2008 Best Romantic Restaurant, Affordable

Dim lighting and deep red accents set the mood at Grotto, an Italian eatery nestled into the eastern slope of Beacon Hill. Chef-owner Scott Herritt delivers unexpected luxury in his $35 three-course prix fixe, which sashays smoothly from southern simplicity (grilled calamari and white beans with lemon) to northern decadence (gnocchi with short ribs and Gorgonzola). It’s cuisine that bespeaks seduction; fortunately, the vibe is casual enough to make it seem as if you’re not trying too hard.

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