HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

North End Italian? Good bars?

  • 14
  • Share

Last year, the Boston hounds gave me some good advice and sent me to Neptune Oyster when I was passing through. I'm going to be back Monday evening with several hours to kill before I take the night train south. I recall last year walking down Hanover street and salivating at the smell wafting out of the Italian restaurants. I resisted, becuase I had seafood in mind. But this year, I might be interested. Which Italian place in the North End is your favorite, or are they all a bunch of tourist traps?

I'm also interested in a good place for serious cocktails, doesn't have to be the North End, but I will have ditched the rental car by then, so I can't go too far afield. (I need to be at South Station by 9:00 PM)

-----
Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I'm a fan of the bar at Artu, just off off of Hanover St. The bar is really social, and bartending is good. I have no problem hanging out there on a Sunday afternoon enjoying a nice wine, shrimp scampi pizza and good company.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pegmeister

      I go to the bar at Artu, mostly to eat or wait for takeout, also Florentine on Hanover..full disclosure, I'm friendly with a few of the bartenders at Florentines..and I do like the open windows and the people watching on Hanover. I've been to Bacco..but usually end up at Florentine. where I get a better pour and might run into someone I know.

      I don't normally drink "serious" cocktails so can't comment on any of them. I suspect they are not up to an ESK or Drink or that type of calibre when it comes to serious cocktails.

      I'd guess the bar at Prezza might be better for that. and great food....try the egg ravioli. Tresca and Bricco also have nice bars and there are a few locals type bars..deeper in the NE..walk West or away from the harbor.

      -----
      Prezza
      24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

      Bricco
      241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

      Tresca
      233 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

    2. I feel that almost all of the places in the North End are tourist traps. Prezza is good, but I think there are better options in the city. Considering your interest in being close to South Station and your desire for cocktails, I suggest you hit up Sportello for a great bowl of bolognese (a tad overpriced but tasty). Directly downstairs from there (same ownership), Drink has some of the best cocktails in the city/country. If you're traveling solo, these would be great options. Very close to South Station.

      -----
      Prezza
      24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

      Sportello
      348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

      8 Replies
      1. re: ecwashere7

        Here's a dozen non-tourist traps with good food.
        Taranta
        Vinoteca di Monica
        Prezza
        Lucca
        Pomodoro
        Marco
        Mare
        Monica's
        Bricco
        Neptune
        Terramia
        Mamma Maria

        1. re: Beachowolfe

          OP asked for bars in her post.

          Some of your recs have them; some don't.

          1. re: 9lives

            Disregarding the fact that my response was to ecwashere, I believe there were two separate requests in the OP-
            1) "Which Italian place in the North End is your favorite, or are they all a bunch of tourist traps?"
            2) I'm also interested in a good place for serious cocktails, doesn't have to be the North End

            I don't believe there was a specific request for restaurants with full liquor licenses. You seem to be mistaken.

            To actually answer the bar question- If I was leaving from South Station and had opted for North End instead of Sportello/Drink, I'd come back towards SS and grab a drink at Les Zyg, Good Life, Kingston Station, or Petit Robert. Of these I'd guess Petit Robert is closest to serious cocktails but still not up to Drink standards.

            1. re: Beachowolfe

              Your response may have been to Ecasphere . but it fell under the original post by Bachman 1953

              . Maybe you and ecasphere should start your own thread about where to go in downtown.. No one asked him about his opinion about the NE being tourist traps and the answer is irrelevant ...if you have any respect for the OP original question..

              Stop hijacking threads...you can mention a bunch of places that you like but have no relevance to what the OP asked for...start your own thread.

              There's 2 question from the OP...where in the NE and where for cocktails? I threw a few NE places and would reco the Rowes Wharf Bar for better cocktails.

              Serious cocktails require a full liquor license..and the North End bars were what the OP asked for.

              As long as you want to make this a 2 part answer, when were you last at Petit Robert/downtown. Bring a book....and Good Life or Zyg are as good as Prezza....yeah right.

              The Drink for a drink and Sportello for food doesn't do much for me but obviously you like it and maybe the op will too.

              Give em as many options as reasonable.

              1. re: 9lives

                FIrst of all, the OP said, "Which Italian place in the North End is your favorite, or are they all a bunch of tourist traps?"

                My opinion is that yes, most of the places in the North End (with certain exceptions like Prezza, Taranta and Neptune among others) are tourist traps and aren't worth the money or time. The best Italian is definitely outside of the North End in places like Erbaluce, Via Matta and Coppa. I'd even go to Delfino way out in Roslindale over the North End (not appropriate for the OP).

                Secondly, I'm noticing many others suggesting the same thing I did (Sportello/Drink). Hmmm...

                -----
                Prezza
                24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                Via Matta
                79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                Delfino Restaurant
                754 South St, Roslindale, MA 02131

                Erbaluce
                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                Coppa
                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: 9lives

                  9lives, can you please re-read the thread?

                  My original response says Re: ecashwere in the top right corner, I don't know why you think it fell under the OP. It really doesn't matter except for the fact that it shows you are not reading carefully.

                  The OP asked for favorite restaurants in the north end that aren't tourist traps. Then, though not responding directly to the OP, I suggested 12 non-tourist traps in the north end that are among my favorites.

                  You mistakenly thought that OP was looking for a restaurant/ serious cocktail bar combo and you tried to belittle my recommendations for restaurants that don't have full bars.

                  I pointed out that the OP asked two specific questions, one pertaining to restaurants in the north end and one pertaining to serious cocktail spots. I then included my opinion on the cocktail matter.

                  You trashed those suggestions in your latest post. That's fine, but you failed to offer any actual critique of the bars besides what I understand as PR being too quiet. Really, there are only three serious cocktail bars in Boston (probably more) Drink, ESK, Deep Ellum. Since none of those are in the N End and I'm not a big fan of any of the bars there, I suggested that OP go somewhere b/w North End and South Station. In my mind that's relevant to the OP, not just "a bunch of places that I like".

                  1. re: Beachowolfe

                    I reread the thread and yes, the op has 2 separate requests. I didn't belittle your recs but just pointed out that some don't have bars, fact, not belittlement. In fact, I like most of them..x Mare.

                    You wouldn't know this but I don't care for Drink. A friend was made to feel very uncomfortable on my 1 trip there by 1 of the bartenders. Sportello, I had a good croissant; but don't care for the lighting, seating, and general ambience..so again, not a place for me to want to spend paty of my 3 hout drink/dinner...lunch OK.

                    If I had 3 hours to spend; which I often do..I still prefer my itinerary of Florentine for a drink, Artu or Prezza for a drink and dinner..depending on OP's budget. Prezza is more refined than Artu. In fact, I've done just that many times.

                    Some people might prefer the Sportello/Drink combo, but I'm not one of them I didn't trash your Good Life or Kingston St recs. In fact I was at KS last week, and would might break up my NE to SS with a stop, or the bar at Rowes Wharf Harbor Hotel if I didn't have a lot to carry and was walking... been a while since GL, but I always liked it..

                    There are many ways to skin a cat and many ways to spend 3 hours eating and drinking between N and S Station. We just have different ideas on how to do it.

                    No trashing of belittling of ideas intended. Just a difference of choice in how to spend afew hours..and yes I misread the original post

                    -----
                    Prezza
                    24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                    Good Life
                    28 Kingston, Boston, MA 02111

                    Sportello
                    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

          2. re: ecwashere7

            However, eating alone and near South Station, Sportello/Drink would be a good choice. If Drink's not your scene you can head across the street to Lucky's or down the street to Barlow's.

          3. You can get a flight of 3 different amaro at Prezza, which is probably harder to find outside the North End. If you get back to South Station with time to kill, pop into the bar at Radius, their drinks tend to be on the sweet side but at least attempt to be seasonal/interesting (they used to do one in the winter with fig jam, benedictine, dubonnet and I think Makers which was quite good)

            1. I'd head back to Neptune Oyster if I was you. :)

              For Italian in the North End, my favorite is Prezza (creative Italian with a wood grill bent). I'd follow that with Marco (Roman trattoria) and Taranta (Peruvian-Italian hybrid).

              Speaking to bars, Prezza has a good one with decent bar tending.

              It is telling that the best Italian isn't in the North End: Erbaluce and Coppa get that nod from me.

              Finally, I'll note that the North End isn't adjacent to South Station but North Station, and the two aren't connected on the same T line. Fort Point is near South Station, which opens up Sportello (good Italian in a modern diner setting--I'd go there over many places in the North End) and Drink (fantastic cocktail bar).

              Good luck!

              -----
              Neptune Oyster
              63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

              Prezza
              24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

              Sportello
              348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

              Erbaluce
              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

              Coppa
              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

              1 Reply
              1. re: rlove

                Fiore has a 2 A.M. license.

                I can't vouch for the food but there are a lot of pretty people there and the rooftop is a cool place in the summer.

                Lots of pretty people!

                Yes, this thread is about bars, not food quality or cocktail proficiency.