Giacomo’s

Giacomo’s Ristorante (#28)

355 Hanover Street

Boston, MA 02113

February 18, 2017

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Waiting in line to get in with this pretty by my side

First of all: HAPPY 17TH TO MY BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING SISTER LOGAN!♥Much love for you, and so happy we could spend the day together!

So, if you are at all familiar with Boston’s North End, you should have heard of Giacomo’s. It’s essentially the place that everyone goes to and absolutely raves about. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, which I think is quite short compared to what most people wait for this famous North End stop. Many people will begin lining up before 4pm, and the restaurant doesn’t even open its doors until 4:30/5! We started around the corner, and luckily made it in after the first diners finished their meals.

I wouldn’t say come here if you get overwhelmed super easily- with only about 12 tables this is the coziest restaurant I’ve ever been in. Its packed, and they keep it that way. Constant bustle, hustle and screaming is heard from the staff as orders are shouted and words like “what do ya want” or “salute” ring throughout. The wait staff is super experienced – ours had been there for over 20 years and he doesn’t take any crap let me tell you. Yes, he may be a little over bearing, somewhat touchy, and maybe even a little demanding and come off as rude, but I’d just say he’s your typical Italian Bostonian. I guess you have to have thicker skin to survive your meal here.

Honestly, I loved the atmosphere, maybe besides feeling a tad rushed, but overall it just felt super Italian, but not the Italy Italian–def the Soprano American Italian version.

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We started with a few appetizers. Logan and I split the caprese salad which also had some roasted red peppers and olives on the dish, which I loved. My mom had a side caesar salad which was quite a big starter salad and good. My dad ordered some garlic bread for the table, which I thought was good but not superb like the rest of the meal. The bread they hand out is super super super good–so fresh and crusty.

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Then for the main course, Logan and I both got the Frutti di mare over Linguine in the Fra Diavolo sauce. We both loved ours. I also liked how there was a variety of different dishes and you could choose from 5 different sauces so everyone could find something they would like.

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My mom ordered chicken, broccoli over ziti in the garlic cream sauce, which was similar to an alfredo cream sauce. She liked it, but was stuffed from the caesar salad.

My dad ordered the chicken and shrimp over the ziti with the pesto cream sauce. I tried a bite and loved it. Super rich, great flavor-and the pesto-just wow.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay gluten free at this restaurant as there weren’t any gluten free options for the dish I wanted- I just really wanted to try the frutti di mare. oh well. I think there were some options such as the Swordfish steak or a few others, but I was willing to go against the plan. It was worth it.

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Reminder: Giacomo’s is cash only. But the prices are super reasonable- we left spending $120 having two courses each and the portions are great size. And that’s also including a 25% tip…our waiter must walk away with so much money at the end of the night-but he deserves it!

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So, in conclusion I would highly recommend Giacomo’s if you don’t have to wait a super long time in line, or if its a really nice day out. Otherwise, I would probably say this is a great place, but you can definitely find a meal just as good elsewhere, as all of my blogposts have proved thus far.

I’m super happy to have crossed it off the list, and was super happy with my meal- but am also looking forward to a calmer, nicer waiter next trip to the North End.

Ratings:

Food: 5/5 Super super good, no complaints.

Service: 4.5/5 Very attentive and good, but like I said…slightly rude and off-putting.

Atmosphere: 4.5/5 for me, I’d say for the average person it’d probably be a 3/5 because it is so crowded and a little overwhelming. But I loved the exposed bimg_6795rick and chalk board menus.

Price: $$ Most dishes were $12-25 for dinner and apps were $4-$12 (very good for dinner in the North End)

Overall: 5/5 Yes, I’m confirming with Yelp, Tripadvisor and the other various food critic sites, this place does deserve that rating.

ciao bellas

xoxo

Lucca

Lucca North End (#27)

226 Hanover St

Boston MA 02113

February 12, 2017

My friend and I decided to try Lucca on Hanover Street before going to our first Bruin’s Game together! It was rainy and snowy and all together super gross weather outside, but Lucca totally made up for it.

They had a coat check (super nice) and all together great service from the time we walked inside the door until when we left and they said “Go Bruins!”.

I was very impressed with my meal. I got the Linguine ($31)-but opted for the gluten free pasta substitution which was penne. Fine by me! The dish was in a spicy marinara with mussels, calamari, and shrimp. I loved it.

Josh got the Lobster Risotto which was lobster with smoked bacon on a saffron risotto with sautéed haricot vert and chives. ($38)

Both of us really enjoyed our meals, and the spread that came with the bread was very good! I honestly don’t know how to describe it-but definitely try it if you choose Lucca!

I would say the one downfall to this restaurant is the price–very expensive for a dish that would probably be $10 less somewhere else. But, if you’re trying to impress somebody-Lucca is probably that place!

img_6769Ratings:

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 5/5

Atmosphere: 4.5/5

Price: $$$

Overall: 4.75/5

And…the Bruins killed the Canadiens 4-0 last night….I’d say it was a pretty good end to the weekend!

ciao bellas xoxo♥

Tresca

Tresca (#26)

233 Hanover St

Boston MA 02113

January 19, 2017

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much love for this one

One of my best friends, Katherine♥, decided to pay me a visit in Boston and we decided to try Tresca–one restaurant in the North End I have been wanting to try for months! Tresca is only open for dinner, so it is harder for me to go with my dad (sorry you missed out bud)-but I saw the opportunity and just had to take it.

Man, we reminisced on our time in Florence (♥) together-without the wine 😦 … and were very impressed with our meals.

Another reason I chose Tresca was the gluten free pasta option-many North End restaurants are starting to have gluten free pasta, but it is not extremely popular, making the quest a little bit difficult and challenging my creativity and knowledge of being gluten free! It will continue though-don’t worry my loyal and eager fans! 😉

Anyway, I ordered the Rigatoni Affumicata ($19). This dish was grilled eggplant, fire roasted peppers, baby heirloom tomatoes, roasted garlic, and smoked mozzarella all mixed in with my pasta. The flavors just exploded with each bite in my mouth! The smoked mozzarella was one of my favorite flavors- but the peppers were just as spectacular. And the melted cheesy goodness mixed in with all the veggies and pasta….my mouth is currently watering!!

I pretty much insisted and totally peer pressured Katherine into trying the pumpkin ravioli (Agnolotti di Zucca: native Pumpkin filled ravioli, sliced chicken tenderloins,  maple sage cream sauce, and fried leeks-$24)

I may or may not have made her feel like she had to try it for her gluten free friend-since if I was eating gluten that would have been my top choice.♥Katherine- I know you love me regardless, I know you are happy with your choice, and I hope you enjoyed your mint chocolate chip canoli from Mikes!!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥

Katherine did love her meal, remarking it was sweet-almost more like dessert…and would be the perfect dish to split with someone, and split their dish as well, as the pumpkin is a very powerful flavor.

Nonetheless, we were very pleased with Tresca. I thought it was a very beautiful restaurant, warm (A+), and would definitely be a super cute date spot as the mood lighting just totally amplified our friendship. Jokes aside, I would recommend Tresca for a foodie who is adventurous and maybe wants something other than the typical American Italian cuisine, although they did have classics like the parmesan dishes, picatta,marsalas, and bolognese among others.

Side note- we found it a little odd and very different that no bread was served with our dinner. I didn’t care as I can’t eat it, but bread normally is a small little snack to munch on while you wait. Maybe consider ordering an appetizer if you are super hungry, but we were both full and satisfied after finishing ours.

Also, Ray Bourque is owner of Tresca and pops in occasionally to speak to guests. I can’t believe he didn’t make an appearance knowing I, the world’s best Boston’s North End blogger would be there, but like, whatever! Maybe…if y’all are reading this…you could hit that share button and then he can invite me??!!!!!!

Service was super fast, attentive, and very nice.

Ratings:

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Atmosphere: 4/5- perfect for Valentine’s Day gentleman!♥

Price: $$/$$$ a little on the pricer side for dishes without seafood-but quality is worth the price

Overall: 4/5

 ciao bellas xoxo

Ristorante Lucia

Ristorante Lucia – #25

415 Hanover St

Boston MA 02113

January 15, 2017

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Annnnd I’m back in Boston!

Winter break was definitely one to rProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetemember-our cruise to the Southern Caribbean was nothing shy of spectacular! With that being said, I am looking forward to the spring semester of my junior year and tackling more North End restaurants!

So today we went to Ristorante Lucia. I loved the inside; all the walls were brick and we sat in a booth with a window over looking the Church right next door. I can imagine that during the summer, with the windows open, it would be beautiful to enjoy a great meal there.

My parents loved the bread, and also ordered bruschetta as an appetizer. The mozzarella and tomatoes doused in olive oil was fantastic. My dad said that this bruschetta was his favorite in the North End. I’d highly suggest ordering it! ´

I got a special of the day: scallops and shrimp in a puttanesca sauce over homemade fusilli. Being gluten free, I opted for the gluten free pasta which they happily made. I really enjoyed my meal. The puttanesca sauce was not super spicy, but just enough, and with some olives, capers and tomato, it turned out very well. (pictured far right)

Processed with VSCO with c4 presetMy mom ordered the Pollo Lucia, which was boneless chicken breast sautéed with artichoke hearts & mushrooms in a light lemon sauce. She did not get it with artichoke hearts as she doesn’t care for the saltiness of them, and with that change was very satisfied and happy with her meal. (pictured above, far left)

My dad ordered the Ammazzafame, which they say is a specialty of the house. It is a dish with Penne rigate, Porcini mushrooms, sausage, broccoli, sun-dried tomato & capers. My dad was also very pleased with his main meal.

The service was top notch-our waiter had a fab Italian accent and was easy on the eyes 😉

I would say this is a more expensive restaurant as most of the dishes are around $20-30, but that is also quite normal for the North End.

Overall ratings:

Food: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Price: $$/$$$

Atmosphere: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

 

Nico

Nico Ristorante (#24)                                        

417 Hanover St

Boston MA 02113

  • Fall Semester of Junior Year √
  • Another fabulous meal in the North End to celebrate √
  • Leaving absolutely stuffed and totally satisfied √

Nico Ristorante calls themselves the North End legend-I would have to say the meal was legendary! 

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His hands always be gettin in my pics

This visit to the North End was nothing less than spectacular.

We started off with getting bread and olives in olive oil with the table. I really wish that all restaurants would give olives with the olive oil and bread…these were so so yummy. We then ordered the eggplant parmesan appetizer “Parmigiana alla Siciliana”, which also was very very good. My dad and I both loved the sauce.

The waiter also mentioned some great specials for the night–a burrata appetizer special, which was also tempting to choose, and two for dinner. One was I believe a rack of lamb entree and another was a Seafood medley Fra Diavlo, which I really wanted to get, but decided I needed to try something I’ve never had before. 


So, I got the Rigatoni alla Sal which was sautéed shrimp and scallops with peas and wild mushrooms in a black truffle sauce. I had never tried a truffle sauce as I tend to not like very rich flavors, but I absolutely loved this dish!! I would definitely urge everyone to try.

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My dad ordered the Rigatoni con Carciofi al Salsiccia which was rigatoni with italian sausage, fresh artichoke hearts in a plum tomato sauce. I tried the pasta with sauce and was very impressed. Both of our pastas were homemade- and it was very evident as the pasta was soft and tasted fresh. Very, very impressed.

So, if you couldn’t tell already, we both loved our meals and would highly suggest Nico Ristorante. The waitstaff was fantastic, the atmosphere was nice and cozy, and the food is fantastic. 

Ratings: 

Food: 4.75/5

Service: 5/5

Atmosphere: 4/5

Overall: 4.75/5

xoxo // ciao for now Boston, see ya Jan 2017!

 

Gennaro’s

Processed with VSCO with c4 presetGennaro’s (#23)

5 North Square

Boston, MA 02113

November 22, 2016

Going home for Thanksgiving break called for a trip to the North End before driving home, it really just made sense!!

After going to Artu Trattoria, I had looked at Gennaro’s menu and decided we had to come here for lunch next time, so we made it happen.

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The restaurant was decorated for the holidays. It would definitely feel cozy for dinner time when its crowded and boasting with hungry people.

Their lunch menu is somewhat smaller than dinner, but still big enough to have a variety of choices.

The bread that was served was a ciabatta bread-served warm and tasted like it was just made. The olive oil was also spectacular-a rich, dark color-so you know it was great quality.

 

From the ‘Meatball Extravaganza’ section, I chose the eggplant parmigiana meatballs, which was pretty much just your typical meatball made of eggplant, breading, and parmesan. They were very good, fresh tasting and soft. I’d have to say my favorite part of my meal was the red sauce with it-full of flavor and super fresh. I also tried gluten free rigatoni which was very good and tasted just like normal pasta.

My dad also ordered from the ‘Meatball Extravaganza’ section, and got the Veal Saltimbocca. The two meatballs were made of veal, and then with rigatoni pasta in a marsala like sauce. He’d give his meal a 3/5. He also remarked if he had known it wouldn’t have been in a red sauce like mine, he would have tried the cacciatore.

Both of us enjoyed our meal and the service was good. It’s starting to get hard to really compare all of these places! We were talking and agreed, it’s almost like we need to be blown away in order to give a great review for a restaurant. Either way, we always enjoy our meal, we just weren’t blown away by it.

I’d also like to point out-any vegetarian or vegan does have options here, as well as gluten free pasta. For me, I do eat my chicken and fish, but I love when a restaurant that specializes in Italian food also has food for peeps like me!

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Food: 3.5/5

Service: 4/5

Atmosphere: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.75/5

 

andddd finished with a pumpkin cannoli at Bova’s. Thank god some people think pumpkin should last past Nov 1st!

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Vinoteca di Monica

Vinoteca di Monica (#22)

143 Richmond St

Boston MA 02115

October 22, 2015

Happy 21st Anniversary to my lovely parents!!!img_5227

After countless restaurants had no reservations for Saturday night, my dad happened upon Vinoteca di Monica and got us a 5:30 reservation. (note: I would suggest getting a reservation if going on a popular night as it was super crowded!) The menu looked great, and we were excited to try this place out.

We were not dissapointed in the least! The service was great, the food was spectacular and the vibe was also cool. This restaurant has an extensive wine list (as it should with its name!) and I definitely see myself going back for a glass and appetizer with friends in a year. I also loved the way the bottles are displayed around the restaurant.

For food, we started with the fried calamari, which came with a roasted red pepper aioli and marinara sauce–both were superb. I then got the Spaghetti Verdi con Polpetinne, which was green spaghetti with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs topped with some fresh grated parmesean. The turkey meatballs were great and I was so happy I finally found a restaurant that makes them (no beef for me!). The pasta and sauce were also perfect.

My mom ordered the Fettucine Alfredo and asked for chicken with it, the cooks happily put it in there for her which was great, and she absolutely loved her dish.

My dad ordered the free form lasagna which had a unique twist as it was made with chicken ragout instead of a typical bolognese type. He also enjoyed his meal very much.

My sister, the seafood lover, ordered Linguine alla Scoglio which was local seafood (shrimp, mussels, scallops) in the red sauce. Logan was also impressed.

Everything about this meal was great, and it wasn’t too expensive either. I would highly recommend this restaurant as there is a great variety for the menu, everything they prepare is delicious, and it comes at a fair price!

Ratings:

Food: 4.5/5

Atmosphere: 4/5

Service: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Artu Trattoria

Artu Trattoria (#21)img_0427

6 Prince Street

Boston, MA 02113

October 4, 2016

I met my dad in the North End for lunch today. We had planned on going to Tresca for the pumpkin risotto, but realized it was not open until dinner- I guess I will have to go another evening! Anyway, after going through my list of all the places I want to still try and looking at their hours, I found Artu and thought the menu looked great.

My instincts most definitely led me in the right direction. Atru was amazing for lunch. Both my dad and I shared a caprese salad-fresh mozzarella, buffalo tomatoes topped with some shredded basil and olive oil with olives. So so so good- fresh, full of flavor, and a great starter.

The greatness continued with our main entrees: I got the melanzane parmigiana with a side of penne and sauce (eggplant parmesan for you english speakers)  and my dad got the sausage broccoli rabe with fusilli pasta. My dish was amazing-pasta cooked perfectly, the sauce was sweet and full of flavor, and the eggplant piece-which was huge- had the perfect amount of melted cheese topped with sauce. Can you tell I fell in love 😉

My dad also very much enjoyed his dish and after said the restaurant would probably go in his top five. By the way…you may think this job is easy, with us just eating and having to review…but on the contrary, having to rate them and compare is no easy task!!

For the restaurant itself- we both loved the vibe. It was hip and modern, but still fit in with the North End. The paintings on the wall were super cool. I wish I could have ordered one of their fall themed drinks…they sounded amazing and fit in with the fall season. Let me know if you try one!

Service was also great–he was very nice and a lot better than the woman at Rigoletto Ristorante!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetScores:

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 4.5/5

Atmosphere: 5/5

Price: $$, (lunch it is definitely way cheaper)

Overall: 4.5/5

And of course we had to get some more pumpkin cannolis at Bova’s bakery after lunch!

now back to studying for anatomy! ciao bellas xoxo

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Rigoletto Ristorante

Rigoletto Ristorante

img_1442115 Salem St

Boston MA 02113

September 24, 2016

 HOLY CANNOLI I turned 20 today!!!Also…this will be our 20th restaurant we’ve tried!! So of course I needed to celebrate with my family in the North End. I chose Rigoletto Ristorante after scouring their menu and deciding it would be a good place for the family with multiple options.

I ordered the Capellini Con Gamberetti, which was shrimp with sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, baby spinach over linguine. I thought it was okay, but definitely could have used way more flavor and I would have liked thicker noodles–not a huge fan of the super think spaghetti. The shrimp were cooked well but besides that, not a whole lot of flavor. I think putting it in an Alfredo cream sauce would have made this dish way better–but who knows as I won’t be going back.

My mom ordered the pollo farcito, which was prosciutto and fontina stuffed chicken breast with sautéed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes with a mushroom ragout cream sauce. My mom loved it and kept talking about how good it was. I tried the mashed potatoes and I would agree they were great.

My dad ordered the Cavatappi alla Bolognese which was pork, veal, beef, and pancetta in a creamy tomato sauce. My dad said that “this was the best bolognese I have had so far in the North End”. I guess you could say that is a pretty big deal considering how many restaurants we have tried.

My sister, Logan, ordered her favorite dish, the Frutti di Mare with the spicy tomato sauce that was a special of the day. She said it was good, but would have appreciated more seafood. She still says that Bacco has been the best so far with their rendition of that dish.

Other notes: the waitress we had was lacking in quality. We were not served bread for about 20 minutes after sitting down. The bread was good, and the dip they gave was great as well, but we were starving and could have used it when we first were seated. Also, when we asked her questions about the menu, she had quite the attitude…and did not even mention the specials until we asked. When we finished our meals she scraped the plates at our table. We were in shock, and Logan was still eating…I was in disbelief that she would do that at a restaurant of this caliber. Also, the food took FOREVER to make it to our table…like at least 35 minutes when we were some of the only people there.

I was quite unimpressed with Rigoletto Ristorante, and was disappointed I wasted my birthday dinner on this place…it will definitely not be one I would recommend to anyone.

Scores:

Food: 2/5

Service: 0.5/5

Atmosphere: 2/5

Overall: 1.5/5

Not to worry though…I tried a pumpkin cannoli at Bova’s Bakery and it was to die for…I will be back before those are taken away!! I was just happy to see my family and spend some time with them-and start planning our trip to the Southern Caribbean..EEEEEKK!!!!

and there’s nothing Prosecco and pumpkin cannolis can’t fix…am I right???!!!

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Cheers to 20 and more North End trips!

 

Bricco Panetteria

My dad had seen a Chronicle episode a while ago about this panini/bread shop where the owner was originally from Italy and made his paninis from scratch. We have wanted to give it a try for forever, and finally went down the little alleyway next to Bricco on Hanover Street. I think I can quite literally call this place a ‘hidden gem’

First off, the bread is homemade, smells and tastes so wonderful and fresh and you can get a fresh baguette for $2. Yes, I said $2!!!!! This bakery also makes bread for surrounding restuarants, which I found to be super cool.

The little shop also has a bunch of fresh food: olives, cheeses, meats, calamari, homemade pasta, and more. It also a freezer stocked with homemade ravioli, tortellini and such…I will update you on how that is once my dad makes it for dinner.

We did not try the paninis as we had just gone to Ristorante Fiore, but I look forward to trying the caprese style one, along with buying some Olive Oil straight from Itlay and maybe some fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and another loaf of bread…bruschetta??

I might even have to get some of the homemade tomato sauce and ravioli while I’m there for an easy meal now that I have to cook for myself.

I’m looking forward to trying it, but in the mean time, I can assure you the bread is delicious!