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So Disappointed at Italian choices on North Shore

One passable place is Zabiglione in Ipswich but the rest of the North Shore region is wanting for a really good North End type of joint that gets everything right. Had lunch once at Chianti in Beverly and might try dinner there sometime.

Not sure why the link function is not showing or I would put a link in.

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  1. Have to agree pretty dismal, I prefer to hit Rino's or some of the places in Winthrop. If you want old school, try Ralphie's on rte 28 in Salem, NH. Their fare is good, nothing fancy or gourmet, and reasonable. Another that I haven't tried in quite some time is Orzo, at the Butcher Boy Plaza, in N. Andover. Again, nothing gourmet but, very good. Haven't seen Chef Mike at Zabilgone's in a long time, I do like their chow. I used to like some of the Italian dishes especially the putenesca at Stone Soup in Ipswich but, I just can't stand the arrogance of the waitstaff.

    4 Replies
    1. re: treb

      No doubt when I am in the E. Boston/Revere/Winthrop area, there are some pretty good choices.

      1. re: ipsofatso

        Another option maybe the Colosseum in Salem, NH.


      2. re: treb

        I have encountered the same problem at Stone Soup on more than on occasion. If youdon't like people, don't become a waitress or server.

        1. re: drewinmrblhd

          I know the owners Stephanie and Mark and I am sure they would ***appreciate*** knowing you have had bad experiences with the waitstaff there. Never tried their Puntanesca.

      3. My favorites are Joseph's Trattoria in the Ward Hill part of Haverhill or the Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, NH.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Infomaniac

          never been to zabagliones.. What particulars are you looking for in Italian? and what does Zabagliones have that others do not? Knowing what type of food, atmosphere etc would help in giving the right suggestions..(if they even exist around here!) FOr example, lots of people like Tre Monte but the one time we went, we didnt get why...)

          1. re: Infomaniac

            I have to agree on the Tuscan Kitchen. The food is inventive and really well prepared and the service is outstanding. They also have a full service bakery in the basement that turns out some of the best bread I have had in a restaurant.

            1. re: Cheffrank

              Uh, this is the Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, New Hampshire, right? Perhaps a bit far from the North Shore outside Boston - for a weekday night dinner, anyway...

              1. re: huiray

                I agree that some people may feel it's out of the way, but I have no issue driving from Haverhill to Gloucester or Salem, MA for dinner on a weekday night for dinner.
                It really depends on what you are looking for, and I think Tuscan Kitchen is worth the drive if you are looking for a place that really gets everything right.

                Cheffrank hit the nail on the head when he say "The food is inventive and really well prepared and the service is outstanding".

                Personally, I'd rather drive an extra 15 to 20 mins. for a great meal and experience, than settle for an alright meal and experience.

            2. ipso, i'm so surprised you haven't tried 62 wharf in salem. a lovely comfortable spot with personable service and terrific artisinal italian food. do a search for some CH reviews!

              p.s. the link doesn't show because CH removed all the restnt links/pages as of last month.

              1 Reply
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Za-bayonze in IPS is actually a B/B+ experience with good pasta, veal, seafood, salads and the love is there. 62 Wharf has artisan Italian no doubt but overall I consider it more of special occasion place that executes a broad range of cuisines. Another thread mentioned the Adriatic in Salem but have not seen any reviews on CH. I happen to work in S. NH so I might venture there for dinner. I drive to Boston to eat so......

              2. Not sure if Woburn is in your area ipso, but Tremonte's is excellent.

                1. Have you taken a look at the places that have been reviewed by the women at North Shore DIsh? They have an option to search by cuisine and seem to do a good job of covering that area.



                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BostonZest

                    Thanks for the shout out, Penny!

                    We agree 62 Restaurant + Wine Bar in Salem is excellent. A modern take on regional Italian dishes and Tony's handmade pasta is awesome. Bella Verona, also in Salem is more old school, with tasty traditional dishes and a cozy romantic atmosphere. We've also had decent, less expensive meals at Petrillo's in Peabody.


                  2. I had a couple of dinners at Bella Verona on Union St opposite the Hawthorne Hotel (where I was staying for that work week) and thought the place was pretty good. There were also various diners chatting in Italian in there too. I did a quick search on this board, it seems someone else who is a local also enjoys the place: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8010...

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: huiray

                      Ugh...I had an awful meal at Bella Verona....I swear it all tasted canned and was about a step up from cafeteria food.

                      1. re: ipsofatso

                        That's too bad. I was there a few years ago, true - perhaps it has gone downhill or you had a bad night. Mayhaps someone else has also eaten there recently and has something to say?

                        1. re: huiray

                          fyi- Tuscan Kitchen (Salem, NH) and Joseph's Trattoria in Ward Hill/Haverhill have the same owners. Tuscan more formal/upscale; both have bakeries, open kitchen (on first floor of T.K.) I like the design and different floors at T.K.! At Joseph's we had people standing in line to buy take out & cakes right by table - it's smaller; food is very good, service average. Gets crowded quickly on weekends. All homemade pasta (unlike The Colosseum in Salem, NH where some pastas are fresh made in house, some frozen or other? From a box/brought in from supplier (Waiter told us when I asked about pasta prep.) Colosseum is OK but doesn't "wow" Some interior decor is tired, worn, cheap.

                          1. re: adiosoven

                            i had never heard of TK so it was interesting looking at their menu. I must say, though, i was most surprised by the prices. If 62 Wharf is special occasion for the OP, what with their 3 course $29 neighborhood deals and their general pricing, I think TK is going to be way higher than OP wants> $40 and $33 entrees at the highest end.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              There's little middle ground between the neighborhood pizza place that makes a few red sauce dishes and 62 Wharf. Maybe I will try Bella Verona again, or Petrillo's.

                              1. re: ipsofatso

                                i guess after looking at Tuscan Kitchen's prices, i would offer this: 62 Wharf IS the middle ground between pizzza places and TK! $29 for 3 courses is a good deal!!

                    2. Couple more:

                      Bonta in Hampton nh is excellent

                      Enzo in newburyport (must reserve, staff is arrogant)

                      Also ceia in newburyport has 3-4 pastas that are excellent

                      For cheap try Giuseppe's in newburyport

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dghnyc

                        Not a fan of Enzo's in NBPT. Very disappointing.

                        1. re: ipsofatso

                          Pretty vague criticism. What did you not like?

                          1. re: Crawfordesquire

                            Yelped it: Appetizer of shaved Parmesan Reggiano on a plate with beet reduction and crunchy things of some kind was just weirdly conceived and I was eating it thinking "why did I order this anyway/". The steamed littlnecks in broth way over salted but had potential to be good but just missed the mark. Tagliatelle with mushrooms was a gloppy, bland mess needed more something like olive oil, silkiness and flavor. Wild boar with polenta was decent but underwhelming in depth of flavor. Hugely disappointing with service needing to be brushed up as well. Why two stars? Decent wine list with some very attractive Italian whites.

                      2. Caffe Paolina in Swampscott has been consistent for many years. Small setting and I believe you still have to bring your own beer or wine. I would recommend a reservation. It is located in a small strip mall by Phillips park.

                        Cafe Salerno in Beverly is also quite tasty and has that small town type of vibe. Everyone seems to know one another and the price's are family friendly. It is also nice that they have their own parking lot.

                        Bella Verona in Salem is way too tight as far as tables go, I need my space I guess.

                        If you don't care for atmosphere so much, Gallo Nero in Peabody Square is awesome. Open Kitchen so you can watch the chef at work. The Fusilli ala Vodka is wonderful!


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: drewinmrblhd

                          Perhaps a stretch for "North Shore," but we enjoy Massimo's in Malden for the hearty portions, garlicky red sauce, and convivial atmosphere. It is a bit of a haul for us though (coming from Lexington area). It is right off Rt 1 though, I believe?