North End Italian: have I done my homework?
Long time Dallas CH, one night only, North End Italian, casual dress, Tuesday night, price not a factor but I don't want to go through the beating of a high end resto meal, staying at the Bulfinch Hotel, Southern Italian
Piccolo Nido (not many reviews)
Antico Forno (small dining area)
Thoughts? Every time I think I've found the place, I find another place. This has been my progression: Piccolo Nido -> Massimino's -> Antico Forno -> Pagliuca's
I'd actually put them almost in reverse order, with best listed first:
The first two are nearly on a par with each other -- tough to go wrong at either. Massimino's is actually very good, if maybe not quite in this league. Piccolo Nido was only average at best when I tried it, and their opening times can be very erratic.
Other Southern Italian spots to consider, at or slightly above this price range for dinner, would be Maurizio's or (if you stick with basics) Saraceno's; if you want Southern Italian seafood spots, Giacomo's or Daily Catch could also figure in.
Much as I like Mamma Maria, both it and Prezza, another great North End place, will be decidedly more expensive and are Northern Italian places.
Never been to Piccolo Nido, but I like all the other choices. We seem to always end up at Antico Forno though because of the pizza they serve from their wood burn oven.
Not a fan of either Piccolo Nido or Pagliucas. Antico Forno does a great job with chicken parm and pizza but they can also can offer more creative specials. I had butternut squash raviolis there last fall and I talked about them for weeks. Massimino's is a good pick, but for some reason I find Antico Forno more comfortable. I would also suggest Il Paninos, especially for their lasagna of the day. My favorite was the lasagna with bechamel sauce; potato; shrimp and corn --- absolutely delicious!
My two recs (and I'm a longtime North Ender) would be Terramia or Taranta.
I also love Mamma Maria, but according to your comment, you don't want "the beating of a high end restaurant meal." Mamma Maria can occasionally provide that beating. :)
Do a site search and check out Terramia and Taranta. I think you'd absolutely love either one.
BTW, while I really like Antico Forno, it really is more of an everyday, casual kind of place. With just one night in the NE, go with one of the two I mentioned above.
The others on your list? Eh. Not so much.