30 Leonard St, Belmont (617) 489-6333 Okay, not everyone will consider this restaurant new in 95 to be inexpensive. But for this kind of Euro-fancy food and stylish atmosphere, the prices at Rustica can't be beat.
Nor can the quality of the cooking, ranging from panini sandwiches to grilled chicken and other nouvelle Tuscan treats. After all, have you ever even heard of sweet potato ravioli? Would you believe that such a delicacy, in a sage cream sauce yet, could be had for $7. 95? Thoughtnot.
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Pizzas come topped with such ingredients as spinach, ricotta, gorgon-zola, and onions that's one pie, folks for as little as $6. 95 (individual) or $11. 95 (the splittable 16-incher). You can build a whole meal out of the incredibly fresh salads, homemade soups and vegetable appetizers. Entrees include treats like grilled chicken breast in a sauce of tomato, purged almonds, and chili pepper ($5. 95). There is also a Rusti-Kids menu, making the place a hit with families.
Desserts, decidedly yummy, are not such bargains. Apart from can-noli, most of the cakes and pies go for $3. 95 a slice, which along with a cappuccino can double your bill in no time. Ah, but what a way to go.
The walls are richly done out in Mediterranean colors, and festooned with gorgeous Maiolica ceramics.
The atmosphere is boisterous. Rustica is open for lunch, Saturday brunch, and early dinner (til 9 or 10), every day but Sunday.
For more traditional, basic fare, mention must also be made of the Italian Food Shoppe across the street at 6 Channing Road (telephone 484-9037). It's just your basic spaghetti and sub shop, but with homemade food and a dinner deal that can't be beat: Pasta Dinner for Two, with meatballs, sausage, eggplant and chicken a ton of food for $12. 99. Same thing for one person is $5. 99. Not cheap enough for ya? Go on Monday nights, and the same deals cost a buck less. Yowza. Open from 8 A.M. to 9 P.M. daily.