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Nov 5, 2007 09:23 AM

Need late lunch options in the North End

I'm meeting one of my girlfriends for a birthday lunch this Friday and some quality time. She's requesting a late lunch (2:00) somewhere in the North End where we can relax and spend a couple of hours eating pasta and drinking vino. My standby, Neptune, is out as she's more of a red-sauce kinda girl. We went to Limoncello recently so that's out too.

Any ideas for a restaurant that serves all day, or at least late enough that we could linger over bottles of wine in a cozy atmosphere with a menu that would please both of us? How about the Florentine - has anyone been there lately? Thanks!

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  1. The big problem with most places that offer lunch is that they stop serving it around 2 PM, and as far as I can tell that often holds true in the North End as well. If I were going to recommend places for the kind of lunch you described, I'd consider in descending order: Antico Forno, Pagliuca's (but things might get a little hectic here), Saraceno's, Assaggio, Massimino's, Villa Francesca, and Five North Square. Cafe Florentine would also be perfectly fine, though it's now been about a year since I last went. But call first to find out how late any of them serve lunch.

    Lunch places I'd personally avoid regardless of hours available would include Artu, Nebo, La Famiglia Giorgio, Piccola Venezia, Dolce Vita, Riccardo's, Caffe Pompei, Joe Tecce's, and La Famiglia Spagnuolo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bachslunch

      Good calls, Bachslunch.

      I love Antico Forno, of course, but if you're in the mood for risotto, Assagio does one of the best in town.

    2. I would definitely recommend Antico Forno. Love that restaurant and the food is great!

      1. Thanks guys! I appreciate the suggestions. It's helped me focus on a few options. I'm going to look into what hours your recommendations are open....

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          Antico Forno, which I heartily recommend as well, is definitely open for lunch, dinner, and the hours in between. In fact, if you book on for the 3-4 hour, it's a 1000 pt reservation (or at least, it was a couple weeks ago). Affordable, nice atmosphere, and a decent wine selection to go with the excellent brick oven-baked pizzas and pastas. My favorite is the Vesuvio pizza, which has proscuitto, ricotta (and a lotta garlic) - it's on the dinner menu but they will happily make it for you at lunch.

        2. If Antico Forno is open, that's where I'd choose. There are enough red sauce options (including one of my favorite gnocchi in town, served fresh out of the wood burning oven bubbling in a terracota pot) and it's definitely a comfortable, cozy spot to linger.

          1. Another option could be Il Panino.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Bostonbob3

              While the food there isn't bad, I'm really, really against the idea of going to Trattoria Il Panino until they stop refusing to serve tap water while at the same time aggressively pushing bottled water (or other beverage at charge) on customers. Also, their relatively spacious patio may not be pleasant in chilly weather and their interior dining area is kind of cramped, which may not make it a comfy place to stretch out and relax as the OP prefers.

              1. re: bachslunch

                Heh. The water thing IS quite annoying. But pretty good food.

                1. re: bachslunch

                  I was at Il Panino's for lunch on Sunday and they didn't charge for the water. I'm sure it was an oversight, because I've always been charged in the past, and yes it makes me crazy, but they have some dishes I just can't resist. The rosemary lambchops are amazing as well as many of their pasta dishes. We were seated downstairs, which was a first for me. I didn't even realize they had a dining area below, but it was comfortable and I didn't feel rushed. If Francesco is working he always goes out of his way to make it a pleasant dining experience.

                  1. re: Pegmeister

                    Ahh Francesco! I always forget his name. I agree totally - we love when he's working.

                    Thanks all for the suggestions! And that's great to know about Antico Forno serving all day. I was leaning towards that, but just spoke to my friend, and she'd like a place that we could retire to their bar after lunch, so I'm saving Antico Forno for another time. I'm glad to know about their hours, though, as I'm always looking for a late-lunch place.

                    So, now, hmmm... serves lunch late, good food, comfortable atmosphere, and a nice bar. I'm tempted to go to Eastern Standard! I just called Vinoteca di Monica (not open for lunch), and Florentine Cafe (which serves all day except for a break at 4:00 to 5:00) - which looks like the best option so far. Has anyone been lately. Or are there any others that were mentioned above that have a nice bar also?

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        Thanks Bob - I had no idea, thanks for the tip. Still not quite sure where we're going to end up, but if you're wandering around in your 'hood - feel free to stop by and say hello!

                        1. re: Rubee

                          Well, that means I'll have to stop by every restaurant discussed on this thread...


                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                            Heh - we're on our way out. It's going to be the Florentine.