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North End?

Hi all,

We will be celebrating an anniversary the first weekend in August. I really would like to go somewhere in the North End but, there are many places on my list... Sage, Mamma Maria, Neptune Oyster, Taranta, and Carmen. Any thoughts on these places or suggestions for other places to try in the North End?


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  1. Of the places you have listed, my favorites are Sage and Neptune Oyster. Sage is a cozy little spot that takes reservations and the meal that I had there a few months back was really delicious. Neptune Oyster is a more casual spot with a varied oyster selection and a yummy lobster roll. I used to love Carmen but had such bad service on two occasions, that I no longer go there. Another place to add to your list is Prezza. Very good food, a great bar area and they take reservations and serve dessert (a combo which is rare in the North End).

    Happy anniversary!

    1. A friend recently went to Mamma Maria and said her meal, service and everything was spectacular.

      1. I always liked the menu and value at Bella Vista. Make a reservation. Even though it isn't always necessary, they appreciate it. I usually alternate between the Veal Saltimbocca and the Lobster Fra Diavolo. You won't believe the price for the lobster!

        The rolls are nothing spectacular, but they come from Pantedosi Bakery. This brings back fond childhood memories for me, but that is my mileage.

        I ususally skip desert and hit Modena Pastry (lesser known, lesser crazy, better than Michaels). If their selection has been wiped out by the crowds, Cafe Pompei (owned by the same family that runs Bella Vista and Saracenos) is open late with a good selection.

        1 Reply
        1. re: davidsmith95

          Should I go to Bella Vista rather than Saraceno's for the lobster? I was told both places specialize in Neapolitan cuisine, so I'm expecting a lot of traditional red sauce. Fra Diavolo is red sauce kicked up a notch with hot pepper flakes, etc.

          I'm tired of being dragged to Joe Tecce's all the time.

        2. If you want Lobster Fra Diavolo, definitely go to Bella Vista. If you want another lobster preparation, I don't have a recommendation. I only "buy" lobster this way (or baked stuffed). Otherwise, I catch them anc cook them myself.

          Good luck!

          4 Replies
          1. re: davidsmith95

            I enjoy Lobster prepared in a red sauce with a side of linguine. I think Bella Vista can handle that with no problem. Then over to Michael's for some good pastry. I may try Modena also. Thanks for the heads up.

            1. re: Cheese Boy

              I think he might be referring to Modern, not Modena. And it's Mike's, not Michael's. Just so you don't get completely lost!

              1. re: yumyum

                That's a lot of corrections. I wonder about his credibility now. HHmmm. I think we'll be all right. Thank you for the more accurate info, much appreciated fellow Katz's fan.

                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  I've never heard of Bella Vista so I cannot confirm or deny the food there.

                  Of the places you mention, my favorites are Sage (cute and cozy but some might say cramped, great gnocchi) and Neptune Oyster -- romantic booths and great bivalves would be nice for an anniversary. Kinda loud so you would have to canoodle, which is not a bad thing.

          2. Well, if you can snag an upstairs window table at Mamma Maria's, that can be REALLY special. The food and wine there is quite wonderful, and the views from an upstairs window table is the very definition of "romantic." Sage is much smaller, less overtly formal, but serves tremendous food. I also love Terramia on Salem Street. Again, tiny and charming versus formal. The lobster fritters and open-faced seafood ravioli there are great, as is their lamb specials. Neptune Oyster, Taranta, and Carmen, while certainly very good, don't strike me as "special event" restaurants.

            1. We had a great experience at Mama Maria's. The atmosphere is romantic and the sevice was gracious - when we arrived our table was not ready so the manager showed us to the bar for a complimentary cocktail, the food was also excellent. Our only experience at Carmen was not so great recently. My girlfriend's food arrived cold and the server's response was "Oh, you want it hot?" It was sent back and took so long to arrive again that it was impossible to enjoy our meals together.

              1. You got me on Modern Pastry and Mike's. I can understand getting Mike's wrong, don't know where Modena came from. I assure you their pastry does NOT taste like vinegar!



                1. Mamma Maria and ask for the Terrace / 99

                  1. Just wanted to follow-up. We went to Mamma Maria for a 7:30 reservation on Saturday night. We arrived a little early so we sat at the tiny bar and started with a bottle of Sangeoviese which we took to our table when it was ready. Unfortunately, we were seated next to a large group which was rather loud. But, after a few tables around us asked to be moved the host asked them to quite down and they did.

                    We decided to share a few items. We started with the oxtail ravioli which was just wonderful! Full rich flavor! We only wished there was more. Then we had the fava bean salad which again was great! Light and summery... it was just the opposite of the oxtail. Then we split the rabbit pasta dish which was good but not as good as the appetizers. It had a bit of a chicken noodle soup taste to it so we weren't sure of they used too much chicken broth or what we were picking up. The rabbit was nice and moist. Overall the dish was very good. Then for desert we tried their version of the tiramisu. It was not the traditional ratio of lady fingers to marscapone instead it was more marscapone which was a bit too rich for me but we still managed to finish it off! We really enjoyed the food! However, we were a bit disappointed in the service by our waiter. He did not tell us about a special which they had that evening and I heard the waiter at the next table after we had already ordered. Also, our waiter seemed to be rushing us. The food came out extremely quickly and after dessert he brought us the check right away without asking if we wanted coffee or anything. Instead we strolled around the North End and ended the evening with espresso at a cafe... which was a better option at that point! Overall, the food at Mamma Marias was very enjoyable and the room and bar are lovely however, I would have enjoyed it more if the service had been better.