Forcella quietly opened in the North End on Thursday, bringing old-world Italian food to the former Carmen space just days before Christmas.
Nino Trotta — who owns Forcella alongside his girlfriend, general manager Shannon MacGowan, and his brother, wine director Christian Trotta — said that the cozy, candlelit vibe of the restaurant sets Forcella apart in a sea of massive North End trattorias.
“It’s tiny, 33 or 34 seats,” he said. “It’s perfect for a date.”
Chef Robert Morotto, formerly of the Aquitaine Group, has designed a menu that includes dishes from all over Italy, with a slight lean toward Naples, where the Trotta family is from. Primi dishes include meatballs, lobster bisque, and crispy quail, while pastas range from linguine alle vongole and risotto to gnocchi with braised rabbit. Salmon, ribeye, and pork porterhouse round out the menu. While Forcella is focusing on dinner for now, its hours will expand to include lunch in the spring.
The wine list is comprised primarily of boutique producers in Italy, with the exception of a few Champagne options, and there are three beers for those who aren’t in the mood for wine: a Peroni, a Sam Adams, and an IPA that will rotate on a seasonal basis.
Nino, who has lived in the North End since 1988, said that he always loved the space.
“I was friends with the landlord, and the opportunity came along,” he said. “I loved the dark wood, the beautiful, big walls. And it’s right on the Freedom Trail.”
Despite seeing the North End change considerably since he moved here, Nino thinks the neighborhood is still an incredible place to live and work. He’s not deterred by the tourists who stream through on a daily basis.
“It changes for the better,” he said. “Now it’s like Disneyland for adults. It gets wild in a good way. We’re fortunate.”
Forcella, 33 North Square, Boston; Tuesdays–Saturdays from 5 p.m.–11 p.m., Sundays from 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; forcellaboston.com