Where to The 34-seat Ravello Italian Kitchen on Belmont Street in Watertown, near the point where Watertown, Belmont, and Cambridge meet.
Why For fresh salads, Italian-American classics, and old-fashioned North End-style plates of pasta and red sauce from chef Jeff Cincotta, who owns the popular spot Molinari’s Pizzeria, in Adams Village, Dorchester, with his wife, Doreen.
The Back Story Country Mile, the original restaurant in this location, had four partners: Matt and Nancy Sargent (he cooked and she ran the front), business manager Steve Robinson, who also owns Porter Square Wine & Spirits, and Carol King, Porter Square Wine’s wine director. When the Sargents left last November, Robinson and King decided to keep the place open. They brought in Cincotta as a partner and chef and had a soft opening until licensing was approved mid-January by the town. Both Robinson and Cincotta liked the name Ravello. Robinson had been to that town above the Amalfi Coast and thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the world.
What to Eat At the former Country Mile, portions were skimpy. They’re not now. You’re getting Cincotta’s garlic bread, fried calamari, mussels or shrimp fra diavolo, Caesar salad, pappardelle Bolognese, garganelli pasta with vodka cream sauce, cheese ravioli, linguine with meatballs. Salads are very fresh and vegetables like delicata squash and beets are really nicely prepared. The marinara on entrees is intense, pomodoro sauce on other dishes is a little lighter, but too much of both and not enough salt.
What to Drink A wildly eclectic drinks list features eight adventurous cocktails, a half-dozen craft beers, 12 white, orange, rosé, and red glass pours by the glass, and a bottle list of 40 wines so varied — and in some cases, obscure — you’ll have to ask King for some guidance.
The Takeaway No reservations in this small storefront, but you can call ahead to say you’re on the way to get in the queue. There’s a waiting area by the front windows with five stools where you can have a drink until a table is ready. King and Robinson run a very friendly restaurant, the food is charmingly retro, and neighbors are filling the seats in a place they can finally call their own.
136 Belmont St., Watertown, 617-393-1568, www.ravelloitaliankitchen.com