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Rialto, Cambridge

Charles Hotel
One Bennett Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge , Massachusetts
Tel: 617 661 5050's insider take:

Talk about Boston chef success stories, and Jody Adams is bound to come up. With no formal training, she got a job working under the tutelage of Gordon Hamersley before making a name for herself at now-closed Michela's in 1990. Four years later, she became executive chef and co-owner at Rialto, a Mediterranean hot spot in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, but it wasn't until 2007 that her vision for the restaurant finally took form. She purchased the restaurant outright, shuttered it for six weeks to give the moody space a much-needed face-lift, and reworked the menu to focus on her bread and butter—intensely flavorful Italian cuisine. Now, single Gerber daisies adorn the tables, and flowing chiffon curtains lend some intimacy to the large dining room. The menu is equally uplifting: There might be a floppy lasagna dish (wide farro, semolina, and buckwheat noodles woven between ricotta and mascarpone cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, and a basil-spinach-arugula pesto purée) or quail stuffed with polenta, currants, and pine nuts.

Open daily 5 to 10 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.