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La Dolce Vita - Boston, MA - Reviews page 1 - Judysbook

La Dolce Vita

221 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 720-0422
Incorrect info? Correct your listing


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I am going to guess the majority of these people complaining are 20 somethings with disgusting manners and no patience. The ffod was SUPERB, the service was wonderful, they know h...


I had the unfortunate luck of dining in this establishment for my friend's birthday. She had made a reservation a week in advance- it didn't matter! We waited around for an hour, ...

a wonderful place 8/28/2009

I am going to guess the majority of these people complaining are 20 somethings with disgusting manners and no patience. The ffod was SUPERB, the service was wonderful, they know how to please a woman. My suggestion is that the GenXer's get a clue and go to McDonalds' if they need to eat quick. After 6 pm you should not take young children to this type of restraunt, get a sitter and let the rest of us that have been there done that enjoy our meals Pros: Great service more


I'm Itaiian and usually have never had a bad comment to say about going to the north end to eat, however since I had a baby 3 years ago I have not been able to go out to eat much. I decided to take my out of town guests to the dolce vita and was very disapponted. The food was lousy and expensive not to mention the bread was hard like a rock!! Poor service. I will never go there again Cons: poor service, food over priced, not good!! more

Disgusted 6/25/2009

I have eaten at Dolce Vita and though I was a bigger fan of the old (quieter) location, I always enjoyed the food and thought the owner's bravado was a fun part of the experience. I have recommended the place time and time again to tourists and Bostonians alike. However - I will never be able to do so again and I am outraged and horrified by what I learned yesterday evening. I encountered two women talking on the sidewalk in the area and they were very upset (one crying). I overheard a tidbit and had to ask what restaurant they were talking about - after I heard the story I had the *victim* walk me to the restaurant and she pointed specifically to Franco as having pulled her aside after the group's meal. He advised her that he could reduce their bill if she would oblige to performing a specific (not much imagination needed here folks) inappropriate act for him! This young girl from a small town in the midwest was horrified that this person, an elder (her word) to her, someone in a position of authority who had gained her trust by playing the robust Italian charmer with his ""Bella!"" and all - he propositioned her this way. Absolutely disgusting. I call for a boycott. I told her she should make a complaint with the police department. I hope she does. I am so outraged and saddened... I wish there were some way to hold him accountable for being such a despicable cad. All I have is my knowledge and the ability to take my business elsewhere - please join me and spread the word. Pros: good food Cons: sexual harrassment of customers more

A long-time patron who will not be returning.... 6/15/2009

Over the past several years I have been to Dolce Vita many times, returning primarily because of the fun atmosphere and the food. When I had friends visiting from out of town to celebrate my birthday, I made a reservation for a party of 15 in a private room on Saturday night.\r \r When I arrived at the restaurant, I was floored by how horribly I was treated by the owner, Frank. When I attempted to let him know we had arrived, he immediately snapped at me and told me to go in the line with the other customers. He then came over and yelled at the entire line of patrons. Then he came up to me several additional times, first telling me that I was late (we were right on time; he had the wrong time for our arrival). He then was angry with me when I informed him that 2 of our guests had cancelled last minute. Well, the 2 guests who cancelled actually did end up joining us, but that made him even angrier. I was humiliated by him yelling at me in front of all the other customers, and I was so upset by the way he treated me (at my birthday celebration no less), that I began crying. \r \r At the end of our dinner, Frank came to our private room to see how our dinner was. I was feeling more courageous at this point and stood up for myself, telling him how upset I had been by the way he treated me in line earlier. Rather than apologizing, he made excuses for his actions stating he had done nothing wrong and that he was simply ""busy."" I then told him I had never been treated so horribly or been so humiliated in a restaurant in my life. I stated I would never come back to the restaurant again. When we got our bill to the tune of $810, nothing had been comped and no concessions made for my treatment.\r \r As I said, Dolce Vita had actually been one of my favorite restaurants; the food is good and the atmosphere is fun, especially when the accordian player is there. If you decide to go (which I do not recommend), just know that you are running the risk of this owner picking you as his victim/scapegoat for the evening, leaving you humiliated and hurt, with not so much as an ""I'm sorry"" for the unjustifably horrific treatment. Pros: Food Cons: Owner's treatment of his patrons more

Bring a Small Apetitie and a Large Amount of Cash 2/22/2009

Hi Everyone, here is the straight story on Dolce Vita. If you know Italian food, are Italian, have been to Italy or know how to read a basic Italian cook book you should probably go elsewhere. Very cheesy from the loud owner greeting you ( like you just got to the Disney Italian Restaurant ride in Orlando) to the included bread which was just as tasty as toasted Italian Bread from Shaw's. Orders were overpriced (an understatement) and under delivered as far as taste and quality. A small step above (possibly) The Olive Garden. Bring a large wallet and a small appetite. If you have several hundred dollars to spend go to a local supermarket pick up a 40$ bottle of Italian wine (maybe 2 ) then make your own Italian dinner. Not one entree ordered made the cut. The ravioli (for our children) were definitely frozen as were the gnocchi (side dish 9.95). The eggplant parm was marginal, small and non memorable. The veal chop dry and tasteless how about that for 34.95$?! \r You are paying for the North End overhead and getting fast food Americanized Italian at its worst. The quality would rank close to the worst in Italy, inedible by a native Italian. Several chain Italian restaurants in the Northeast are far better at much less cost....\r Not sure what to recommend except to stay away and save your money for an Italian vacation! Beware the positive reviews (look at their last name) Pros: Location Maybe? Cons: Everything (the food, taste, menu) more

Perfect. 7/2/2008

Perfect! Fantastic food, wonderful atmosphere, great service. Everything was fresh, authentic, and delicious. Will come back often. Pros: Everything Cons: Parking more

Shhh... 4/24/2008

We've been to Roma. This is as close as you get - food (small bites make it last), service (prego!), and atmosphere, especially on a beautiful late April night with the front windows open. We happily waited 10 mins after a reserved time with good bar service. Enjoyed a leisurely meal on a busy night. Hanover St. is full of authenticity, and Dolce Vita is a perfect example. Pros: authentic Cons: I had an odd seat on a bench-couch, although was happy to have a 4 person table for the 2 of us more

An experience in and of itself! 4/19/2008

RESERVATIONS? \r This review serves to give folks a heads up! Dolce Vita doesn't take reservations. Good LUCK! If you know the owner, they MIGHT hold a table ""Goodfella's"" style!\r \r Otherwise, it's first come.....first served. \r \r I have frequented this place for close to 7 years now. The first time I believe, was at the old location. It just keeps getting better! The olives, bread, oil and vinegar.... the atmosphere, it's second to NONE.\r \r I am originally from Detroit and lived in New England for several years. You come to expect certain things from Italian joints in big Eastern cities. Seedy neighborhoods, no parking, high prices and unreliable service.\r Dolce Vita has ANY place I've eaten in New York, Jersey or any big Eastern city BEAT, hands down. The prices are very reasonable, and the food is GREAT. The neighborhood is VERY safe (allowing you to walk off the 5 pounds of culinary bliss), and just up the street from Mike's Pastry! \r Yeah, I have had better service, cheaper prices and MAYBE even a better dish....... But NOTHING compares overall to Franco's place: Dolce Vita. \r Stroll in EARLY. Take a seat, munch on some bread and olives while you decide what to eat. You might even be lucky enough to catch Franco singing ""Volare"" or ""O Sole Mio"".\r \r Take it all with a grain of salt! \r \r When you are at ""Dolce Vita"", you are at one of those places. The kind of place where if you open yourself to new experiences and the romance of a man who TRULY cares about his patrons.... you will realize that after you've eaten there , you are a part of the family. Pros: GREAT place for atmosphere and Excellent food. Cons: Everything comes off a little cheesy and ""Canned"" which is too bad, because the old man REALLY DOES LOVE YOU! more

Worst service ever!!! 11/27/2007

My friends and I had a sat/9pm dinner reservation. We got there at 8:30 so we could be ready to sit down when our table was ready. We were not seated until 11:15pm. The waiter asked one member of the group if she would like an appetizer. He took the liberty to give us 3 orders even though no one else wanted or ordered an appetizer. The dinner took forever and was average at best. When the bill came, we were shocked. The waiter had added and extra dollar or two for every item on the bill including the 3 orders of bruschetta. When we let the waiter know and showed him the different prices on the menu and our bill he said we were wrong and too bad we have to pay it. This was a very horrible experience. I will never go back. Pros: location Cons: service, food, prices more

Worst reservation experience ever! 9/24/2007

Owner DOES NOT honor reservations! Arrived 20 minutes early--we were never asked our name, he has no reservation book. Told to wait, and we did for almost an hour to no avail. He gives the SAME story to every person walking thru the door. Place is noisy and resembles a cafeteria. Please read other reviews similar to this one-- it is all true- i wish that i had known--the owner gives no consideration to your dining experience. We left and never even bothered to wait any longer--I would not give this place a second thought. This was a Saturday night experience--i do not know how it is during the week. more

Excellent Traditional Italian 5/3/2007

It was Sunday afternoon (about 3PM) as we walked down Hanover street, looking for a place to ""settle-in"" for the next couple of hours for a leisurely dinner.\r \r As we perused the menu outside of Dolce Vita, an elderly gent stuck his head out the door and said to us ""Welcome, welcome... very good food, good price, you come in, welcome..."" So we did. It wasn't busy in the restaurant, but we warned the server anyhow not to rush us. We expected to be there ""quite a while."" He was good with it.\r \r We had appetizers, pasta course, entrees, and deserts. All WONDERFUL.\r \r The Sicilian antipasto, of grilled and marinated vegetables, was awesome. Seriously, how can simple veggies grilled over charcoal taste this good? Very impressive.\r \r We split an order of spaghetti Carbonara (the waiter asked us ""egg sauce or cream sauce"" -- very thorough), which was also just plain excellent.\r \r My wife had the shrimp Scampi -- and said it wave positively lovely. I had the veal Marsala, which was truly excellent... the veal was very tender, not the shoe leather I've been served recently even in some decent restaurants.\r \r Desert (cannolis) was fine, but nothing special.\r \r Overall, a very pleasant experience. I'd certain go back, and I'd certainly recommend Dolce Vita. Pros: Excellent traditional Italian fare more

Awesome North End Experience!! :) 1/8/2007

My brother's college roommate is visiting us from Brooklyn and he had never been to Boston before (gasp!) so I was in charge of giving him a great Boston experience. I thought the North End woulod be a fantastic cap off to his trip. Usually when dining in the North End I usually choose a restaurant by strolling around and browsing menus but I went out on a limb and chose Dolce Vita from their website. We had a 6:30 reservation, and while my brother and his friend arrived on time, my parents and sister and I were late. This was no problem, however, they sat my brother and friend and our table was still there when we arrived 20 minutes late. Our server was very accomodating making it a very relaxed experience. He let my younger sister choose whatever she would like to eat and fixed a plate for her. The owner was EXTREMELY sweet and engaging, not at all rude like some other reviews have mentioned. He chose a bottle of wine for me and told me if I didn't like it I would not have to pay for it. There were two little girls at the table next to us and he invited them up to dance with him and the accordian player and kissed them on the foreheads when they left. He even posed for pictures with them for their parents. He watched over the dining room throughout the whole meal and made sure each guest was being attended to. The atmosphere was perfect. It is such a trendy, beautiful place with rice oil paintings on the walls and white table cloths which are complimented by the ebulient zest of the servers and staff that make you feel as though you are eating at home. The food was delicious! Then for dessert they made us a special dessert of a large piece of tiramisu surrounded by a cannoli for each of us. While I wouldn't recommend conducting a serious business transaction there, I would HIGHLY recommend Dolce Vita for almost any other event or party of any size! I would especially recommend it for visitors with children, there are very few places so welcoming! Pros: Awesome atmosphere, great overall experience, enlightening experience! Cons: NONE! more

Phenomenal..for a dining experience 12/21/2006

When you go to Dolce Vita, it's all about the experience. If you want food fast, go to Burger King. Going to this restaurant is like walking into a celebration. Everything is done with enthusiasm. The owner greets everyone with a warm welcome. If it's someone's birthday, everyone in the restaurant joins in and sings making it a special place. Whatever you want, the chef will make. The wine is delicious and the service is impeccable. A warning though, this is not for a short evening. If you are a person who rushes through dinner or wants to sit quietly then this is not for you. I can't emphasize how fantastic this restaurant is for people looking for a dining experience in Italy and not just a plate of pasta. more

Worst Ambience 11/28/2006

My friend and I had made a reservation on a Saturday night for 2. Once we got there, no one greated us and had to hunt down the host/owner. We sat at the bar and waited an hour past our reservation time before we were seated. From 8:30pm until close there must have been 8 birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated, which is fine. But it's not ok when they turn the lights out and sing (with an accordion and microphone with the owner joining in) for 10 minutes while the rest of the customers can't see what they are eating. This place was completely obnoxious and not at all enjoyable. Go somewhere else. more

NEVER AGAIN 11/1/2006

I had made reservations a week prior to my friends birthday because she thought it looked cute from the outside. Well if we had known the outside was going to be the best part, we would never have gone. The owner was the rudest man alive, kept pushing us away and saying ""bella, bella"" and "" ay ay ay"". After waiting an hour for a table that we reserved way ahead of time and having the owner pick fights with a two of the women we were with, he tried to make it up to us by giving us a ""private room"". Well leading us to the basement and making us sit in a dingy old room next to the kitchen is not what I had intended for my friend's birthday. The food was pretty decent to be honest but way over priced for the proportions. It is not quiet like the restaurant advertises.Do your self a favor, don't go here! Pros: food was alright Cons: SERVICE.Ambience.SERVICE. more

not worth the money 9/1/2006

two couples, 8:oopm res., told to be on time or lose res., got there at 8:00pm & waited, on the sidewalk mind you, til 8:25. expected slow service, it being feast weekend and all. waiter was very nice but the service was terrible. had to ask a diff. waiter for bread & a round, had to flag owner/manager(?) to get a round. had to send back marsala, wrong sides. ordered white wine to go with marsala, wine showed up at dessert. pasta portions were laughable...almost forgot...owner opened a bottle of DOM for the young couple next to us....the cork bounced off the tin ceiling then smacked my wife in the shoulder, left a tiny welt...when we told the owner what happened, he brushed us off, said something in italian as tho he didn't understand english, and walked away....on the flip side, when i did finally get my marsala, it was great!! altho my wifes marsala tasted like yesterdays marsala...2nd couples entrees were good....with 20% tip(small argument ensued) and drinks/app... came to $240.00 and left feeling unsatisfied and still hungry... Cons: service average...very loud more

THE BEST!!! 8/21/2006

We were visiting Boston for the weekend. I made reservations the week before for a Sat night @ 7pm. We showed up at 6:45pm and were seated by the owner at 7pm. The wait staff was wonderful. They paid special attention to my teen kids and joked and spoke with them often. They remembered everything about our order and it was delcious! I only wish that I had skipped Legal Seafood the previous night (it was awful!) and went to Dolce Vita for 2 nights instead! The waiter said, create your own menu...whatever you want. The carbonara was great...I'll be back for sure. Pros: Ambience, service, food! Cons: There were none. more

Dinner??? What Dinner??? 2/26/2006

Had a Sat night reservation for 8pm... We were brushed off by the owner when we told him we were there waiting for our table.. ""oh bella bella i see you""... At 9pm we let him know we had a show to get to at 10pm (thinking to ourselves it was too late to get into another North End restaurant at this time on Sat night we stupidly waited). Again we were treated rudely.. ""bella i told you i saw you waiting... i am working very hard... we have a wait b/c of the snow""... I'm sorry does it usually not snow in Boston during the winter???? How would that effect reservations??? Finally at 9:45 we left and went to a wonderful express place on the corner!!!!!!!!! Cons: Rude Owner, Rude Owner, Rude Owner more

Rude Owner- Ruins the night 1/31/2006

The owner needs to take customer service classes! Rushed us through our meal, hovered over our shoulders, telling us that we were late for our reservation (we were 15 minutes early!), and hung up on us when we tried to call him. As it was a celebration, we were not happy. All he cared about was turning over the tables to make more money. Spent quite a bit of money to enjoy ourselves, not be stared at and watch him yell at waitstaff in front of everyone. Won't be going back. Pros: , Location Cons: Crowded, Management, Rude more

Rude! 12/11/2005

We had 8:30 reservations on Saturday night for a party of 6. When we showed up we were told that they were running behind and it would be 20 minutes. We had to wait outside in the cold because there were so many other people waiting inside. Another person told me they waited over an hour for their ""reserved"" table. After 20 minutes of waiting, we asked again and were told by the condescending host that he would take care of us. He kept saying ""What can I do? People aren't leaving."" After reading the other reviews I realize this is standard operating practice. We left and went somewhere else. We got the impression that they really DON'T care about the customers. Cons: rude, long wait more
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Menu for La Dolce Vita

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  • The Scene
    Rare is the restaurant dominated by a figure other than the chef, but here owner Franco Graceffa serves as greeter, menu interpreter and entertainer. Only diners without a pulse...

  • 10/19/2006 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Mon. - Sun. 11am - 11pm
  • Payments:

    Master Card, Cash, Discover, Visa, American Express
  • Neighborhoods:

    North End, Central

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