Friends, I’m beyond thrilled to introduce you to your new favorite dining destination here in Boston. Conceived exclusively for The Newbury Boston by internationally acclaimed hospitality company Major Food Group, Contessa is now open for business. The dramatic glass-enclosed four-season rooftop restaurant joins The Newbury's newly reimagined Street Bar, in-room personal dining and thoughtfully curated event experiences to create an unforgettable culinary destination.
Contessa brings to Boston’s food and hospitality scene the spirit of a grand Italian trattoria complete with sweeping views of this remarkable city I love so much. When you join me at Contessa, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner, expect to be beguiled by the captivating panoramic city skyline which dominates the room by way of floor-to-ceiling windows and retractable glass roof panels. By day, from your perch on sun-soaked velvet seats, you’ll see Boston painted in shades of blue and green punctuated by pops of russet and burnt sienna from the brownstones rising above the Back Bay and beyond. At night, romance and the thrill of revelry fills the air as the stars and dazzling lights of the city’s skyscrapers brighten up any dark night. Among Neoclassical motifs, Art Deco references, and Mid Century modern detailing that honor Milan’s most famous designers like Piero Portoluppi (Piero Portaluppi) and Gio Ponti, Contessa invokes the nostalgia of another age when dining was an art and a pleasure, making it a dazzling destination and favorite location to celebrate special occasions for generations of Boston locals.
Adorning The Newbury as a crown jewel, Contessa’s stylish décor celebrates her rich heritage as the glamorous Old Ritz and combines the sophistication of old-world Europe with the luxury of Italian royalty. “Inspired by that heritage and the incredible views, we designed a dreamscape palette of plaster, marble, velvet and lush greenery that would complement the city skyline and views of the Garden at any hour of the day," said my dear friend Ken Fulk, Contessa’s interior designer who drew inspiration from a spirited era of three-martini lunches, dancing, and high tea.
With her street entrance at 3 Newbury, those wishing to visit can enjoy direct access to a sleek elevator cab that discreetly transports guests to the 17th floor, where a 4,000 sq. ft. secret Italian garden in the sky awaits. The restaurant lobby adorned with trompe l’oeil velvet drapes reveals a bucolic landscape by muralist Deborah Phillips and suggests the garden-like experience and whimsically surreal banquet waiting for you above.
Mosaic tile floors accentuate the rose-hued walls trimmed with polished wood paneling, and a series of arches with custom marble accents hailing from Milan pave the path to the dining room. Among potted trees and vines that accentuate the luxe Italian style, guests can order from a selection of Italian classics at the glossy wooden bar styled after a vintage Riva speedboat, or have a seat at tufted emerald-green banquettes paired with enamel-topped tables intimately brightened by vintage lamps and adorned with retro-inspired artwork that call back to old Boston.
Dining at Contessa is an immersive experience in fine cuisine handcrafted by another dear friend, Mario Carbone of Major Food Group. Unlike Carbone’s hearty southern Italian style, Contessa’s northern Italian creative palette is geared toward all-day dining and includes prosciutti from five different regions in Italy; antipasti like Octopus Agrodolce con Peperone and Carpaccio of Chianina Beef; primi pasta staples like Tortellini en Brodo; and secondi dishes featuring fish, meat, and poultry accompanied by classics like Dry-Aged Bistecca Fiorentina and Gamberoni al Forno con Fagioli. For the first time in Major Food Group’s history, pizza graces the menu with ingredients like vongole , salumi, or funghi for a perfectly crisp meal.
And of course, what’s a good meal without a good drink? Guests looking to imbibe can choose from an expertly sourced cocktail list developed by beverage director Thomas Waugh. Cocktails shaken and stirred by expert bartenders reflect updated recipes harkening back to the 1920s with featured favorites like the Spritz, Vesper, Negroni, Bellini, and chilled Martini. Contessa’s wine program by wine director John Slover boasts a sought-after menu of nebbiolo-based wines from Lombardy, Barolo, and Barbaresco as well as bottles from Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy for guests to browse. Contessa’s sommeliers offer table side recommendations and even secure rare bottles by special request. For a sweet end to a glamorous dining experience, don’t forget to indulge in a selection of specially curated deserts. My personal favorite? Well the Boston Cream Pie Bomboloni (Crema di Boston), of course!
For those of you looking for an even more intimate place to dine, private events can be reserved in the beautiful brick-lined wine room. Guests ride a dedicated elevator up to the separate dining room atop Contessa for an exclusive view of the Public Garden and Boston Common while surrounded by the restaurant’s extensive wine collection. Contessa’s wine room is unlike any other private dining experience in Boston, making it the perfect location to dine and celebrate in luxurious peace and quiet.
Contessa is open to hotel guests and Bostonians alike, with daily operating hours and schedule reservations online or at [email protected]. Contessa is an elegant dining affair in the heart of Boston, and her seats won’t be open for long. Schedule your meal with us today—we’ll have a full plate waiting for you.