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North End on a Thursday night?

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A couple friends are coming into town next week and want to eat in the North End. We're in the burbs so only make it into the North End every now and again, so I need a couple of recs.

Cost is a factor - I don't want to blow them out of the water at Mamma Maria or Prezza, but they're both pretty sophisticated foodies so I don't to go too down market either.

They will eat anything but are devoted carnivores and big eaters, so dinner will include apps, entrees and desserts (although I might just take them to Mike's for cannoli for the full north end experience), plus wine.

Any suggestions appreciated.


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  1. Please skip Mike's - go to Modern instead.
    Taranta is my go-to North End restaurant, although granted I don't go to it often, because I avoid the North End.
    Can you convince them to go to Vinny's at Night in East Somerville instead? They won't have room for dessert...but you'll be relatively close to Christina's in Inman.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Hey, Bob, my family of four has reservations at Taranta on Christmas Eve. Any can't miss recommendations?

      Taranta is one of the restaurants that validates parking at the Parcel 7 garage in the Haymarket building.

      1. re: bear

        I have not been in a while, but I am a big fan of the cassava root gnocchi - much lighter than potato gnocchi.

        1. re: bear

          I love the pork chop at Taranta.

          1. re: KevinJF

            Thanks, Bob and Kevin. We're looking forward to it.

      2. Lo Conte's on salem street is good and not too expensive.

        Mikes or Modern is always the big question. Modern fills the cannolis to order but Mike's are not sitting long. Modern can get stuffy and the line can take forever to move. There are just a few tables at modern.

        Mike's has the bigger selection.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veronicasawyer

          Mike's are so sweet they make my teeth hurt.

        2. Do you have your heart set on the North End? I think there's a disconnect between "sophisticated foodies" and the many, many red sauce places of the North End. I'm not knocking a good eggplant parm, but it doesn't exactly scream "sophisticated" to me, either.

          1. If cost is a factor, you'll instantly be in the hole about $25. for parking. I second going to Vinny's in Somerville, good and reasonable. Also agree, skip Mikes for Modern.

            2 Replies
            1. re: treb

              Gov't center is $10 and Sargent's Wharf $11 in the evenings.

              Both are an easy walk to the North End.

              1. re: steve999

                Also, some restaurants have validated parking at the Parcel 7 garage. It's usually on the website in the Directions info. $1 for one hour and $3 for three hours. If you go over three hours, though, you get charged the regular exorbitant rate.

            2. For a nice experience without the Prezza prices, (although I ve Prezza) I think you and your friends would enjoy Marco on Hanover Street. Marc Orfaly of Pigalle fame is the owner and the menu is both intersting and relatively reasonaly priced. NIce wine list and house made salumi as well. And Modern Pastry is right downstairs!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Northender

                +1 for Marco....the quality/price ratio is the best in the North End IMO.

                1. re: phatchris

                  Agree with Marco recommendation, too.

                2. re: Northender

                  +1 for Marco. Good service, very good food and I like that they are upstairs.

                3. I like L'Osteria. Nice food and service..nice atmosphere. From there I would walk over to Modern for dessert. Also...there's a cafe next door to Modern..can't remember the name but they have great gelato and make a nice chocolate martini.

                  1. My go-to for a step down from Mamma Maria and Prezza in the NE is Vinoteca di Monica. Very pleasant atmosphere for the price, good homemade pasta, a great caprese salad. And my vote goes to Mike's! All the cannoli I've had there have been fresh, and I don't consider them sweeter, but more flavorful than at Modern.

                    1. Just an FYI... The Bruins have a home game this Thursday night which means parking will be tougher than normal. Don't go to the Parcel 7 garage. Park at the Government Center garage. It's only $7.00 more than getting your ticket validated and it's just on the other side of city hall. Taranta is also a great go to restaurant. Not your typical North End fare. Service is also excellent but probably not as good as when I worked there! :)
                      But if the snarly traffic is going to get to you, I definitely agree with the rest of the bunch, Vinny's in Somerville may be the best bet.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: birdy30

                        Parcel 7 is directly adjacent to Government Center garage.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          Whooops! Meant the Central Parking Garage at City Plaza! (Thanks Bob!)

                          1. re: birdy30

                            There's not a chance of getting a spot at the Parcel 7 when there's an event at the Garden. Good call.

                        2. re: birdy30

                          birdy30, thanks for the Bruins info (I'm not a hockey fan so don't keep up with them).

                          Fortunately, we're going Thursday Dec 15 and there is not a Bruins game in town that night!

                          I have a res at Marco, and we'll decide Mikes v. Modern after dinner.

                          Thanks to all for the recs!

                          1. re: Valyn

                            If you want big chocolate chip cookies, try mikes. Italian cookies and half moons then try modern.