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Trying To Decide - North End Italian

Hi Chowhounds. I'm new to posting on the boards, but for all the posts I've read they seem very helpful. I'm going to be in town for 3 days, 2 dinners, and for one or both dinners I'd like to get some Italian in the North End. I know many posts have been written about this before, and I've read those and tried to narrow it down and get specific help!

I've narrowed to Antico Forno, Giacomo's, Lasumma, L'Osteria, and Prezza. I've read some bad reviews on here about the first two, so I'm leaning away from those unless CHs advise otherwise. And I'd like to stay under roughly $25 a plate, so that seems to rule out Prezza.

Unfortunately I don't know the difference between the types of Italian: northern, southern, traditional red sauce. So I can't offer any advice on which of those I'm looking for.

Any help on deciding between the above (or suggesting an alternative) would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Prezza is still closed, due to a fire. Website says reopening on November 15.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I apologize, forgot to mention that we'll be up there early December.

    2. Many posters would say that the best Italian in Boston is likely to be found outside of the North End (and similarly, that the best food in the North End isn't necessarily Italian - viz. Neptune Oyster). Is there a reason you want to stay in the North End particularly? Would you be open to going to other neighbourhoods?

      1 Reply
      1. re: TimTamGirl

        I'm definitely open to going to other neighborhoods, yes. The only reason I was specific in mentioning the North End is the overall feel, it's a great atmosphere and I love walking around the area (I know, that's not exactly a food related reason!) And I plan on trying Neptune Oyster, last time I was up there I didn't get a chance to try it.

      2. I've had many good meals in the past at Maurizious, it had a few Sardinian specialties and would fit your <$25.

        1. I'd just go to L'Osteria and call it a day. Solid Italian red-sauce fare like Nonna used to make and there's nothing over $22.

          Menu>>>> http://www.losteria.com/dinnermenu.html

          5 Replies
          1. re: CapeCodGuy

            Thanks for the tips. I hadn't looked into Maurizios.
            CCG, in terms of menu La Summa and L'Osteria look pretty comparable. Is this a far comparison, just a difference in quality?

            1. re: Lefty721

              Sorry, never been to La Summa so I can't speak to it.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                I've been to La Summa once. I like L'Osteria better.

            2. Agree with the Maurizios and L'Osteria recommendations. I've found both to be consistent. Antico Forno Is one of of those places that I like certain dishes. It has been my go to for chicken parm and I like most anything from their brick oven. Not a fan of their pizzas as for me they are too bready. Have a feeling Prezza will be mobbed when they reopen, but I would go for it. Lasumma I just don't care for as I just don't like their sauce.

              1. To throw another option at you, a Chowhounder recommended Vinoteca di Monica to me and we loved it! http://www.monicasboston.com/MonicasB... Check it out and see what you think.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kt1969

                  Some time ago I took my brother to Monica's. He travels on business constantly, has eaten all over the US, Europe and South America. Told me later that dinner ranked in his top ten restaurant meals ever.

                2. Thanks so much for all the input and recommendations!

                  1. For red-sauce Italian-American, I like Massimino's and L'Osteria. Good Sicilian (specializing in squid) at the original Daily Catch, though be warned it's tiny, doesn't take reservations, only accepts cash, and has no bathroom. If Prezza has reopened by the time of your visit, it's a worthy, modern, rather upscale Northern Italian that also does terrific wood-grilled steaks and chops, and has a good full bar and impressive Italian wine list.

                    The original Pizzeria Regina is a fine, history-laden stop for pizza and beer, though it often has a line and also takes cash only. For bakeries, I like the Modern in general, and Maria's for sfogliatelle; avoid the touristy Mike's. For caffes, I like the Caffe Dello Sport and Caffe Vittoria. For retail, I recommend Salumeria Italiana for imported salumi and groceries, and V. Cirace for wine and spirits, notably a great selection of Italian amari.

                    Oddly, one of Boston's handful of great local seafood restaurants, Neptune Oyster, is in the neighborhood, though long waits are tough to avoid there. It's not remotely Italian, but it has an amazing raw bar, French-leaning cooked seafood dishes, two of the city's better lobster rolls (one in the classic coastal New England style, a cold mayo-dressed salad, and the rare-in-Boston Connecticut style, hot and dressed with butter), and great seafood-friendly wines. Well worth a stop if you can catch it mid-afternoon on a weekday, when waits are far less common.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Regina's takes plastic. I think Caffe Paradiso deserves a nod as well

                    2. In your price range, I'd also recommend Vinoteca di Monica.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pollystyrene

                        Both Monica's restaurants are great- Vinoteca and Trattoria.

                      2. Folks here have mixed feelings about Artu on Prince St. but I've eaten up and down Hanover St. for years and years and for good food, attentive service, and friendly atmosphere I still go back.

                        Dessert/caffe: Caffe Victoria