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May 16, 2007 06:29 AM

Antico Forno Fri. nite

Only my 2nd time there and it was nice if not overly thrilling. Most of the North End seemed fairly quiet at 7PM on a weekend nite, surprisingly. Met my 3 dining partners just before our 7:00 reservation, only about 1/3 full then and never completely full when we left. Wood fire oven was going full blast. They'd already ordered a bottle of some red and I wanted to see what glasses of white they had but the waitress ran off a very cursory list ("We have chianti, chardonnay, etc."). Since I don't really know a ton about vineyards, it didn't matter too much but that's an annoying way to tell you what wines are available. Pinot grigio was a huge pour. She then came to tell us the specials without mentioning prices. We started with an antiipasto plate ($18) which was fine I guess but that's just not something I usually pay attention too. However, the mussels were great. The sauce had a nice zip to it, lots of good sized mussels, no complaints there, about $10. Two people ordered the ravioli special w/ capicola and I got a seafood risotto special, with salmon and crab ($20 and $22 I think). The salmon was definitely the noticeable flavor. A baked rigatoni dish rounded things out. A lot of food and good sized doggy bags at the end of the meal. One large tiramisu was split between 2 or 3 of us, good flavor altho maybe a ittle too liquidy. It was fine but I'd rather pay the extra $10 here and there and go to Prezza.

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  1. I am also a fan of Antico Forno but I certainly wouldn't compare it to Prezza which I also like a lot too. They are two very different restaurants but when I get a craving for more "down-home Italian" at reasonable prices I choose Antico Forno. When I am in the mood for more upscale Nuevo Italiano I will always choose Prezza.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RoyRon

      Oh, I know they're not the same. But if I'm craving down home, I'd probably go some place a little cheaper. If I'm gonna pay >$20 for pasta, I'll go to Prezza, unless I have to have linguini and meat sauce.

      1. re: Joanie

        I eat at Antico Forno regularly, and I don't think they have ANY pasta dish over $20. I know the rigatoni and sausage is $16, as it's a fav of mine.

        Maybe I'm crazy (hold your comments, please), but I believe 99% of their pasta dishes are around $15-16. For dinner. Cheaper at lunch, obviously.

        1. re: Bostonbob3

          You're right, I'm referring to the specials we had. Ravioli and risotto at $20 and $22. The chicken parm special was >$20 too. Somehow that menu just wasn't speaking to me.

    2. Went there last Saturday for 1st time, early mother's day along with sister and young niece and nephew. I chose the place based on CH reviews. Had calamari, mixed antipasto, rigatoni, pizza, gnocchi, chicken parm, saltimbocca. All were good, nothing really outstanding but yummy and more importantly the whole family loved it and kept raving so I was pleased with the choice. I might bring friends there if wanting red-sauce Italian, it might even be one of my first choices for that (though I rarely eat it). Good solid Italian comfort food for a little bit more than you might expect to pay I guess. Service was very friendly and attentive.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Zatan

        Antico is solid, reliable, and reasonably priced. The food is well prepared and portions are at least ample. Always a good choice.

      2. We're always happy with Antico Forno, but I get the linguine with clams every single time, so I can't comment much on the rest of the menu. It's definitely not fancy though, and not overly special, but very reliable for us. We like the calamari and I always just get the chianti or pinot grigio by the glass (which you're right, are always really full!), although I've had some decent bottles there too. The last time we were there my mom had the best risotto I've ever tasted, with proscuitto, asparagus, and porcini. I tried to replicate it at home and came close, but not quite as good. We've never had dessert there; always just go down to Modern afterward. I also like that I can take my 11-month-old in there (we go early). There are always tons of kids in there at 5.