Looking for a good italian restaurant in Boston
Visiting for the first time and want to find a kind of "locals favorite" Italian joint. Not upscale please!
Sometimes its tough to get some direct info here without having to do a search. So maybe I can help. The North end can be small, cramped, etc. so here's my recommendation for that area. La Galleria 33 on Salem Street.... excellent food, not outrageous (except watch the wine prices) and not cramped or squished. Also the bar at Artu offers unusual and very good pizza (gorgonzola w/blue cheese, carmelized onion & potato)... comfy bar stools which are padded faux leather. On Charles Street in the very pretty Beacon Hill area across from the Boston Public Gardens is Toscano Ristorante. They offer lunch until 3pm on Saturdays and a bar menu until 5 pm. Then it becomes the dinner menu, but you can still get pizza at the dinner hour. Great bunch of waitstaff there.... and desserts are all made in-house w/ great quality. This is also a great local place. These three all have websites to check the menu out before hand but after years of living and working in Boston, these three work well for me. And the Charles St. place has the nice plus of great walking area, as well as the North End. If to do the North end, wallk the waterfront which will take you behind some lovely condos and parks and along the wharf to the Joe Moakley courthouse with a beautful view. There also a restaurant there where you can get a drink and sit outside if weather permits. Good luch.
I've yet to go for dinner, but Gran Gusto has great pizza and excellent pasta as well for very reasonable prices at lunch. The pesto penne with shrimp is pretty impressive. The shrimp is shelled and chopped, but it tasted as if it had been peeled just that day it was so sweet.
I like Trattoria Toscana a lot, but I have to avoid the pork chops and the chicken liver bruschetta because they are way too salty for me. The parpadalle is great, as are the tripe and the papa al pomodoro. They have a pretty good beef liver dish as well.
Giacomo's may not be worth the hassle since I've never had anything exceptional there besides the house special seafood over linguine. The only sauce worth getting in my opinion is the giacomo's pink sauce. It's definitely rich in seafood sweetness and flavor. I haven't been here in about a year though.
It's been even longer since I've been to mamma maria and via matta, but those are both good in my opinion.