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Casual + North End + Full bar


I'm looking for a recommendation for a North End restaurant that:

1) serves "traditional" red sauce Italian;
2) is casual/ low-key but not a dive (dinner is for 2 couples in their 40s coming in from the suburbs);
3) has a full bar.

I've come up with Rabia's and Giacomo's as top choices, but am unsure about the full bar aspect of either. Does anyone know if these places serve liquor? Or are there any other restaurants you would recommend?


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  1. Artu sounds like it would work for you.

    1. I am pretty sure that Rabia and Giacomo are wine and beer only. Artu now has a full bar and is pretty casual. Fiore also has a full bar and is casual.

      1 Reply
      1. Has anyone mentioned Fiore yet? That might be a good one to try!

        1. Assagio of Prince St. also has a full bar and could be a nice option, especially if you're in the mood for rissotto.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Pegmeister

            I used to love the mushroom risotto at Assaggio, but when I went last summer it had a strong lipton soup mix thing happening (flavor wise, not suggesting they used it). That may have been an isolated thing, but it has dropped off my "reliable" list.

            1. re: cmd

              Wow, really? Assagio is my go-to place for risotto. They really (used?) to do it right.

              1. re: Bostonbob3

                Well, it was one time, so it might have just been an off night (after years of being really good). But definitely weird/disappointing--I think I have been ordering that dish since 1996 :).

                1. re: cmd

                  Just had the risotto at Assaggio, and it was fine, but nothing I'd say would make it my 'go to' place for the dish. It was the daily special, and they paired it with a tuna filet that was either rare or undercooked and topped with a jalapeno-heavy salsa that overpowered any possible tuna flavor. Very weird. I won't bother returning.

          2. Lucia's on Hanover Street, Artu on Little Prince or Massimino's on Endicott Street are all very good options.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FeastNut2008

              do any of the restauranst listed on this stream take reservations?

            2. Am looking at all the spots suggested so far -- of these, would recommend Lucia, Assaggio, and Massimino's above the others for food. Am not that up on who's got a full bar and who doesn't, nor on who's got the best bartending, as I don't normally order alcohol out.

              4 Replies
              1. re: bachslunch

                I would skip Fiore. Its fun for drinks on the roofdeck in the summer but their food is not good. Maybe Mother Anna's? Decent red sauce, lots of history, Florentine also has a good bar.

                1. re: Wannabfoode

                  Not a big fan of Fiore- I think their outside deck keeps them going more than the food/prices... love Rabia's not sure about the full bar. Does Limoncello's have a full bar, I don't remember?

                  1. re: MeffaBabe

                    Limoncello's ?

                    190 North St, Boston, MA 02113

                    207 Endicott St, Boston, MA

                    Lucia Ristorante
                    415 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113

                    Lucia Restaurant
                    5-13 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester, MA 01890

                    Mother Anna's
                    211 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

                    29 Prince St, Boston, MA 02113

              2. Ristorante Euno on Salem St., Limoncello (somewhat reluctantly), Prezza.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ShelT54

                  prezza has a full bar, but i'd hardly call it a "red sauce place" and it's not very casual.

                2. Another 'red sauce' place you might want to consider is Piccola Venezia on Hanover. Food and service is always good and the prices are great. Try to sit by the front windows of the restaurant for prime people watching.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: missfoodie

                    I've eaten at Piccola Venezia a few times (getting red sauce standards when I've been) and have consistently experienced it to be among the weakest restaurants in the North End, with perfunctory (though at least not dishonest) service and poor quality food. Prices are comparable with the neighborhood. It's about on a par with La Famiglia Giorgio, another lousy neighborhood option. It strikes me as the kind of place tourists stumble into because it's very conveniently located.

                    It is indeed better than a few other spots in the area (Joe Tecce's, La Famiglia Spagnuolo, Dolce Vita, and Caffe Pompei), but that's not saying much.

                    For my taste, one can do lots better for this type of red sauce non-seafood specializing Italian (Antico Forno, Pagliuca's, Saraceno's, La Summa, Pomodoro, Massimino's, Rabia's, and Al Dente) in the North End. As to which of these have a full bar, I'll let someone else fill you in on that, as I almost never drink out.