Grazie: 26 Marshall St., North Adams. 413-664-0044, graziena.com. Open for take-out and dine-in, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Recipe for success: Owners David Moresi and Matt Tatro have created something special with Grazie. The 2017's Best of the Berkshires' Best Italian Restaurant strikes a balance of accessible high dining in price, location (it's almost directly across the street from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), tone and hospitality. If you can only afford to go out to a fancy restaurant occasionally, Grazie is sure to please without breaking the bank. Its most expensive menu item is $36, and most items cost between $15 to $22.
The restaurant has one of the most diverse and well-crafted lobster menus you'll find up North, but you'll also find eight varieties of antipasti, some delectable risotto with sea scallops, filet mignon, stuffed cod and some well-balanced Italian flatbreads, just to name a few. You won't be overwhelmed by the size of its menu, as Grazie focuses on quality over quantity of items.
What we can't get enough of: At the core of Grazie's menu is its pasta — some of the most flavorful and well-cooked in the county, and it's a staple of most of it's cena supper dishes (Grazie's entree dish). Before Grazie, I had no idea how well lobster went with pasta and red pepper flakes, or how well lemon cream risotto went with scallops.
Its Italian flatbreads are also a welcome surprise. While Northern Berkshire County has no shortage of experimental pizza places, none of them have crusts thinner than Grazie's flatbreads, and none with the variety of ingredients and flavor combinations Grazie has.
With a clean, friendly and professional atmosphere, Grazie is the perfect place to impress a date or just to try something new.