The Boston Phoenix
June 18 - 25, 1998

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Galleria Italiana lunches

Truffles by night, trays by day

On the Cheap by Rob McKeown

Galleria Italiana, on the edge of the Common, is known for serving some of the city's most inspired Italian food. But at lunchtime, this dressed-up trattoria dresses down -- way down. Gone are the white tablecloths, informative waiters, and entrées topping $20. In their place is, of all things, a buffet luncheon, where for anywhere from $5 to $9, one can sample an array of homemade pasta, polenta, panini, and Italian staples such as chicken Marsala. Grab a tray, get in line, and point at what you want; $6 buys three different pastas (in hearty portions) from a choice of many: there's ziti tossed with arugula and fresh tomatoes, and linguine with tiny shrimp, a lively thyme-

infused cream sauce, and a dash of hot pepper. The polenta here (served from the pasta counter) shows why it can be the most memorable of starches, lush and hearty with meaty mushrooms and peas. And that's just a sampling. If that much pasta is too much at midday, you can always choose the one pasta/one entrée option ($7 to $8). There are usually flawless renditions of chicken parm, which is pleasantly tender, as well as sausages and peppers, alongside daily specials such as lightly breaded sole with seasonal veggies.

Galleria Italiana, located at 177 Tremont Street, Boston, is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (617) 423-2092.

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