We’re often asked for a recommendation for a romantic night out, so we are happy to add another favorite to our list. Pellino’s in downtown Marblehead has all the essentials: a quiet side street in a quaint area, a small dining room, perfect lighting, terrific food, and low-key service. As though that weren’t enough, we were pleasantly surprised by the prices.
On a recent Saturday night, we were seated in the window of this lovely spot, where we sipped the house Chianti while surveying the menu. Our appetizers were both memorable: lightly fried calamari with a flavorful marinara ($10) and a generous portion of caprese (fresh mozzarella topped with tomatoes) accented with balsamic syrup, a dollop of smoked eggplant, and a crisp crostini ($9.50).
The pacing of the meal was just right, and our waitress was both friendly and attentive. Our entrees were as successful as the appetizers. The mushroom ravioli were the perfect combination of feather-light pasta and earthy mushrooms, accented by a light mushroom/cream sauce that contained more mushrooms ($18). The chicken parmesan was super crispy outside and extremely tender inside. It was accompanied by a large serving of perfectly sauced angel hair pasta ($18).
We had opted out of pre-ordering the bread pudding or molten cake for dessert, so our choices were limited. But we were in no way disappointed by the vanilla gelato with biscotti. The lavish portion of ultra-smooth ice cream went down easily accompanied by the crunchy, highly-flavored cookies.
Pellino’s has gotten a good deal of positive press in the past, and we’re pleased to be able to say it lives up to its reputation, providing a fine dining experience at reasonable prices in a romantic setting.
261 Washington St, Marblehead