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Jul 11, 2014 10:31 AM

Day in Boston - where to eat Italian? Other suggestions?

Hi, we're staying on the Cape but are coming to Boston for a few days (museum visits). Sadly the Fogg is still closed for renovation.

Am looking for a nice place for lunch (have 9-year old in tow, so no slow service but she's flexible as far as food goes fortunately). North End for Italian or should I be looking elsewhere? I've looked at Yelp and Tripadvisor but the recommendations are somewhat conflicting.
We've had plenty of sea food down here so not desperate for that.

Any recommendations most welcome.


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  1. Welcome to Chowhound, Dandelion.
    The North End has some cool bakeries and shops that might be fun to pop into with your child, especially during the week when it's less congested.

    When you say lunch, are you thinking pasta, a quick panino, it going to be your big meal that day, or just a quick bite? Also, are you thinking informal/formal?

    Some good tips are here to start.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Hi Pinehurst,
      thanks for the tips. Definitely our main meal for the day. I come from Europe so the portion sizes are overwhelming...

    2. Our family favorites in the North End are Al Dente or Pagliuca's. Last summer, when both were crowded we ended up at LoConte's instead and that was very good, too. All are inexpensive, relatively speaking, and friendly to kids. For dessert, go to Maria's to skip the crowds/lines at Modern and Mike's. Enjoy!

      1. If you want quick counter service Galleria Umberto on Hanover is great ( pizza, calzone, arancini, panzarotti). Regina or pushcart for pizza. Artu is a pretty good spot for lunch, sandwiches as well as pasta dishes.

        5 Replies
        1. re: phatchris

          Galleria Umberto is closed for vacation through July 27.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Thanks, OP didn't specify when they were heading to Boston.

            1. re: phatchris

              They are coming this Wed. (so closed) and are looking for a sit down place.

          2. re: phatchris

            Plus 1 on Galleria Umberto if they are open when you are here - note that the line may be long, but it does move quickly since there are very few menu options, all of which are excellent - probably also cash only - great spot for a 9-year old to have tasty lunch!

            1. re: phatchris

              I don't know about quick though, as the line at Umberto's can go all the way outside, and moves like molasses. Worth the wait IMHO, but not quick (I say this as a father of an impatient (then) five year old who has waited in that line.....not fun)

            2. If you're not looking for a sit-down meal, get takeout from Casa Razdora, and sit and eat it in the park in nearby Post Office Square.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Pia

                thanks all for the recommendations. Definitely thinking sit down meal given the weather forecast. Maybe should have just started my thread as: if you only had one meal in Boston where should you eat? We are heading into Boston Wednesday.

                1. re: Dandelion14

                  I would skip Maria's. I think even a Bova's
                  is better than Maria's. Mike's and Moderns are much better. That's why there's usually lines but the lines move quickly. Unfortunately, it is suppose to rain off and on Wed. Mikes has the most seating and Modern has a few tables. Maria's has none.

                  1. re: catsmeow

                    My favorite, of the three, by far, is Modern. (Pastries, we're talking about.)

                    1. re: catsmeow

                      Maria's has a couple of tables and their Ricotta pie and Sfogliatelle are my favorite... For a sit down lunch I'd probably do Loconte's.

                      1. re: phatchris

                        Years ago, I use to like Maria's but have gotten stale cookies the last few times I was there. The only reason I went back again was because I thought it was a fluke. The second time I bought them, I tried one in the car and immediately went back with them, When I mentioned it to her, she said she'd go in the back and get me the fresh ones. The "fresh" ones were what I was use to getting there. I have a problem when stale items are knowingly being sold. I stopped going there after that.

                        1. re: catsmeow

                          That sucks! I used to live next door and really only get the two items I mentioned as well as an occasional cannoli. There is nothing quite like a fresh out of the oven still warm Sfogliatelle.

                    2. re: Dandelion14

                      For Italian, I'd go to Coppa in the South End.

                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        I haven't been to you think service might be too slow for a 9 year old?

                        1. re: Madrid

                          Not at all. I take my kids to Coppa all the time. It is generally slow at lunch, and the food comes quick enough. Options for patio tables on a nice day work well for kids (and dogs) as well.

                          1. re: Madrid

                            No, not at all. I find weekday lunch there pretty mellow (though my lunches there are closer to 3 than noon, so your mileage may vary.)

                        2. re: Dandelion14

                          One Italian lunch this Wednesday: Pizzeria Regina on Thacher St in the North End - it is a sure thing - awesome pizza (I always request well done and stick to very basic cheese or 1-2 toppings at most), fair prices, kids generally love it (went recently with a 10-year old visitor - he is still raving about it) - it is bare bones and cramped quarters, but quick once you're seated -

                          and I am not sure why you're getting so much pastry advice when you asked about a meal....

                          1. re: rlh

                            Guess we just assume a family with a 9 yr old in tow having lunch in possibly the NE would enjoy an Italian pastry.

                            1. re: phatchris

                              The OP asked for "other suggestions" as well. I consider pastry one of the necessary food groups....especially when in the North End. :-)

                              1. re: catsmeow

                                Sounds like a plan. For the time being I'm leaning towards Coppa though. Have always been intrigued about American Italian cuisine. But will keep the pastries in mind ;-)

                      2. i do not think that anyone has mentioned ribelle which has a 30 dollar prix fixe if you get there before 6 30, i think. And, if the weather is nice, you can sit outside.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                          OP is looking for a lunch this Wednesday with a 9 year old child.

                          1. re: Madrid

                            The 9 yo has already survived lunches in Michelin starred restaurants (albeit in Europe) I do know that in the US people are quick to hand a child a kids menu or even frown upon bringing a child which is why I mentioned this in my OP ;-)

                            1. re: Dandelion14

                              Ribelle does not serve lunch, rather opening at 5p for dinner. Also, they are located in Brookline, which is a suburb Boston, and maybe farther than you want to travel. Some posters regularly throw out suggestions that are out of context and can be misleading to a visitor.

                              1. re: black_lab

                                thanks, black lab. this is what I meant to clarify in my post---Ribelle is not open for lunch--, only I didn't, and you did!

                                1. re: Madrid

                                  sorry, you are right Ribelle is not open for lunch,