Cavatelli Bolognese from La Cucina on Hamilton Street in Worcester, MA

La Cucina Italiana is set in an unassuming building on Grafton Hill adjacent to Shakers Café. In truth, I didn’t even know it was there. Apparently they’ve only been open for a couple of months. It is owned and run by Anthony Paranelli Sr., his wife, Carolyn, and several family members including Anthony Paranelli Jr.

The interior on one side has a very unassuming café/diner feel, but the far right has a more elegant and warm restaurant feel. This is where we sat. Fun shabby chic recycled doors hanging against the wall with black and white photos of Worcester’s past added a nice touch. The room also featured a large chalkboard on the opposite wall with the day’s specials written large for all to see.

I ordered the Cavatelli Bolognese from the list of specials. I love Cavatelli pasta. I get tired of the regular choices such as penne and spaghetti. The cavatelli was cooked al dente with a good bite and chew to it. The sauce, or gravy as the Italians say, was a marinara with a house-made sausage minced and spread out in the sauce liberally. The dish was topped with some Parmesan cheese. This hearty portion was served in a large bowl. In fact, it was so hearty that I could only eat half, because I needed room to eat the very large piece of chocolate cake I had after.

Our group is full of good sharers so I was able to try several other dishes. I have to say that everything was great, especially the Porchetta.

We had a very attentive waitress. She was pleasant and worked with another energetic young lady. Both worked in tandem to serve our party of 15 with smiles all around.

Overall, I’d be happy to suggest going here for some classic Italian dishes at a great price. You’ll leave stuffed, or in my case with some leftovers. A few specials caught my eye that I’d like to go back to try on a different day. Although next time I’ll remember it’s a BYOB and bring a bottle of wine to go along with my pasta! They have glasses there for you too.

Additionally, I appreciated that Anthony Jr. came out to visit with us and chat after our meal. That’s a personal touch we enjoy from the owners, because we get to know them a little.