“Order in duck, two milanese, and one swordfish.”

“Bob pick up two swordfish all you.”

“Gemelli and tag.”

Chef Rob Picardi wasn’t always a chef.

“I was a football player, I got hurt. And I just realized that I didn’t want to be a nine to fiver and I just figured that I wanted to cook. So I started working in Boston, and I started working for a lot of great chefs. The kitchen was intense, and it reminds me of being on the football team.”

And with just one bite, you’ll find there’s a winning team cooking back in the kitchen at Capella.

Located on Chapel Street in Needham, Cappella Restaurant serves authentic Italian eats in a sultry space you wouldn’t expect to find in the suburbs with dim lighting, handsome leather banquettes and an intimate bar. And when he designed his menu, it had to be simple and it had to be fresh.

“I’m big, big on fresh seafood, good meat and fresh pasta. We use very little ingredients in our food, and simplicity is kind of what we go by.”

So Phantom got himself a cocktail and grabbed a menu in search of the PERFECT MEAL.

The appetizer section of Cappella’s menu is lined with memorable ways to start your dinner.

There are Stewed Clams served with San Marzano tomatoes in a white wine sauce.

Creamy burrata cheese complimented by black mission figs, and aged balsamic.

And a selection of salads including this one with arugula, peaches and pecorino.

But it’s the meatballs that really gets Chef Rob going.

“My meatballs are unbelievable. I’d put ’em up against anybody. We sear them in a cast iron pan, You get a nice char on the outside. And that’s what really makes the meatball good, is that caramelization on the outside of the meatball. Then we transfer them over to a tomato sauce and cook them for about an hour and a half. And they’re big meatballs, they’re three ounces each. So you’re getting 12 ounces of meatballs, in your bowl here. They’re very herbaceous, soft, subtle meatballs. They fall apart right in your mouth.”

Pasta at Cappella is a must order because it’s made daily.

“Real Italian pasta is made every single day. Semolina flour, water, eggs. That’s it. Extrude it or roll it by hand, and then we pick it up in the pan, there’s only like 3 or 4 ingredients in every single pasta dish. So you know you’re getting a real experience here.”

You can opt for fresh gemelli pasta with fennel sausage and escarole.

Twirl-worthy spaghetti in a spicy fra diavolo sauce with fresh shucked lobster.

And then there’s the Paccheri Carbanara- made the way it is in the motherland.

“Our carbonara has no cream, it’s the real deal. Olive oil, egg yolks, pancetta, pecorino, parmesan cheese. That’s real carbonara.”

But for a true taste of the boot, get the tagliatelle bologese.

“Tagliatelle bolognese is a classic, classic Bologna dish right from Italy. Great bolognese is supposed to taste like the meat that you put in the dish, with just a hint of tomato and a hint of cream so you really know you’re eating a good bolognese. Tagliatelle’s a long noodle, thin noodle, when, it’s so good with the bolognese because you twirl it around your fork, you get a little bit of the meat sauce and you get a little bit of that extra drizzle of the sauce on your fork, and it gives you a full mouth feel. Super, super rich with the veal stock and the red wine, and a dash of cream, and a little bit of herbs, so you really, really get a rich tagliatelle dish that you’ll love.”

And the tasty hits keep coming through the entree section of the menu, with comforting half roasted chicken served with potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Perfectly pan seared scallops with chanterelle mushrooms, corn, cherry tomatoes & creamy polenta.

And for a twist on a classic, there’s the pork chop with vinegar peppers. Stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella and served alongside vinegar peppers and potatoes, this is a dish inspired by an unlikely source.

“I was sitting around thinking of how I could do this awesome breaded pork chop. And all of a sudden, KFC popped into my mind with the double down chicken sandwich, that had two fried chicken breasts with the ham and the cheese in the middle, and I said, I could do pork chops like that, and be completely different, to give them an experience that no one’s ever had. So that’s what we decided to do with our pork chop, and it’s been a huge hit. I love the presentation. It really looks like a sandwich when you see it. I love it because I love cheese, I love pork and I love prosciutto. And that’s why I love that dish, it’s, that dish is kind of me, because that’s how I would eat, and I don’t know, it just describes me the best.”

But if “big eater” describes you best, the 36 ounce Tomahawk Ribeye is the entree to order.

“If really want to test the limits of how much you could eat, you have to try the tomahawk steak. It’s really impressive when you see it, so you’re already eating with your eyes, and you’re already satisfied when you see this huge piece of beef come out. And when you cut into it, the juices are flowing, the fat’s melted, you put it in your mouth and you’re having one of the best steaks, I think, anywhere you could possibly have.”

The meatball appetizer, tagliatelle Bolognese and the 36 ounce Tomahawk Ribeye make for THE PERFECT MEAL at Cappella Restaurant.

45 Chapel Street
Needham, MA 02492
(781) 400-5173