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Husband and I celebrating anniversary this weekend (we are early 30's). I know this post is everywhere on the board but, would appreciate any new input. We are from Rhode Island and usually have meals in Providence (downtown and Federal Hill). We have never eaten in the North End but here there are fantastic places so we are giving it a try this Saturday. It is a special occassion dinner (obviously). I am not a pasta lover but husband is. Looking for a place with great ambiance, but entertaining and of course great food. Our agenda is pretty open if you can lead us in right direction. Looking for drinks before dinner, great dinner and then some place for dessert and coffee drinks. Thanks! .....Some recs for hanging out after dessert would be appreciated also.

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  1. My North End rec is for Prezza. It's a good place for drinks and food and they take reservations. There are plenty of places to go for dessert if you want to mix it up (though Prezza does have dessert) but they tend to get long lines on the weekends. The most popular are Modern Pastry and Mike's Pastry.

    1. I haven't had the chance to get to many North End restaurants, but I have been to Taranta, which has a good reputation on this board, and which I can highly recommend. It's not traditional Italian, but Italian-Peruvian. I had a pasta dish, which was delicious, and my boyfriend had the osso buco, which was also wonderful (so they have some great non-pasta options). The atmosphere was very nice, though you could probably find something a little bit more romantic. We ate downstairs - I'm not sure how the dining area upstairs compares.

      1. I like Taranta, too.

        I also like (in no particular order):

        Mamma Maria
        Terramia
        Marco
        Prezza
        Carmen
        Neptune Oyster
        La Brace

        Modern is good for cannoli and pastry.

        Any number of excellent expresso/coffee cafes, especially on Hanover. Many also serve cordials.

        Gelateria has good (surprise) gelato.

        What do you have in mind after dessert? Bar? Clubbing?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bostonbob3

          Thanks for the recs! I have heard good things about prezza, carmen and taranta....we would like a romantic atmosphere, but lively and fun is great too. We were just primarily looking for a place with maybe some live music good drinks, no clubs.

          1. re: Nanay

            Carmen is romantic but not too lively and sometimes not leisurely although the food is quite good. Mamma Maria is very romatic but not lively. I think Taranta and Prezza would be the two that fit your description. (Prezza more lively - Taranta maybe little more romantic -but pretty close to each other).

        2. I don't find Taranta particularly romantic, but agree that Mamma Maria is. It also has great food, as does Prezza, but Prezza's atmosphere is less interesting. Mamma Maria always seems lively to me because whenever I've been it's been packed and bustling, but not in a negative way.

          You could go to Caffe Vittoria, an Old World style place, for coffee and dessert after. I wouldn't recommend the desserts I've had at any North End restaurants.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pollystyrene

            actually what might be more fun that sitting some where for the desert end would be grab some coffee and maybe something from mike pastry and just walk around. the grato the old north church etc... as i say for the dessert part only

          2. Okay it is narrowed down to Taranta and Bricco due to reservation issues. One better than the other???

            4 Replies
            1. re: Nanay

              Personally, I'd go to Taranta.

              Bricco is past its prime IMO at least. Not a bad place to have a drink, though. Nice bar.

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                I met a woman who claimed to be the "owner" of Bricco (one of the Pasquale children? something like that). She did not say this, of course, but based on that discussion, I think she has absolutely no interest in bringing in a chef of the caliber of (forgot her name... Marissa?). She's totally just milking the reputation. Just my interepretation.

                In other words, go to Taranta.

                1. re: Alcachofa

                  I'll strongly third Bob and Alachafola's recs.

                  You'll walk out of Taranta and say what a good and interesting meal I just had.

                  You'll walk out of Bricco scratching your head and wondering why/how you spent so much $ on slightly better than ordinary food.

                  Have a drink at Bricco first..and maybe an app..then cross the street and have dinner at Taranta

                  1. re: Alcachofa

                    Totally agree that Bricco has slid badly downhill since Marissa Iocco's departure, and even when she was there, the prices had crept up past the point of value. She's now prepping South End Buttery for its dinner service; I'm very curious to see what she does there.

                    Taranta is a bit less fancy-seeming, but the food is tremendous (and unique for the North End); it's a far better option than Bricco at this point.

                    For pre-dinner cocktails, you have few worthy options in the North End. I rely on the bars at Lucca and Prezza, which have the only serious bartending nearby. I have heard good things about the bar at Vinoteca di Monica, and it features Bricco's other onetime great asset, hostess Rita d'Angelo, but I haven't tried it yet myself.

              2. Both Taranta and Prezza are great recommendations. Taranta is a little more lively, cramped, and loud than Prezza. Prezza's a bit more austere, at least in the dining room, though I quite like the bar. Excellent pasta at Prezza, as well as their wood grilled specialties. Taranta's much more interesting with a Peruvian influence.

                Not sure where to steer you for dessert, but Caffe Vitoria might be a nice way to finish off the evening. Bricco for a cocktail would probably be fine beforehand.

                4 Replies
                1. re: gini

                  Thanks all, for swaying me away from Bricco. Like I said we have never eaten in the area so have no clue. I have gotten recs basically from people that have been there and chowhounders. Taranta it is! I booked our reservation. Unfortunately, Prezza is completely booked for the times we wanted. Hopefully we have a great experience and it won't be our last visit to the North End so we can try Prezza! I did hear great things about Caffe Victoria for coffee and dessert. We want to wander around before dinner for a cocktail so maybe we will start there, unless there is a better option for coctails before dinner. We will be parking in a garage.

                  1. re: Nanay

                    good choice. Let us know about your experiences.

                    1. re: Nanay

                      I second (third?) the recommendation for C. Vittoria. Their tiramisu is perfection but the Baba au Rhum is my favorite. And, with an heavy duty espresso I can pretend I'm in Rome.
                      Happy Anniversary!

                      1. re: Gio

                        I would recommend popping into Lucca (right on Hanover) for some drinks then heading up the street and taking a right onto Fleet for Prezza. Prezza sounds like just what you are looking for. Prezza offers a great dessert selection, but if you want to 'do everyone else is doing' go wait in line at Mike's Pastry on Hanover for some authentic canolies!