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North End on a Thursday night?

Valyn Dec 6, 2011 07:16 AM

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. Bob Dobalina RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 07:19 AM

    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
      bear RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 6, 2011 10:34 AM

      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
        Bob Dobalina RE: bear Dec 6, 2011 10:45 AM

        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
          KevinJF RE: bear Dec 19, 2011 07:58 PM

          I love the pork chop at Taranta.

          1. re: KevinJF
            bear RE: KevinJF Dec 20, 2011 04:33 AM

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

      2. v
        Veronicasawyer RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 08:04 AM

        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
          Bob Dobalina RE: Veronicasawyer Dec 6, 2011 08:07 AM

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

        2. l
          LeoLioness RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 08:25 AM

          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. t
            treb RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 09:39 AM

            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
              steve999 RE: treb Dec 6, 2011 10:05 AM

              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
                bear RE: steve999 Dec 6, 2011 10:09 AM

                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. n
              Northender RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 10:49 AM

              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
                phatchris RE: Northender Dec 6, 2011 05:42 PM

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

                1. re: phatchris
                  pemma RE: phatchris Dec 7, 2011 06:12 AM

                  Agree with Marco recommendation, too.

                2. re: Northender
                  bgavin RE: Northender Dec 9, 2011 11:05 AM

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

                3. s
                  SimplyMarie RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 02:47 PM

                  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. p
                    pollystyrene RE: Valyn Dec 6, 2011 08:39 PM

                    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. birdy30 RE: Valyn Dec 7, 2011 05:20 AM

                      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
                        Bob Dobalina RE: birdy30 Dec 7, 2011 05:54 AM

                        Parcel 7 is directly adjacent to Government Center garage.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                          birdy30 RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 7, 2011 07:04 AM

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

                          1. re: birdy30
                            bear RE: birdy30 Dec 7, 2011 08:36 AM

                            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
                          Valyn RE: birdy30 Dec 9, 2011 10:52 AM

                          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
                            libertywharf RE: Valyn Dec 10, 2011 04:20 PM

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

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