11/30/2012 05:00:00 PM

Cinquecento Opens Tonight in the South End

Cinquecento opens tonight. Photo by Izzy Berdan
From the Soho Grand-esque staircase leading to the second floor, to the brick walls and dark wood accents, Cinquecento straddles the line between chic and rustic. The Roman-style trattoria, from The Aquitaine Group, opens tonight in the South End for dinner.

The launch is one of two this evening, as Will Gilson is also debuting Puritan & Company across town in Cambridge. That makes nearly five Boston openings within a week.

As the name implies - meaning 500 in Italian - the restaurant at 500 Harrison Ave. (formerly Rocca) has been transformed into a low-lit romantic haven. The second floor bar and dining room is the main attraction, offering various dining seating from booths to tables as well as decorations like wine bottle displays, books and vintage signs. The first floor is dedicated to private dining space with its own bar.

“It’s a longtime coming,” said Aquitaine Group partner Seth Woods at the opening night party earlier this week. “It wasn’t easy making a two-floor environment that felt like one.”

The restaurant seats 126 in the main dinging room with 22 at the bar; in the summer, the 60-seat patio will be a treat. The menu, focused on cuisine from Romano, runs the gamut from antipasti, like tomato braised tripe and Parmigiano Reggiano, soups and salads, to salumi (cured meats), pastas like gnocchi with wild boar, and main dishes such as fluke in parchment with potatoes, leek and porcini mushrooms. Between pastas and entrees, prices run $14.25 to $28.50. The chef de cuisine is Justin Winters (most recently of Sorellina). Wine, beer and Roman-inspired cocktails are also part of the mix.

Cinquecento will be open for dinner Sunday through Wednesday, 5-11 PM; Thursday through Saturday, 5 PM-midnight. The bar opens at 4 PM.

The Aquitaine Group operates the AquitaineMetropolis Café, Gaslight, Union Bar and Grille and the Greenlight Café.

500 Harrison Ave., South End; 617-338-9500


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