took another few minutes. Arugula salad, once I made my own dressing, was good. Caesar salad was insipid (Orient heights location had a great caesar salad).

I ordered the fish "carciofi" - haddock in a lemon sauce with artichokes, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. it was merely okay, though a large piece of fish. Carciofi, however, was a misnomer ("carciofino" perhaps??) - a few minuscule pieces of atichoke heart of whichI couldn't tell the provenance - too hard to be canned, but not enough taste to be fresh.

H had the linguine vongole in red sauce. Pasta was overcooked to mushy consistency, sauce was also insipid and too thick for that preparation. He said the clams were good.

Menu is more extensive than Orient heights and prices are reasonable - entrees about $13-22 (pasta-veal). Gonna wait a month or so to give it another try.

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