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Arancini (rice balls)

Does anyone have a favorite spot for arancini (rice balls) in the greater Boston area. I'm looking for a place north of Boston that has hot fresh arancini. I tried the arancini at Domenic's in Waltham yesterday. They were okay but small. I have been to Galleria Umberto in the North End but don't want the hassle of trying to find a parking spot. I also don't want to get a parking ticket for double parking on Hanover Street. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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  1. via matta had them on their enoteca menu -- not sure if they still do. sounds like you're looking for something more hefty (these are kind of small, like the size of a golf ball), though, and with easier parking.

    1. Parking or no, Galleria Umberto makes the best version I've had in town (which still doesn't compete with the best I've had in Italy IMO, but I admit that O is highly biased). I haven't cared much for Nebo's or La Summa's. The menu on Prezza's website lists some fancy ones with butternut squash, hazelnuts and crab--but I'm not sure where the actual rice ball is in all of that.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tatamagouche

        Hi Tatamagouche. I just had Prezza's arancini last week - delicious. The hazelnuts, crab, and cubed butternut squash are part of the brown-butter 'sauce' for the arancini.

        Pic of the ones with lobster and mascarpone from this summer:

        1. re: Rubee

          Wow, those look good. Hardly Sicilian street food but darned handsome.

          1. re: tatamagouche

            Sorellina also has a fancy-schmancy mighty tasty arancini.

            1. re: Rubee

              Have to agree. My DC had them when we were there on the w/e and they were wicked good

      2. stella in the south end has decent ones.

        2 Replies
        1. re: coookie

          Once upon a time I *LOVED* the arancini at Stella - they were served in a delicious, tangy tomato sauce. On my last visit they had changed the sauce to something so spicy I couldn't taste the arancini nor my bolognese entree.

          1. re: heathermb

            Last I had them was over a year ago, so it's too bad that they've been ruined :(

        2. La Cascia's in Medford has Umberto-esque ones, filled with beef or spinach.

          They also have remarkably good Sicilian slices. Heresy, I know, but I personally prefer them to Umberto's.

          1. While I agree that I would never even dream of driving a car into the North End, Galleria Umberto's arancini are so superior that unless you have a health issue that keeps you from walking a few blocks, why not take the T?

            1. I think it maybe hard to do better than Umberto, because they fry them regularly (not quite to order, but usually every 5-15 minutes). For instance Caffe di Calabria in Saugus once served me a really tasty (with peas like Umberto) softball sized arancini, but they were in a tupperware container and then nuked. I have also seen them around Medford in Italian shops (Il Sogno), the caffe on Main that recently changed hands, etc. Vinny's has them on the antipasta table too.

              9 Replies
              1. re: itaunas

                Il Sogno put in a warming oven thingy and since then (and this may be coincidence) I'm not loving their arancini as much. They are ham (very bacony-tasting ham) and the flavor is still good but the texture is a mite gummy. They do NOT have the tomato/pea stuffing somebody was requiring. But hey, they're only a buck. Italo Bakery on Main sometimes has them but only on weekends IIRC.

                I *am* loving Il Sogno's calzone, got one this weekend that was sliced meat, cheese, chard & onion. $2.50. Not huge but a heavy snack/light meal.

                1. re: Aromatherapy

                  Il Sogno's ... I've never heard of this place. Just googled and see it's on Spring Street? What else is good?

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Deli with quite good sandwiches; they also offer pizzas and catering (never tried). Not a destination, really, but old-style Medford neighborhood shop. The usual imported stuff. Sign up that "Italian seeds are in" for the gardeners out there.

                    1. re: Aromatherapy

                      Thanks -- sounds like a place I'd really dig, especially the seeds. (Oh, no pun intended.)

                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                        To get there from Salem street you can turn right at Panda Palace. If crossing over from Everett/Malden, I think its called Medford St coming over from Highland.

                        I enjoy their sandwiches too, but for most Italian goods I prefer the shop next to Abbondanza on Main St in Everett. Definately check the dates on packaged goods.

                    2. re: Aromatherapy

                      Are the arancini at Il Sogno in Medford a buck??? If so, how big are they and are they tasty?

                      1. re: buffet king

                        I think they're tasty but, as I said, a bit gummy lately and maybe not what you're expecting. Not as big as some, I dunno. Hey, it's only a buck, take a chance. Good to hear something about the food at Baccini.

                      2. re: Aromatherapy

                        I went to Il Sogno today in Medford and got some arancini. Yes, they are only a dollar. The arancini were indeed a little gummy and a little oily. No way near Galleria Umberto and not as good as Domenic's. But they were edible. I'm still looking for softball sized good tasting arancini.

                      3. re: itaunas

                        FYI, the caffe on Main Street in Medford is Caffe Baccini. I have had their meatball sub and a prosciutto, mozzarella and basil sub. Both subs were pretty good.

                      4. Paolina's Cafe on Humphrey Street in Swampscott. Everything is homemade by by Paolina and her husband, both straight from Italy. The arancini (a special) is fresh, good and authentic, as are all the offerings. Paolina is super-friendly and a hoot, too.


                        1. It is a very fancy restaurant but the arancini stuffed with crabmeat at Sorrelinas is great!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emilief

                            HA. I just posted the same thing before I read yours. I went for the first time last week. Great dinner.

                          2. Another place in Medford: Victor's Deli

                            They have them on and off as specials. They're the big, fist sized, balls. They close pretty early though 5 or 6 in the evening.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: horrible

                              Victor's Deli in Medford? Are you sure it's not Somerville? There is a Victor's Deli on Broadway in Somerville. is that the place? How are the arancini at Victor's Deli?

                              1. re: buffet king

                                I think the food at Vicotr's in Somerville is not that great... but I guess you neve know until you try. I knwo that Vinney's in SOmerville (the subshop w/ the "secret" restaurant - not the VInney's at night) sells them. Not sure how often they are made though...

                            2. Though I'm not a huge fan of Spinelli's in East Boston, I love their arancini. They are large, always nicely warm and moist with either meat/peas or cheese. Modern Pastry in Medford was doing arancini, pizza, and such. Not bad arancini, but I detected a heavy allspice flavor last I had them. I absolutely love everything at Domenic's in Waltham, but I have to say I don't love their arancini. They are too dry for me. I still just always go back to Spinelli's for arancini.

                              1. If you're ever up in Gloucester, I used to eat yummy ones from the pastry/coffee/soccer watching cafe on the end of Main Street right by the rotary near Mystery Train. (The best ones used to be at a market down by the Chamber of Commerce, but that's long gone.) There are probably other good spots in fishtown because a good percentage of Gloucester is Italian.

                                1. meridian market in east boston makes good arancini. you can get beef or spinach. they're a good size and the "gravy" is homemade & tasty. they're right on meridian street OVER the sumner tunnel.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jessemkahn

                                    Can you tell me more about the arancini at Meridian Market in East Boston? How much do they cost? Are they freshly made?

                                    1. re: buffet king

                                      I went to Meridian Market in East Boston today. I got some arancini. The arancini are $3 each and well worth every penny. They are soft ball sized, warm and filled with ground beef, tomato sauce, peas and cheese. They were very good. I was lucky enough to find a parking space about a 5 minute walk away. The arancini at Meridian Market are just as good or better than the arancini at Galleria Umberto in my opinion.

                                  2. I was at Sorisso in the South End about a month ago and had them there. They were fantastic! Gorgeous and crispy outside and melt in your mouth amazing on the inside. You probably want to check their web site or call ahead because the menu changes often.