Best of the MetroWest: Rino’s Place

Ally Toto is on a mission to find the best shops, restaurants, events and other entertainment hubs in the MetroWest area. On her latest stop, Ally ventured outside the MetroWest area to visit Rino's Place in East Boston, a local eatery that's gained some national recognition.

Looking for an authentic italian meal when you’re in Boston? Rino’s Place in East Boston states that they have the “The Best Italian Food In Town,” and I wholeheartedly agree!

Rino’s is a small, hidden gem founded 24 years ago by Chef Anthony’s parents Rino and Anna DiCenso. They later handed over the business to their son, Chef Anthony DiCenso, who was born and raised in Abruzzo, Italy. The restaurant has only 13 tables, creating a cozy and intimate environment. The walls are covered with murals of Italy’s countryside, and the aroma of sauteed garlic and fresh tomato sauce upon entering the restaurant is mouthwatering.

Rino’s has become a bustling establishment, attracting tourists from all over the United States since it received national exposure on an episode of “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” that aired on The Food Network. Guy Fieri, the show’s host, visited Rino’s in 2010 and gushed that Rino’s homemade lobster ravioli is “off da hook.”

I arrived in Boston with my family at 6P.M. on a Thursday, and we put our names on a wait list at Rino’s since they only take reservations for parties of 6 or more. They told us it would be at least an hour wait, but more likely two hours, which was a turnoff. We ended up waiting almost 3 hours to be seated, and because there was little room to stand and wait, we had to sit in the car.

But once we were seated around 9 P.M., I realized why so many think the restaurant is worth waiting for, though I don’t know if it was worth three hours! We began with bruschetta, crusty pieces of Italian bread served with a medley of fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. The bruschetta was one of the best I have ever tasted. The tomato topping was garlicky and a perfect consistency for dipping our bread. Salad came next: a basic lettuce, cherry tomato and onion mix with house Italian dressing. The lettuce was crisp and the house dressing the perfect compliment.

For my meal, I ordered gnocchi, which consisted of homemade potato dumplings sauteed in a fresh plum tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella and baked. The serving was massive and the price was cheap; everything on Rino’s menu costs between $9 and $18. My parents each ordered pasta dishes, and all of the pastas are homemade. We all took home enough food for another complete meal for each of us!

Our waitress was funny and talkative, and she struck up a conversation with us about Boston and driving in the city.

Overall, the food was extraordinary and the staff was attentive and engaging. The only downside was the extremely long wait, but when we were seated at around nine, people were starting to leave and customers were able to sit down immediately. I would highly recommend Rino’s if you’re looking for delicious Italian food. Tip: Go when it opens or later in the evening right before it closes!

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