Marcella’s US Map & Phone & Address

1808 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge; (617) 547-5000 If you’re looking for a place that serves nouvelle cuisine without the trendy prices, Marcella’s is the answer. Or, to look at it another way, it’s a very fancy take-out sandwich shop with a dozen white linen-topped tables at the back.

Yes, the sandwiches are priced from $6 to $8, but think of what you get: roast beef with smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and Marcella’s own house dressing. Chicken salad made with apples and raisins. And others, all served on fresh, crusty baguettes.

For dinner, the cuisine is Italian, but not the standard red-sauce-and-pasta of the south. Mine and his dining companion chose to make a creative, inexpensive meal by sharing a few items, starting with prosciutto and melon ($5), a sparkling combination of sweet and salty. The specialty of the house is the Polio Platter ($7), a rotisseried, juicy half-chicken atop a garnish of tomatoes and cucumbers, with a side dish of oven-roasted potatoes with plenty of everything. On the side was an order of Tuscan-style garlic bread, several long crusts for $2.

The owners told Mine they believe there should always be a bottle of wine on the table; selected choices are always available under $10. After- wards, splurge with an espresso, iced cappuccino, orzata (almond-flavored soda), and something from the bakery cannoli, cakes, and pastries. With all this, plus fresh flowers on each table, Marcella’s is a good bet for a casually romantic dinner spot Open 7 A.M. to midnight daily.

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