HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Casual + North End + Full bar

laura jean Feb 13, 2009 07:01 AM


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?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. b
    Bostonbob3 RE: laura jean Feb 13, 2009 07:05 AM

    Artu sounds like it would work for you.

    1. n
      Northender RE: laura jean Feb 13, 2009 07:48 AM

      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. re: Northender
        fmcoxe6188 RE: Northender Feb 13, 2009 07:51 AM

        I was going to suggest Fiore!

      2. f
        Foodie4U416974 RE: laura jean Feb 13, 2009 11:05 AM

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

        1. p
          Pegmeister RE: laura jean Feb 13, 2009 11:18 AM

          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
            cmd RE: Pegmeister Feb 15, 2009 04:19 PM

            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
              Bostonbob3 RE: cmd Feb 16, 2009 05:21 AM

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

              1. re: Bostonbob3
                cmd RE: Bostonbob3 Feb 16, 2009 06:47 AM

                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
                  Boston_Otter RE: cmd Apr 26, 2009 07:45 AM

                  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. f
            FeastNut2008 RE: laura jean Feb 14, 2009 05:59 AM

            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
              Andy RE: FeastNut2008 Feb 15, 2009 09:57 AM

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

            2. b
              bachslunch RE: laura jean Feb 15, 2009 11:36 AM

              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
                Wannabfoode RE: bachslunch Feb 17, 2009 09:52 AM

                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
                  MeffaBabe RE: Wannabfoode Feb 18, 2009 04:23 AM

                  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
                    neil RE: MeffaBabe Mar 14, 2009 08:26 AM

                    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

                    1. re: neil
                      winecafe95 RE: neil Mar 14, 2009 12:35 PM

                      Mother Anna's!

              2. s
                ShelT54 RE: laura jean Mar 14, 2009 01:45 PM

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: ShelT54
                  hotoynoodle RE: ShelT54 Mar 15, 2009 09:35 AM

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

                2. m
                  missfoodie RE: laura jean Mar 15, 2009 05:40 PM

                  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
                    bachslunch RE: missfoodie Mar 15, 2009 06:35 PM

                    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.

                  Show Hidden Posts