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local Italian in north end- need recs, dont want to get tourist trapped

Jaybay Oct 11, 2008 01:03 PM

looking for delicious Italian in north end section of Boston. Delicious food with a nice regional Italian wine list. Only hear for the night and want to Have a great Boston foodie experience.

Thanks a bunch!

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  1. mcel215 RE: Jaybay Oct 12, 2008 04:25 AM

    I'd say Mamma Maria would be a great choice. It's a bit expensive, so if you want something less $$$ then Antico Forno. Not sure of their wine list though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcel215
      bachslunch RE: mcel215 Oct 12, 2008 08:46 AM

      Will second mcel215's suggestion. Here's a report I did on the area last year, which still has some usefulness:


    2. t
      treb RE: Jaybay Oct 12, 2008 12:23 PM

      Antico Forno or Mamma Maria are both very good.

      5 Replies
      1. re: treb
        greenstate RE: treb Oct 13, 2008 02:23 PM

        I have do disagree. Aligning Antico Forno with Mama Maria does a huge disservice to Mama Maria. Based on recs from Chowhound I went to Antico Forno last night with a friend and our 2 teenage daughters. It was OK, certainly a family restaurant with many tables having a variety of kids. The calamari was not the best, by a long shot and the Linguini al Frutti di Mare was not even slightly as good as as Monica's homemade linguini with local shellfish. I would rate it as very mediocre. Mama Maria on the other hand, is in a completely different category, more in synch with Prezza, but with more of a romantic atmosphere. The food is wonderful and the wines are great. They are both also in another price category than Antico Forno. That being said, I would hesitate to say that Forno is a great Boston foodie experience. Pizzaria Regina is a less pricey North End gem,as is Monica's Restaurant.

        1. re: greenstate
          pollystyrene RE: greenstate Oct 13, 2008 07:27 PM

          I agree with everything you wrote, greenstate, except for the parts about Monica's, simply because I haven't been yet (but it's next up on my list). I'm not sure the other posters were putting Antico Forno and MM in the same category, but I agree that MM is in the top two of its category and Antico Forno is not.

          1. re: pollystyrene
            bachslunch RE: pollystyrene Oct 14, 2008 01:42 PM

            Might be wrong here, but I'm under the impression that Antico Forno is in its own unique category in the North End. It does both Southern Italian and pizza as an emphasis and not a sideline with either (not a common circumstance in the North End), with specialization in baked items (again, not common there).

            The closest approach I can think of to this place is an entity that's actually not in the North End -- Bertucci's. I'm thinking Antico Forno is better than this chain.

            1. re: bachslunch
              pollystyrene RE: bachslunch Oct 14, 2008 11:37 PM

              I might be wrong, too, bachslunch, but I did think there were at least a few other similar pizza and pasta joints in the NE, like G'Vanni's and Hot Tomatoes, but you're the one "who wrote the list" on the NE! Actually, I probably should have written "price range" or "league" instead of "category" as that's more what I was thinking.

              1. re: pollystyrene
                bachslunch RE: pollystyrene Oct 15, 2008 02:10 PM

                Polly, you're right about G'Vanni's -- they do baked Southern Italian pasta dishes all day, and also offer pizzas at lunchtime. But I like Antico Forno better.

                Hot Tomatoes serves up pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, plus they offer a "pasta dish of the day," though pasta's not an emphasis there.

      2. b
        BackBayGirl RE: Jaybay Oct 14, 2008 05:27 PM

        I'll tell you where NOT to go...Strega or that other one they just opened w/ the disco theme. Ick!

        3 Replies
        1. re: BackBayGirl
          Ralphie_in_Boston RE: BackBayGirl Oct 16, 2008 12:56 PM

          Disco theme ?! LOL where's that. I need to at least walk by it.

          1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
            phatchris RE: Ralphie_in_Boston Oct 16, 2008 02:52 PM

            Other end of Hanover where Emedio's used to be, extremely tacky looking.

            1. re: phatchris
              Ralphie_in_Boston RE: phatchris Oct 17, 2008 08:27 AM

              Hmm okay, I'll get my platform shoes and check it out next week!

        2. p
          phoebek RE: Jaybay Oct 14, 2008 05:32 PM

          I'll recommend Prezza--fabulous food and a huge wine list--though they have pages of really high end stuff, you can also get reasonably priced bottles.

          1 Reply
          1. re: phoebek
            lissy RE: phoebek Oct 15, 2008 05:15 AM

            Prezza is one of my favorite restaurant so I agree wholeheartedly with that suggestion. I went to Antico Forno once and likely won't go back unless forced. The food and service were only OK and the atmosphere left much to be desired in my opinion.

          2. b
            Bostonbob3 RE: Jaybay Oct 15, 2008 07:48 AM

            As mentioned, Mamma Maria. Also, I highly recommend both Taranta and Prezza.

            1. c
              curiousgeo RE: Jaybay Oct 15, 2008 02:24 PM

              I tend to agree with the comments regarding Antico Forno being just ok. I really wanted to like the place and thought that the atmosphere and prices were fine. However I found the food to be mediocre at best and not worth a return visit for me.

              1. c
                chicagotransplant RE: Jaybay Oct 15, 2008 02:57 PM

                Monica's Trattoria is fantastic. There is another Monica's but it is fancier, and I have not been. At the Trattoria, everything is wonderful, and if you like what you have eaten, head over to their storefront marketplace and pick up delicious homemade pastas, sauces, salumi, etc. The static menu items are very reasonably priced; the specials not so much.

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