Good italian in East Boston?
carmen's kitchen is quite good, but you have to bring your own beer or wine. there's a liquor store a block away, so it's no problem. the everyday menu is quite affordable, but the specials are extremely expensive, $35-$40.
rino's is excellent, especially their handmade pastas, but you can't make reservations and are often left standing outside on the corner waiting for your table. they're specials are exquisite.
zafferano's is excellent high-end italian, but there's a price-tag along with that. the husband & wife team who run the place are incredibly friendly.
caffe italia on meridian street (caffe italia 2 next to carmen's seems to have closed) is also good, though in my opinion second to rino's, and has several rooms catering to different dining styles.
santarpio's is an institution and rightly so. go for some homemade grilled sausage with fresh bread and hot peppers, then order a pizza. it's almost all they serve (some lamb tips, too), but it's really, really good food. be prepared to stand outside, regardless of the weather, on weekends.
no Pizzeria Toto is no longer open. Ironically, there is not a whole lot of good pizza in Eastie other than Santarpio's..... Kelly's I could swear puts american cheese on its pizza depending on which day you order.
Rino's is awesome and my favorite
Zafferano's is good, but the service really rubs me the wrong way, and I do think it's slightly overpriced.
Santarpio's is terrific.
Jevelli's is old school. Like you order celery and olives. And the red sauce is really thick and acidic. but it's a throw back.
You took the words right out of my mouth re: Rino's, Santarp's, and Jeveli's. Another good one is Caffe Italia in Central Square. They have an old-fashioned Italian cafe in the front where you can get cappuccino and pastries, and they have a room out back where you can order excellent Italian dinners.
Cafe Italia II on Benington street closed. Cafe Italia in central square can be a throwback, too. Lots of big men drinking out of little espresso cups all day long.
Did I mention Rino's? Really quite excellent. Homemade pasta (sometimes to order based on what you're getting), well seasoned and well prepared meats, excellent seafood, and delicious red sauce standbys. I normally always order off the specials menu. And the lunch there is a fabulous deal! Closed on sundays, sometimes closed for private parties, and often busy so call in advance.
The three places I've heard the most
recommendations for are:
Rino's Place (Saratoga St.)...
Zafferano's (Orient Heights)...
Santarpios (right near the tunnel)...
I've also heard some good things about
Jevelli's in Day Square.
Not necessarily Italian, but my brother
(who lives in Eastie) likes the Kelly
Square pub for cheap eats as well.