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Antico Forno - bad food, great pizza

Went to Antico Forno for the first time last night. We had an excellent pizza with sausage, broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes, and mozz di bufala. Perfect crust, nicely salty, crumbly sausage perfectly cooked, not oily at all.

However, the rest of the food was pretty bad.

We started with bowls of ribollita - terrible. Very bland, underseasoned, only a couple little cubes of bread - it tasted like they used canned soup and chucked some croutons in it. After the pizza, my girlfriend had baked rigatoni with sausage and ricotta, and I had veal scalopini with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, roasted potatos, and green beans. The rigatoni was overcooked and the sauce tasted like spaghettios sauce. The veal underwhelming - bland, underseasoned sauce, underseasoned boring potatos and green beans, canned artichoke hearts, and shiitakes that were clearly just chopped thin and thrown into the sauce and not sauteed first.

I might be back for pizza at Antico Forno (some of the best pizza I've had in Boston), but I have the feeling that is the only item they have on the menu that is any good.

We did go to Finale for dessert. I haven't been for a while, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had the seasonal sampler - bundt cake with creme anglaise and cranberry sorbet, a chocolate mousse tower with whole almonds and chocolate rice krispy thingys, and half a roasted pear with peach sauce. Excellent - bundt cake was moist, mousse very rich, and pear very refreshing. Girlfriend had their chocolate souffle - good, but not amazing. Finale can be a bit overpriced, but I feel my sampler was worth 12 bux.

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  1. I can't believe you were surprised by the Bundt cake. ;)

    1. Actually, I am surprised you weren't happy with the rest of your food at Antico Forno. I've never had a bad meal there. I think their gnocchi dishes is one of the best in Boston. I'd be curious to hear if others have been there recently and if they've detected some change.

      1. Antico Forno was once a favorite of mine, but the last two times I've been there, it seems like it's regressed to be par with most of the other average North End places. Here's a report from last year: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Just to make sure that time wasn't an abberation, I went again earlier this fall, and it was pretty much as the OP said. I wish I got the pizza to have salvaged my dinner. The ribollita there was pretty atrocious. I also got a gnocchi special, and that was pretty good, but not worth writing about. Maybe I have to give them one more shot, since my favorite items, besides the pizza, were the roasted meat dishes.

        1. Interesting. That report from last yr that you linked has a review from me, where I was sort of disappointed w my gnocchi. Wow. What a memory I've got, eh? I guess I tend to remember the good over the bad, which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world, right? It's probably 'cause 9 out of 10 gnocchis there have been really delicious, so i forget that one mediocre time....

          1. I'm surprised the piza is considered one of the best pizzas in Boston, especially by proclaimed Italian food connoisseurs. It is good pizza but definitely not Emma's pizza for instance.

            I was at Antico Forno 2 weeks ago or so and had an excellent Caprese salad as well as tried out 2 pizzas. They try for the best but it doesnt hit the mark I think. It is definitely not authentic pizza. It is a pizza to settle for once you realize that you cant get better maybe...

            Just curious Wax... was Antico Forno the place chosen for your occasion :) ?

            1. Yes, we went to Antico Forno because we decided kind of last minute that we didn't want to spend as much as we would if we were to go to Prezza or Carmen (and we went to the Bs game after, so North End was a convenient destination). I had heard good things about it on this board and else where, and wanted to give it a try.

              You know, maybe the pizza just seemed that much better in comparison to the other underwhelming food we had. Maybe it's not one of the top few places in the city for pizza, but until I have it again in the future, I'd say it's in the top 10.

              As a side not, we did have a wonderful anniversay...dinner together, Bs won 2-0, nice dessert at Finale, and great second dessert if you know what I mean wink wink

              1. I'm crazy about their gnocci!
                Pizza is whatever...I'm much more crazy for pizza from The Upper Crust.

                1. I've been to Antico and all you Beantowners should count yourself lucky if there are 9 places in Boston that have better pizza. If they opened in Vermont, they would outdistance the nearest Ragu on top of Wonderbread with Land O Lakes American cheese pretend pizza serving woodchucks by a country mile. Try ordering a sausage pizza and getting maple flavored breakfast sausage and then tell me how Antico's pizza tastes ! Fogitaboutit !

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TonyO

                    Quite agree, TonyO, as reflected by my post about a meal at AF earlier this week that included some of that fine pizza. But really: "Beantowners"?! That's like calling folks from San Francisco "Frisco-ites".

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Sorry for the quasi-insult (although I did refer to my fellow Vermonters as "woodchucks" which should have neutralized the beantowner reference). One of the best was calling people from Troy, NY Troylets (due to the toilet like nature of their domain). It's all in good fun. Merry Christmas from the land of few teeth !

                      P.S. You know you are in Vermont when the houses are mobile but the 8 cars in the yard aren't.