Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Cantina

Does this sign look familiar to any of you Boston Marathon runners? You pass it on the route!
Located in Framingham, MA La Cantina has been around since 1946 and resides in the same spot where it was originally built. Leo and Fanny Mencoboni actually took their life savings and opened La Cantina next to their small grocery and meat market. With all the success La Cantina has, I can pretty safely say they got much more than their original investment. 

I've been going to La Cantina since high school so when my husband and I moved close to the area, I knew I had to bring him there.  Four years later, it's become our GO-TO Italian restaurant.  In fact, we order from there 2-4X a month.  And although I am a foodie, I order the same dish every time we order from there: Lobster ravioli.  I love it sooooo much, that it's become my signature pre-race/pre-long run meal.  It really is that good!
So... on that note, I have a confession to make.  I make fun of my in-laws for going to the same restaurant every weekend and never trying any new place.  (They go to Jimmy's Steer House in Saugus if you're interested).  Well I got news for you.  When I find a place I really REALLY love and a dish I can't get enough of, I'm totally predictable as well.  La Cantina is that place to me : )

Also if you are ever in the area, La Cantina has Lobsterfest every Thursday from 11:30am until close.  Which means you can get delicious Lobster for $11.99 along with several other amazing Lobster dishes.

So... a couple Thursdays ago, my mother, husband and I went to La Cantina around 7pm.  And not surprisingly, we had to wait.  So while we waited, we got some cocktails. 
I got the special drink: Mixed Berry Infused Vodka Martini for $5.99.  See that strawberry?  Yeah, well, it tasted like pure vodka.  I think I was drunk off one bite.

Once we were seated, we quickly ordered an appetizer.  We got the Calamari and it was delicious.  Served on a bed of Arugula with Lemon Juice and a homemade tartar sauce, it was the perfect snack before dinner.

After we placed our orders, our waitress brought over their signature iceberg salad.  What makes it their signature you ask?
THE DRESSING.  Ever heard of Fanny's Italian Dressing?  Otherwise known as the best dressing on the planet!  Dave and I stock up on this stuff and we use it on our salads at home all the time.  If you see it in your grocery store, buy it. You won't be sorry.  It's the owners and founders recipe and the dressing is sold online, in the restaurant and in local grocery stores.
For dinner I ordered {what else} the Lobster Ravioli & Lobster Cream Sauce.  They don't skimp with the lobster in this dish.  It's worth every penny of that $17 dollars.

There's also tons of lobster pieces inside the ravs.  I seriously can't say enough about this dish.  I love the sauce, I love the pasta and I love lobster!
My mom loves lobster too, apparently.  
See I hated it, clearly.  

So the moral of this story... if you live in the 'burbs or are passing through the metro west, give La Cantina a try.  You won't be disappointed.  It is old-school Italian food that makes everyone happy.  And it's only 4 short miles from the start of the Boston Marathon : )

Do you have a go-to dish at your local italian restaurant?  
And people from MA- tell me your favorite Italian restaurant!


  1. I remember you telling me about this place! Looks so delicious and authentic. I don't have a favorite italian place in Boston, but I do in my hometown, and their homemade pasta with chicken and broccoli is one of my favorite meals of all time. I usually make my family go for my birthday, or after a race. Italian food to me = comfort! Oh, and your mom is adorable :)

  2. Do they have any non-lobster ravioli?? i.e. ravioli meant for vegetarians? Or anything vegetarian? ;) If so, you are welcome to take me there any time. I promise I won't laugh at you when you order the same dish you do every time.

    I actually do the same thing. There's a restaurant on Federal Hill that Evan and I go to every time we go out to a nice dinner. Even though there are so many amazing restaurants in Providence, this one is our tried and true favorite, so it's hard to choose somewhere else over it! And if you're going to pay for a meal, you want it to be something you enjoy, right??

  3. Would love to have an Italian restaurant like this in my neighborhood. Your go-to dish looks fabulous!

  4. Hmmm...no go to dish, but I do love penne a la vodka and when I was a nanny in Italy I loved tagliata (sp?) that we had most every Sunday.

  5. YUMMY! I will have to try Fanny's dressing and I think I might make the trip out to framingham it looks delicious and I can't pass up italian food ever.

  6. Looks great! I may have to bring T here he loves Italian food! Thanks for sharing this we have passed this place many times and I always wonder how it is. He likes the chateau in waltham.

    Now if those ravioli's were gluten free I would be all over them hehe

  7. fun to read about your go-to spot! looks delicious!

  8. Oh my gosh how fun! Your mom is so cute!

  9. You had me at martini special - and lobster ravioli. I must make it to the 'burbs more often :)

  10. Funny, I would have expected that name to be a Mexican restaurant. The ravioli looks good!

  11. OMG I've been there! Last summer, seriously. Too funny. I don't know why I just got so excited to recognize something on your blog but I did ;) And the restaurant was delicious!

  12. Italian is always my go-to when I need a really tasty dinner. I love all the carbs and cheese goodness. Ravioli is my favorite dish to order, too. I also love eggplant rollatini. Yum!

    And I have seen Fanny's dressing so many times! I never knew where it originated, but now I know that I need to buy some. Thanks for that tip :)

  13. Aww La Cantina...so many memories at that place!! Definitely the best salad dressing ever! Fun to see a Framingham spot on your blog!

  14. La Cantina!! OMG I almost forgot about this place! Used to be obsessed in highschool! One of my friends from HS lived right near by and we'd always get their salads to-go...LOVE that dressing! Need to remember to get back here next time I'm in the 'ham!