Restaurateur Josephine Megwa—owner of Piattini Wine Cafe on Newbury Street—is bringing another taste of Italy to the Back Bay with her latest venture, Orá Trattorizza. Partnering with Mark Hagopian, owner of the neighboring Charlesmark Hotel, Megwa hopes Bostonians can slow down at the two-floor concept, slated to open on Boylston Street in June.
“Orá means ‘now’ and it comes from the feeling that life is racing by,” Megwa explains. “I see people on their cellphones while they’re having dinner, and they’re missing that eye contact and that conversation, which is why people go out. So I say, ‘Orá.’ Live now, eat now, be present now.”
Megwa tapped design duo Amy Margolis and Ryan Spaulding to create the rustic vibe of the restaurant that features seating for 78 in the main dining area, with an additional 60 on the patio and a 30-seat lounge for private events. With glowing, orb-like lanterns, white walls and a custom oven imported from Italy, Megwa hopes guests feel transported.
“We wanted to evoke warmth,” Megwa says. “We want you to feel like you’re not on Boylston Street, but like maybe you’re in Italy or Europe instead.”
Orá will open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with plans for Sunday brunch as well. The seasonal menu will include salads, such as the kale bowl made with organic greens, corn, roasted barley, grilled fennel, golden raisins and a lemon-cilantro vinaigrette, and brick-oven pizzas that can be made gluten-free, like the melanzane pie topped with fried eggplant, roasted heirloom tomatoes, smoked mozzarella and pesto. Pasta dishes will include options like shrimp al limone with seared prawns, lemon and basil fettuccine, roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic white wine.
For its beverage program, Orá will utilize the Charlesmark Bar helmed by manager Jefferson Ryder, along with offering wines created for the restaurant by a friend of Megwa’s that use the fruits of his Italian family estate in Montespertoli, Tuscany. The house white is a blend of trebbiano, chardonnay and malvasia grapes, while the red combines sangiovese and merlot.
“My whole hope with this restaurant is for people to live in the moment,” Megwa says. “I want people to learn how to slow down a little bit and enjoy the moment and enjoy the food.”
Orá Trattorizza 655 Boylston St., Boston oratrattorizza.com