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Sep 8, 2010 02:55 PM

Best Italian in the North End?

I'll be in Boston for a wedding this October and am looking for the best North End Italian for a Friday night dinner. Not looking for any kind of scene, just for great food. I love red gravy and I love more refined Italian - open to any place. I've received a lot of recommendations from friends and family that seem to be all over the place, so thought I'd see if I could get any consensus on here.

Here are the places that have been suggested to me, please let me know what you all think or if you suggest a different place:

- Lucca

- Antico Forno

- Bricco

- Mother Anna's

- Carmen

- Cannoli's at Mike's

Thanks in advance!

Antico Forno
93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

Lucca Restaurant
226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

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

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  1. There are some things that Mike's excels in--the cookies tend to be very good--but many argue that the cannoli at Modern Pastry are far better. This is one of the Boston board's perpetual arguments, however.

    I like some things on Antico Forno's lunch menu, but it wouldn't be my one-dinner-in-the-NE choice.

    If you're looking for the full North End red sauce experience, you could certainly do worse than Mother Anna's.

    Antico Forno
    93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

    Modern Pastry
    257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

    1. This is probably one of the most comprehensive North End threads - wish we could sticky-note it -

      Personally, I like Vinny's at Night in East Somerville and Gran Gusto in Cambridge over visits to the North End, but you should go to the N.E. for the compleat experience.

      1. The recommendations are all over the place because everybody has their favorites. You will never get a concensus on the best in the North End. However, in general I think most people would agree that for nicer, non-red sauce-type places these would make the cut:

        Mamma Maria

        24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

        Mamma Maria Restaurant
        3 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

        2 Replies
          1. re: pemma

            For a more casual / non-red sauce type place, I like Lo Conte's on Salem Street. I also had dinner over the summer with my in-laws at Pagliucca's (sp?) that was pretty good. Wasn't expecting much out of this place since the salad wasn't that good (crappy bottled dressing), but the veal was outstanding. And, I asked for my pasta with just garlic & oil (instead of red sauce) & it was sooooooo good - don't know what the chef did to make it taste so good.

          2. I have been very disappointed by Antico Forno both times I've been there. I also prefer Modern's cannoli to Mike's. In lieu of either of those pastry options, Caffe Vittoria is lovely for a cappuccino or espresso and gelato after dinner.

            Antico Forno
            93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

            Caffe Vittoria
            296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

            1 Reply
            1. re: bella_sarda

              it is Cambridge and not your typical italian restaurant, but I will again put in a plug for Jody Adam's Rialto in the Charles Hotel. My most recent meal was again very good, and every two months they change their emphasis to a different area of Italy. Currently, the food is Lombardian though I did not get a rice dish. Perhaps because Rialto is located in Harvard Square, it is not thought of as an Italian restaurant?

            2. A decent list though I would throw in Giacomo's. And count me in the list of Modern Pastry cannolis (though the suggestion to get a cannoli and after dinner drink at Vittoria is definitely a good one).

              Modern Pastry
              257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

              4 Replies
              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                And it kills two birds with one stone: Vittoria's cannoli come from Modern. They used to come from Mike's, but there was some kind of spat between the owners.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  I'm sure the "spat" has nothing to do with the fact that Mikes wanted to expand up, and take away the "air quality" of the apartments above Vittoria.

                  1. re: phatchris

                    Yes, something like that. I don't remember the specifics.

                  2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    I think I've decided on Prezza followed by coffee and cannolis at Caffe Vittoria. Thanks for the rec!