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Oct 11, 2008 01:03 PM

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

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. 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

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

    2. Antico Forno or Mamma Maria are both very good.

      5 Replies
      1. re: treb

        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

          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

            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

              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

                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. 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

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

          1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

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

            1. re: phatchris

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

        2. 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

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