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Where to get Northern Italian in the North End?

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  • mlin1 Feb 25, 2007 10:25 AM
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My husband and I are visiting Boston this spring and looking for great northern italian fare, which is hard to find in Texas. I personally do not like spicy tomato based sauces, and am looking for something more than a pizzeria or southern italian trattoria. The menu at Sage which looks great, but I noticed they are moving to the South end soon, and I really would like to be in the North End (so we can walk to Mikes Pastry afterward). I also thought about Mamma Maria, which has a great looking menu, but I wonder if it will be too stuffy. We are meeting three friends who are in their mid-late 30s, and would prefer something lively and fun. Any recs would be appreciated!

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  1. Mamma Maria is a great place. Went there for my 21st bday. I did not find it stuffy at all, but it is definitely more upscale then many of the other North End locales. Just depends how much you want to spend and how dressed up you want to be. The food is really excellent though. Have you looked at the menu for Taranta? Not sure if they classify themselves as Nothern Italian but they are a fusion of Italian and Peruvian. The food is excellent and the people there are SO nice!
    Also, for a bakery, you might want to try Modern Pastry instead of Mike's. The baked goods are SO much better!

    2 Replies
    1. re: NiKoLe1625

      Lol. we posted at exactly the same time! BTW, I agree about Modern as well, scary:-)

      1. re: Harp00n

        haha WEIRD!! but yes, Modern is amazing! best biscotti!

    2. Sage would have been one my first choices for northern Italian along with Prezza & Mamma Maria. But since that's been ruled out, how about Taranta? No, it's not northern Italian but I'll wager you haven't seen this in Texas. It's a seafood heavy, melding of Peruvian & southern Italian influences and I highly recommend it.
      http://www.tarantarist.com/v4/index.html

      1. Taranta looks good - interesting...I have never seen this kind of Italian/Peruvian fusion. I wonder about Mamma Maria - would my husband need to wear a jacket or sport coat? I am not sure I can talk him into that...I will look into Modern Pastry - we are going for my reunion so its been 10 years since I have been to Boston. Also any recs for a nice place to have coffee after dinner. There used to be a place (cant remember the name) in the middle of the north end where there were tons of limos outside, and Italian guys in suits coming in and out (had a Sopranos feel to it)

        4 Replies
        1. re: mlin1

          Very few places in Boston where you will require a jacket or feel uncomfortable without one.
          Sounds like Caffe Vittoria. I believe it used to be owned by the Angiulos.

          1. re: mlin1

            your husband probably will not need a jacket for Mamma Maria. When i went there it was for my birthday and i THINK that my dad wore a sport jacket, but i can't really remember. Honestly though, looking around the restaurant, i do remember seeing men with just a shirt. My mom actually commented that we probably could have dressed more casually. It was a special occasion though. Like the above post said, there are very few places in boston that really require a jacket!

            Definitely look into Modern Pastry. Its right on Hanover Street, not far from Mike's. Honestly, Mike's is good, but Modern Pastry is better. Its a lot less touristy and commercial. The biscotti are to die for. The best i've had outside of Italy!

            As for coffee after dinner... there are TONS of little places a long Hanover street! Modern Pastry has some tables and i'm pretty sure you can sit and have coffee and eat your desserts. Also, there is another place called Geletaria on Hanover Street. They have good cappuccino and coffee as well as good gelato and some italian pastries. I would probably only go there for gelato and coffee and get my pastries elsewhere! I think they make a good cappuccino!

            1. re: NiKoLe1625

              The last time I was in Gelateria, I was sitting at a table in the back enjoying a terrific piece of ricotta pie and a latte when I saw several Modern Pastry boxes sitting on the floor at the top of the stairs. Pretty soon an employee took them downstairs. No wonder the pie was so good. The coffee was too. This place would be a fine choice for the OP.

              1. re: seefood

                i've only been there for coffee and gelato, but i have to say that they make a great cappuccino!!

          2. Cafe Florentine on Hanover Street is about a block from Mikes and a good choice for Northern Italian. The Tuscan Filet is a religious experience.

            1. Take a look at Lucca's on Hanover Street in the North End. It has a great bar, wonderful bartenders; the place is usually packed and the menu is Northern Italian. I think you would enjoy it.

              http://www.luccaboston.com/

              1. For not necessarily Northern Italian but definitely not red sauce either and for very good food and a fun place as well, you might want to consider Marco on Hanover Street. It is somewhat midrange price wise (much less expensive than mamma maria and very innovative and authentic Italian food.

                1. not exactly sure what a texan considers northern italian, but 2 other stand-outs in the north end are terramia and carmen. both small with food that is excellent.

                  cafe florentine and lucca are both pretty hot bar scenes, and wouldn't be my first choice for a special vacation dinner.

                  taranta is something totally unique and delicious and i love it the chef/owner is very talented and so nice. mike's gets all the tourists, but modern is definitely the right spot for pastry.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Maria's is the place for pastry if you're around in the day time.