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North End Ideas....

I'm heading into the North End Saturday evening for a casual dinner with my wfie. Every time we go in, we get over whemled trying to pick out a place to eat. Each time we have ended up with a good to excellent meal. I'd like to take the guess work out of it and show my wife an excellent meal....Any ideas????

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  1. Casual?

    Antico Forno, Rabia's, Carmen, Marco (I'm not saying they're all really inexpensive, although Antico Forno and Rabia's are; they're just all relatively casual).

    1. Marco, Limoncello, La Brace and Pomodoro are my favorites

      1. I recommend Prezza. http://www.prezza.com/ What are some of the places you've been, so we won't duplicate?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Taralli

          We've been to Cantina Italiana, La Famiglia Giorgio
          Fiore, Massimos and of course Mike's to end the night.

          1. re: ljt064

            Try Modern or Maria's instead of Mike's this time.

            1. re: Taralli

              Second. Modern is much better than Mike's.

              Go to Neptune for the raw bar -
              Pop in to Antico Forno next door for some oven-baked pasta -
              Stop in to Cafe Victorio for cappuchinos and sfoggliatelle.

        2. For something a little different than the standard Italian, Taranta is casual and has never disappointed me. I've had a number of great meals there. We've taken guests there too, and everyone always likes their meals.

          1. A place for some reason that gets overlooked on this board - Monica's on Richmond St. When I lived in the N. End that was my place of choice to take visiting family and friends. (Not to be confused with the family pizzeria on Prince St.) On a weekend you will need a reservation.

            Not to hijack the thread but i'd be interested why Monica's is not often mentioned on this board. My experience is the food and service is generally very good.

            Another I like very much, and more in line with the places you've been is L'Osteria on Salem St. Very traditional red sauce place. Try the antipasta and the veal agrodolce.

            Agree with all the other posts, especially about the desserts and Neptune Oyster.

            Have fun!

            2 Replies
            1. re: pasuga

              I've generally heard good things about Monica's but never eaten there myself; which is why I never mention it. I do patronize the shop on Salem/Prince. Just for an FYI, Monica's just opened a wine bar next to the Richmond St store..haven't been there yet either..

              I don't think the fact that a restaurant isn't mentioned a lot means that it's not necessarily good..just that the people who post here don't often post about it. In the NE, I tend to stick to a few favorites..in my case Artu, Daily Catch,Marco Massimino's, Neptune, Limoncello, Prezza, Il Pannino, Umberto Gallera, Regina's..and an occassional newcomer. Not to say those are the only good places, but those are MY places..:) I've enjoyed Antico Forno and L'Osteria when I go; but it's not that often.

              Places I was not crazy about were Mother Anna's and La Summa...at friend's suggestions.and have only made the1 visit

              1. re: pasuga

                I'm really glad to see someone else mention L'Osteria. I'm not sure why it flies under the radar, but that's okay because I can always get a seat!!!

                I've really never had anything there I didn't love, but my special favorites are the Straw and Hay Pasta, the Zuppa di Pesce and the Eggplant Parm (especially if Nick is in the kitchen)!

                For dessert... well, Mike's made the only chocolate cake I ever spit out in my life. It tasted like soapsuds. Modern is my favorite place for desserts, cookies as well as cakes, cannoli, etc, and of course, the world-famous Torrone!

              2. I find that Il Panino is consistently good. Most often, I find myself ordering the lasagna of the day. They have a great patio and the staff is pleasant. However, if you want water with your meal you have to plop down $6 for the bottle and for some reason that annoys me. Other favorites would be Antico Forno, Neptune Oyster, LaGalleria 33 or Massiminos. Haven't heard much about Eclano's lately but I found it enjoyable when I was there about a year ago. Oh, and I almost forgot, the only place I would absolutely avoid is Ida's! Their sauce is horrid and the service so so.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Pegmeister

                  First of all, my wife and I are glad to be going out to a restaurant that doesn't have a kids menu with crayons :-)

                  Just reading this all is making me hungry for a good Italian meal at 8:00 am in the morning. So much food so little time. Thanks for all the great ideas! I think I'm going to try the Neptune first then Monica's. Then Modern!! I can already feel the 5lbs being added to my waist line. I may have to wear a pair of elastic waist pants......

                  I'll post my impressions on Monday...


                  1. re: Pegmeister

                    "For some reason it annoys you" that they won't serve tap water? Of course it does, I get annoyed just reading about it. I still can't believe it's legal. I think I'm going to research this.

                  2. Taranta is excellent --if you are looking for something a little more "red sauce," L'Osteria is my old standby --I love the veal piccatelle! Also agreed that Modern is much better than Mike's...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: saridt

                      No! Mike's is better! At least for lobster tails and cannoli, in my experience. I haven't gotten to Maria's yet, but I'd try that since it's the crowd favorite. You've got to pick up your pastry before dinner, though, because it closes at 7.

                      If your heart is set on Modern, a nice alternative is Cafe Vittoria, which gets its pastry from Modern I believe. There you can sit down and have great coffee with your dessert.

                    2. Thanks to all for your excellent suggestions.

                      We begin the night at Neptune for cold beer/wine and some great shellfish. I love oysters and downed a dozen at the ever so cool looking establishment. Neptune is a very small restaurant with about 5-6 tables and a very nice marble bar with a good amount of seating. The bar tender was excellent. My wife doesn't like oysters, but I had a nice selection from Wellfleet, RI, PEI and Washington State. Surprising, but the Wellfleet were my least favorite. Everything tasted very fresh.

                      Next it was a mini walk around the North End before heading back to Salem Street to have dinner at Rabia's. Rabia's is a very trendy looking place. We started at the bar with a nice bottle of wine. Before we even took our first sip we were seated at a great table near the window. The tables are very small, and it was juggling act to hold the bread, appetizers, wine and water. We managed to maneuver things around with little fuss.

                      The dinner was started with Bruschetta and Salads. Both were very yummy. Portions were small, but enough to keep us happy until our main course arrived.

                      My wife had the Mushroom Raviolis, which she loved. I had the King's Special comprised of Lobster, King Crab Legs, Crabs, and Shrimp, over a bed of pasta with diablo sauce. When it arrived, it was not what I expected. It was piled high and full of each item in the shell. To enjoy this meal I had some work to do. Again I was up to the task, each items tasted better the previous one. The lobster was oh delicious and King Crab legs are one of my favorites as well. The shrimp seemed as big as my hand. At the end, the pasta had the taste of the juices from the seafood, with a spicy diablo sauce. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.. We took our time and finished off the wine. The waiter then brought over complimentary Lemon cellos for both of us. I'm not a big fan of Lemon cellos, but it was a nice end to a great meal. The service was good, but not excellent. The place was very clean and everything was prepared excellently. I would definitely go back again.

                      Then it was off for another stroll around the North End on a simply wonderful cool evening. Hanover Street was much crowed, but that is part of the charm.

                      We ended our night at Modern's for cannolies and cream puffs. A delicious end to a special evening with my wife. Being to both Mike's and Modern's, I prefer the cannolies at Moderns, but think Mike's has much better staff and a much larger variety. I love the cookies at Mike's. However, I don't think you can go wrong either way.

                      Anyway thanks again for all your suggestions!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ljt064

                        It was indeed a perfect evening for a stroll through the North End - BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I treated ourselves to a pair of small pizzas at Regina, also ending at Modern for cannoli (with a stop at the Gelateria as well...)

                        1. re: ljt064

                          I tend to avoid the North End on Saturdays in the summer, I think every place is too crowded. I wonder if the waitresses and cooks are producing their best effort. Since I don't have kids, it is easy for me to have a wonderful dinner on a weeknight.

                          I wonder if the Limoncellos were an acknowledgement that perhaps the service wasn't everything they want it to be...and a thank you for your patience and understanding?

                        2. I had an excellent meal with my boyfriend a few weekends ago at Trattoria il Palino. They have outdoor seating which is perfect in the summer time and the waiters and friendly and fun. The surrondings were quite romantic and then menu is not expensive at all (especially compared to some other spots in the area).

                          We ordered the gnocchi in a tomato sauce and the lobster ravioli which was in a rose crab sauce...the ravioli in particular was INCREDIBLE. Almost tasted like the pasta version of lobster bisque. So good!

                          Afterward we walked one building down the the gelati place owned by the same people and got some amazing chocolate, hazelnut gelato. Mmmmm!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Elyssa

                            I like Il Panino too. They also have one of the nicest outdoor patios in the North End.

                            Trattoria Il Panino North End
                            11 Parmenter Street, Boston, MA 02113

                          2. I would recommend Bacco on Salem Street. They have excellent food for a great price and a lovely setting. They have beautiful windows on two stories that open to create an open air dining experience.