January 21, 2016 03:36 PM

Tiffany Rose/WireImage

Now we know how the Daddy’s Home star keeps his energy up while pumping iron at the gym.

On Tuesday evening, Mark Wahlberg headed to Strega Waterfront in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood to feast on Italian food with a group of friends. Clad in a black cashmere cardigan sweater, dark blue jeans, and Timberland boots, Mark and his crew enjoyed Rosetta’s Famous Meatballs (recipe below) and Fritto Misto.

The actor is known throughout the restaurant to be a very generous tipper—and Wahlberg’s waiter, Marcel, has nothing but raves for the frequent visitor.

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“Mark is just a regular, down-to-earth guy,” says Marcel. “When he’s dining with us he’s always very gracious to our staff as well as other guests.”

Rather than hide away in a private room, Wahlberg, 44, chose to sit in the main dining room amongst the other diners, often sitting at the same round table in the back of the room.

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After the meal, Wahlberg snapped few photos with Strega staff, mugging for the camera with a cocktail server in the bar area. He and his friends were also spotted eating at Smith & Wollensky earlier, gathering in the Atlantic Room. According to a source at the restaurant, he returned to Strega Waterfront on Wednesday evening.

Born and raised in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Wahlberg is preparing to film a movie about the Boston Marathon Bombings of 2013. His film, Patriot’s Day, recently merged with the movie based on the book Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. The film is expected to go into production in early spring, with Wahlberg playing a cop loosely based on Sgt. Danny Keeler. A production team has already been meeting with survivors and first responders from the bombings and subsequent shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts.

It wasn’t all play for Wahlberg: In addition to hitting the town with his friends, and spending time with the real Danny Keeler, Mark headed to the Massachusetts State House to meet with Governor Charlie Baker for a quick chat. Sources inside the House say Wahlberg was gathering info for his role in the film.

Strega Waterfront

Strega Waterfront’s Rosetta’s Meatballs

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion diced (⅛-inch)

2 cloves garlic minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ lb. porcini mushrooms

¼ lb. mixed wild mushrooms

Pinch crushed red pepper

1¼ lb. ground beef (85/15 blend)

2 large eggs

1 cup grated pecorino romano, plus more for garnish

¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup whole milk

Tomato sauce

Ricotta

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a large pan with olive oil; add the onion and garlic and bring to a medium/high heat. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Next, add the porcini mushrooms and the mixed wild mushrooms and cook for about 8 minutes. The mushrooms should be very soft. Add the crushed red pepper and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

2. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a blender, pulse for about 3 minutes then set it aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, cheese, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand for best results. Add the mushroom mixture and season generously with salt, mixing a little more. Add the milk and do one final mix. The meat mixture should be quite wet.

4. Shape the meat into a desired size (Chef Note: I personally like tennis ball size.) Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a medium/high heat. Brown the meatball on all sides. Place meatballs on a sheet pan and bake them in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.

5. In a deep sauté pan, reheat pomodoro sauce and toss meatballs in the sauce. Scoop 2 oz. of whipped ricotta on plate. Place the meatball on top of ricotta. Add sauce and garnish with parsley leaves. Finish with extra virgin olive oil and grated pecorino Romano.

–Megan Johnson

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