Boston Journals

Boston: Adventures in the North End

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A September 2005 trip to Boston by notso62

North End  Photo, Boston, Massachusetts More Photos
Quote: The North End is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston! From the historical sites to the AWESOME Italian restaurants, it is truly a gem!

Boston: Adventures in the North End

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Overview

North End  Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
The North End is known as Boston's Little Italy, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. Old Italian men sit on the sidewalks and play cards in their lawn chairs. The same crews hold Bocce tournaments in the park that overlooks Boston Harbor. Almost all of the elder locals speak with some sort of Italian accent, and Italian can be heard on almost every street corner. It is really quite a charming scene.Keeping with the area's Italian heritage are some of the city's best Italian restaurants. There are over 100 between the area of the Big Dig and the waterfront. Some of the best are not on Hanover Street (the main tourist draw), but on the side streets of Salem and Prince. If you do ...Read More

Monica's

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Restaurant

Monica's Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Monica's is one of my favorites in the North End. My boyfriend and I have both enjoyed it on several occasions. It is great for a cozy dinner for two, but they also accommodate larger dinner parties without much trouble. The elegant atmosphere (white tablecloths and light blue walls) lends itself well to any occasion you may want to celebrate, even if that occasion is only celebrating the fact that it's Thursday. On our first visit, I ordered the gnocchi marinara, which was awesome, and my boyfriend had a pork roast on a bed of mashed potatoes with apple ravioli, which he said was one of the best meals he'd ever eaten. The sauces and ingredients here all taste like they were prepared the instant ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 22, 2005

Monica's
143 Richmond St.
Boston, Massachusetts
(617) 227-0311

Al Dente

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Restaurant | "Al Dente Ristorante"

Al Dente Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
I had always heard great reviews about Al Dente in the North End and had seen long lines gather on the sidewalk in front of this restaurant even on weeknights. My boss even said that it was one of his favorites and was worth the wait (and he's eaten almost everywhere in the North End at least once—over 100 restaurants!). I, however, was quite disappointed with the overall experience at Al Dente. I made a reservation for two for 9pm on a Saturday evening (the only spot they had "available"). We showed up at 8:55pm and were made to wait outside on the sidewalk of Salem Street for 45 minutes (since they have no bar or waiting area inside). When we were finally seated, they seated u...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 22, 2005

Al Dente
109 Salem St
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
+1 617 523 0990

Billy Tse Restaurant

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Restaurant

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Now, the North End is typically not known for anything but the best Italian food, but one night, my boyfriend and I were not in the mood for the usual. We decided to try something different for a change. My friend had recommended Billy Tse (near the waterfront, across from Starbucks on Commercial Street), saying that they had excellent Chinese food and would prepare anything you pretty much wanted to order. I was skeptical at first. In my opinion, Chinese food in the mostly Italian North End section of Boston was very questionable. I was pleasantly surprised by Billy Tse's delicious sushi, appetizers, and entrees. I ordered the Vegetarian's Delight and was surprised by the heaping helping of vege...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 22, 2005

Billy Tse Restaurant
240 Commercial St.
Boston, Massachusetts
(617) 227-9990

Bacco Ristorante & Bar

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Restaurant | "Bacco Ristorante"

Bacco Ristorante & Bar Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Bacco is one of the North End's best places for a great Italian meal. The menu has something for almost everyone, from traditional dishes like chicken parmesan and veal rolotini to chef specialties, which include swordfish with capers. Everything I have enjoyed here has been perfectly prepared, with great blends of Italian flavors and the best fresh ingredients. I have brought friends with me here on several occasions, and we have always enjoyed our meals. The ambience of Bacco is very nice as well. The hostess always greets every party with a smile, and there is a very nice bar downstairs where patrons can enjoy a drink or two while waiting for their table to become ready. The martinis here are ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 22, 2005

Bacco Ristorante & Bar
107 Salem St.
Boston, Massachusetts
(617) 624-0454

Carmen

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Restaurant

Carmen Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Carmen is one of the most intimate dining experiences the North End of Boston has to offer. The restaurant itself is nestled on North Square, a historic cobblestone section with a cozy and inviting feel. Carmen is an extension of the neighborhood vibe with its comfy, close seating and warm interior. The entire space can only fit about 50 people, so it lends itself to quiet, romantic conversations. If you’re lucky, you can snag a corner table complete with throw pillows. Carmen's small stature is in no way an indication of the quality of the cuisine served here. Entrées and starters are top-notch, prepared eloquently by the on-site gourmet chef. Even the salads had an attention to detail that is un...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 12, 2005

Carmen
33 North Square
Boston, Massachusetts
617/742-6421

The Living Room

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Restaurant

The Living Room Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
The Living Room is one of everybody's favorites in the North End. My friends and I have enjoyed it on several occasions. It is great for a cozy dinner for two, but they also accommodate larger dinner parties without trouble. The elegant atmosphere (white tablecloths and dark, dimly lit lush decor) lends itself well to any occasion you may want to celebrate. On our first visit, my friend ordered the steak tips (which were very good) and I had a mandarin Asian-inspired salad, which I thought was delicious as well. The Living Room's specialties are seafood dishes—watch for the great deals for lobster dinners. Though it's sometimes difficult to get a table during tourist season, this...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 14, 2005

The Living Room
101 Atlantic Ave.
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
(617) 723-5101

Goody Glover

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Restaurant

Goody Glover Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Nestled on the edge of Boston's North End in the location of the old Belvedere, Goody Glover's occupies a piece of prime real estate overlooking the newly constructed greenway. The 93 overpass that used to occupy this space has finally been removed, and the unobstructed view of the city is remarkable from the windows of Goody Glover's. The greenway isn't quite complete yet, but when it is, this bar will have the best seat in town! The atmosphere at Goody's is very laid-back. The wait staff never makes you feel rushed to order and they are all very friendly and attentive. You can enjoy the view of Boston at your leisure when sipping an expertly prepared martini. Drink prices are pretty much standard fo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2005

Goody Glover
48-50 Salem St.
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
617/367-6444

Ristorante Villa Francesca Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
The Ristorante Villa Francesca is one of the most visible Italian restaurants in the North End along the Freedom Trail. It is right across the block from Paul Revere's House, a very popular tourist sight in Boston. Expectantly this restaurant attracts its fair share of tourists and it's hard to get a table on the busier nights in the summer. In the summer, the Villa Francesca has prime seats, with open-front windows for dining alfresco. Be sure to make reservations though; otherwise, your wait for a table can be quite lengthy. The Ristorante Villa Francesca serves traditional Italian fare. The menu includes the usual suspects like Eggplant Parmesean, Veal Rolotini, and various pasta dish...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2005

Ristorante Villa Francesca
150 Richmond St
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
617/367-2948

Dino's Cafe

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Restaurant

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Tucked away on the bustling intersection of Prince and Salem streets lies one of the most over-looked cafes in all of Boston. Though this storefront is pretty much transparent to most tourists, locals and people in-the-know frequent this location for quick but well-prepared meals. You can get anything here from a quick sandwich to a prepared entree, and most categories in-between.  Dino's often has customers inside at all times of the day, but it is never too busy to the point that there is an overflow or the staff can't accommodate. The staff is very fast and efficient—if you do choose to dine in their shop your food is brought to your table within 10 minutes. Many locals take advantage of D...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2006

Dino's Cafe
141 Salem Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
(617) 227-1991

North Street Grille

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Restaurant

North Street Grille Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
If you happen to be in the vicinity of the North End of Boston on a Saturday or Sunday morning, be sure to check out the North Street Grille for breakfast, lunch, or brunch. This spot is often overlooked by tourists since it is off of the main drag, but is a favorite amongst the locals. Serving up comfort food in excellent portion-sizes, the North Street Grille is a neighborhood restaurant with flare; where everyone feels at home yet pleasantly cared for. The staff at the North Street Grille does their best to make sure all of the patrons are served quickly, yet with a smile. The small dining area and counter space is often packed with customers for the small waitstaff to care for, yet they do ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 3, 2006

North Street Grille
229 North St.
Boston, Massachusetts
(617) 720-2010

Taranta

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Restaurant

Taranta Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Have you ever meant to try a restaurant, but just not gotten to for one reason or another? Taranta in Boston's North End was such a restaurant for my boyfriend and me - we had heard so many positive things about it, but just had not gotten around to booking the reservation. Finally, for my boyfriend's birthday, I decided it was time to stop putting things off. Taranta had been featured recently on the show "Phantom Gourmet" (local to Boston), and that triggered enough renewed interest with us to make it our restaurant of choice. Walking in the front door of the Restaurant on the end of Hanover Street, I was pleasantly surprised to see the owner, Jose Duarte, manning the door---...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 8, 2006

Taranta
210 Hanover Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
(617) 720-0052

Joe's American Bar & Grill

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Restaurant | "Joe's American Bar & Grill"

Quote:
"There's something wrong with these eggs", I said to my boyfriend as I attempted to stab my egg substitute omelet with my fork. He just rolled his eyes. You see, it seems that every time we've been to Joe's, there has been something wrong with my meal. Our latest visit to Joe's was a type of last resort - we had agreed to go out to brunch before our trip to a Patriots home game in Foxborough, but every other restaurant we could think of seemed to have a long wait that morning. There is a reason why there was no line at Joe's that morning - or any morning for that matter. It's just not very good. My eggs (which were whipped beyond fluffy to souffle-like) were the least of the problems on my ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on December 17, 2006

Joe's American Bar & Grill
100 Atlantic Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
(617) 367-8700

Old North Church

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Attraction

Old North Church Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
The Old North Church on Salem Street in the North End seems unassuming enough-- its brick exterior and white steeple are by no means extraordinary. What makes this an historical landmark on the freedom trail is the fact that it was here that two lanterns were hung from this steeple in April of 1775. These lanterns were the signal to Paul Revere that the British were coming by sea ("one if by land, two if by sea") and prompted his midnight ride from Bunker Hill to Lexington. The revolutionary wall essentially began in Boston, and this landmark is one of the most important of them all.  The Old North Church has been so well preserved over the years that it is hard to imagine that it is over 200 y...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2005

Old North Church
193 Salem St
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
+1 617 523-6676