Nantucket is practically synonymous with delectable dining, and the local Italian fare is no exception. There are plenty of options both in and out of town, and all of them are worth trying. But there isn’t always time for trial and error, especially if you’re just trying to enjoy your vacation. So let’s cut right to the chase and start with the best of the best.
For a fine dining experience and a classed-up Italian menu, there is only one place to be - Ventuno Restaurant. Let them take you on a culinary journey through the imagination. To start, there are countless morsels and mouthfuls such as ricotta and honey crostini, chickpea fries, and fresh Nantucket oysters over Campari-grapefruit Italian ice. It only gets better from here.
Indulge in their fresh pasta, made in house and studded with delectables including homemade spicy chicken sausage, broccoli rabe, and pecorino. Save room for a decadent second course and treat your taste buds to the Florentine-style prime porterhouse steak you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t forget to order the bomboloncini, or “the bomb,” for dessert. No matter how full you think you are, you’ll regret missing out on one of these gooey bittersweet chocolate-filled doughnuts.
After all that food, get to the bar for a digestif. The bar scene at Ventuno is not to be ignored no matter how much you’ve eaten or what time it is. With three separate bars, there is a little something for everyone. Sit at the downstairs bar for food and a fun, lively atmosphere. Visit the back patio bar after dinner when it’s time to undo a button or two and let loose. Or pop your head upstairs to see what’s happening. At the back of the dining room, you will find a cozy four-seat bar where, on a quiet night, you might be lucky enough to enjoy your own private bar service. Or, where every once in a while, you might stumble into a wild party.
Ventuno’s menu is packed with so many mouth-watering temptations, it simply isn’t possible to try everything in one go, which is a sure-fire guarantee that you’ll be back for more. And be on the lookout, because soon, the Ventuno team will be pumping out even more irresistible food. The much-anticipated opening of their new pizza restaurant is eminent in spring 2019.
Speaking of pizza, everyone knows that the best authentic, wood-fired Italian slice on-island can be found on the edge of town at Pi Pizzeria. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Pi is the kind of cozy, quaint, little mom-and-pop joint you’d imagine stumbling into after a long day sightseeing art and ancient ruins on the Italian coast.
Though they are known for their thin-crust pizza, it’s worth venturing into other parts of Pi’s simple yet satisfying menu. Eat as the Italians do - order a selection of antipasti to share such as olives, prosciutto, and ricotta salata. Follow it up with chicken or eggplant parmesan, cod, or meatballs over pasta. Seats fill up fast, especially at the bar, and they do not take reservations, so plan accordingly. Take-out is also an option, but in the summer months, the wait for pizza can be hours long. That’s how you know it’s good!
For casual, family-friendly Italian dining, you’ll need to venture even further afield. Fusaro’s is beloved by the locals for its easygoing atmosphere and scrumptious, no-nonsense fare. The menu is packed with Italian classics from linguine and clams to chicken scallopine and seafood risotto.
Every single antipasti is tempting and unique, like the stack of fried eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella with basil, arugula, and pecorino. They even offer mouthwatering gluten-free options! All of their pasta and entrees are available with spiral-cut zucchini noodles. For the full experience, try to get a seat on the patio, where dinner comes lit by twinkling lights, with the soft rush of the fountain and the rustle of hanging ferns in the background.
Are you feeling hungry yet? Buon Appetito!