Strega Waterfront screams Italian. It’s both bustling and loud while being inviting and warm. At 7:45 on a Wednesday night every seat is full and the bar is hoping. Strega’s upscale feel makes it a bit more then just a spot for an after work drink, and its crowded and casual vibe makes it a bit less then a special occasion spot. On a Saturday night, Strega will be jumping with double dates, big nights out, and lots of tight dresses, heals, and perfectly fitting jeans and sports coats. On a Wednesday, the theme is the same - just taken down a notch.
In contrast to it’s North End counterpart, Strega Waterfront is large space. Located in the Fan Pier area, just a few yards from the waterfront itself, one can choose to sit outside if the weather is right, or take a seat in the spacious indoor area. The restaurant is dark, but seeing your menu isn’t a problem. There is a bar when you walk in to the left- it feels as if it would be beneficial for this bar to be double in size. To the right is the main dining room- some seats overlooking the water, while some are amongst a giant white lit up arch in the middle of the restaurant, and others are placed gazing at quite a few huge flat screen TVs playing both old and new Italian movies. It’s a bit over the top, but it works. There are also several private dining spaces, one located in the center of the restaurant, surrounded by stored bottles of wine.
Our service was both very good and very bad. We were seated promptly, had the specials explained to us, and offered both water and drinks quite quickly. Our water was great and explained everything in detail seeming very attentive and professional. We needed some time to look at the wine list, but we very hungry so put in an order for one of the special starters. Our burrata arrived prior to our wine being ordered, and prior to the bread coming to the table. By the time we ordered our wine, we were also ready to place our dinner order, which came out practically immediately. Our waiter apologized each step of the way, but it just wasn’t the pace we were hoping for at an upscale restaurant. When our water found out we were celebrating my husband’s birthday, he did bring a delicious dessert on the house, which of course was a plus.
The food is very good. Upscale Italian without being too “red sauce” or too “designer”. We started with a plate of prosciutto topped with greens and burrata. Although it’s hard to make a mistake with creamy gooey cheese, it was delicious. The bread was also quite good- both a white and olive variety. For dinner, 3 out of 4 people had the short rib pasta. The special dish consisted of a giant piece of meat served so tender it fell right of the bone. Served with peas and parpadelle, this hardy dish was enjoyed by everyone. The Caserecci di Marina, which is a homemade fusilli with sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella in a tomato based sauce. The pasta was delicious, perfectly chewy and tender, and the sauce had just enough sweet and just enough tang. Dessert was a huge tiramisu. It was quite good, but 4 full people certainly could not finish it.
Should You Check It Out? Yes! But don’t expect a replica of Strega in the North End, but do expect the same delicious food and drink. Skeptical? Try it for a drink and take it from there.
When Should You Go? If you are thinking quaint and romantic Italian, this might not be your right choice. For a bit more intimacy, be sure to request a booth. For a fun and vibrant night out, Strega Waterfront is perfect. If you like dining alfresco, try it when the weather in right. And book ahead!