Arts restaurant review

Feeling brunch-ish at Faccia a Faccia

A classy Italian restaurant on Newbury Street delivers an exquisite, flavorful experience

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Interior seating at Faccia a Faccia, an Italian restaurant on Newbury Street.
Eunice Zhang–The Tech
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Items on Faccia a Faccia's brunch menu include a rich, doughy pancake and a cacio e pepe scramble.
Eunice Zhang–The Tech

Faccia a Faccia
Italian, $$$
278 Newbury Street 
Boston, MA 02116

Monday–Friday 5–10 p.m.
Saturday 12–3 p.m. & 5–10 p.m.
Sunday 12–8 p.m.

On a chilly November Saturday, I made the trek across the river to have brunch at Faccia a Faccia, a “new coastal Italian restaurant from award-winning chefs and restaurateurs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette,” according to their website. Oringer and Bisssonnette are also the masterminds behind other Boston classics, such as Coppa, Toro, and Little Donkey.

As Faccia a Faccia recently opened for lunch with a brunch-inspired menu, I was invited for a complimentary visit to the restaurant to sample their latest items. The brunch menu includes classics like breakfast sandwiches and fruit plates, along with more unique items like a cacio e pepe scramble.

I arrived at the restaurant at noon, just as the lunch rush was starting to pick up, which gave me ample opportunity to absorb the environment. The atmosphere was relaxed yet classy, with chill Italian music in the background.

While the restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating options, I was seated indoors at a table next to the drinks bar. Unfortunately, it is still illegal for me to sample alcoholic beverages, so I instead enjoyed a fruity Italian soda.

The drink featured the ultimate sign of fanciness (at least by my standards), a slice of orange perched on top. The flavor was a bit too syrupy for my personal preference, but it served as a delicious counterpart to the food I ordered.

In the spirit of brunch, I ordered pancakes (with caramelized apples, fried walnuts, and whipped cream) and the cacio e pepe scramble, which featured “burgundy truffle, guanciale parm, and a side of locally baked sourdough toast.”

Due to my nut allergy, I requested the pancakes be served without walnuts. The restaurant did so without a hitch, relieving my general anxiety around allergens and contamination while eating at restaurants.

Contrary to my expectations of a traditional American stack of pancakes, the pancake arrived in one, glorious, round circle, resembling an angel cake. Thick and doughy with an unexpected hint of a salty undertone, it was a delectable treat complemented well by the caramelized apple bits and whipped cream. When my waiter saw I had monched up all my whipped cream, she offered me more. Great customer service!

Unfortunately, after the first few bites, the pancake’s richness became overwhelming. However, this issue could be alleviated by sharing it with others — the large portion size is certainly enough to share with a party of two or three people. Pancakes, a solid 4/5.

What really blew me out of the park was the cacio e pepe scramble. Though the portion size was deceptively small, the creamy egg and flavorful guanciale — cured Italian pork meat from the jowl or cheek — provided an exquisite explosion of flavor inside my mouth. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine myself transported to a peaceful seaside Italian villa. Scrumptious.

As a strong lover of bread and mild flavors, I could have used some more sourdough bread to complement the toppings on the toast. However, this scramble still receives a 5/5 rating as the highlight of my experience at Faccia a Faccia.

Overall, I had a great experience! Faccia a Faccia’s new brunch menu left a strong impression. Coupling delicious food with great customer service, the restaurant is a lovely brunch spot positioned perfectly in the lively scenery of Newbury Street.