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Silverware embedded in the sidewalk? And other North End questions.

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My Midwestern in-laws remember coming to Boston several years ago and eating at a restaurant in the North End that Zagat's called "the best of the red-sauce places" and that had silverware embedded in the sidewalk outside. This was before I knew their son and I wasn't there. Does anyone know what place they are talking about?

They are returning to visit this weekend and although I am going to take them someplace else, they wanted to know the name of the place they had been before.

As for where I am really going to take them, are Cibo and Antico Forno still the best places for value-for-money in the NEnd? I'd prefer to eat at Sage or Prezza myself, but I've discovered, through many disappointing experiences, that (despite having much more money than me) they are easily sticker-shocked, and that amazing food does not outweigh their discomfort.

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  1. Pagliuca's on Parmenter Street. I walk on that silverware everyday.

    1. Good call! Pagliuca's is the place in the North End where "the" Vinny of Vinny's at Night suggested we go when Vinny's was closed on a particular day.

      It was indeed a very good Italian restaurant. (I will not sully it with the pejorative "red sauce" label.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Bob and birdy30 are correct. Note that there's also silverware embedded in the sidewalk outside of the space where Sage used to be.

      2. IMO Cibo and Antico Forno are both quite good and a good value. Antico Forno takes reservations where Cibo does not, so I usually bring the family there. I like Antico Forno's apps and Cibo's pastas. Enjoy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: eriberri

          Yeah, I LOVE Antico Forno but keep in mind they are by no means a "traditional red-sauce" sorta place. All cooking is done in their brick oven, which means you won't find things like spaghetti and meatballs or chicken marsala, etc. Instead they've got a great brick-oven cooked gnocchi (served in a terracota bowl), and some delicious pizzas, and some other great items. CIBO has more of the traditional pasta dishes you might associate w/ "red sauce spots.." Both places are good, it just depends what you're looking for.

          1. re: twentyoystahs

            O.K.... brick oven.. I'm drooling.. can't take it... need to go there...

        2. The absolute best place for value-for-the-money in the North End is probably Galleria Umberto -- very much worth it, but open only for lunch and as lunchtime wears on, they run out and close then. Il Panino Express is also in this league, though I prefer GU given a choice. And pizza/subs places like Pizzeria Regina, Ernesto's, and Dino's rate a mention also.

          For good quality sit down places suitable for dinner, Pagliuca's and Antico Forno are likely the best in that regard. Giacomo's, Massimino's and Saraceno's aren't bad on that score either, but stick to basics at the last of these. I didn't like Cibo the time I went.

          1. Pagliuca's has the silverware, but i imagine its not the only place..... Outside of the gelateria are old coins (lire) embedded in the concrete.

            And in front of a corner door (now a residence) at North and Fleet there are scissors and a comb (or something like that) embedded.