3 Best Restaurants in Boston’s Little Italy- The North End

Food & Wine, United States — By on August 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

by Adrienne Supino

When it comes to food, some people eat to live, while others live to eat. Like most of the Italian American population, I am a “live to eat” kind of girl–the type who wells up at the sight of a crispy calzone or gets irrationally excited at the prospect of having her grandmother’s lasagna for dinner.

Fortunately for me, I grew up just outside Boston–a city teeming with like-minded, food-loving Italians.  Taking over the section of Boston known as the North End, Italian immigrants have turned the area into a labyrinth of culinary delights.  Chock full of coffee shops, pastry shops, bakeries, delis, fine Italian restaurants, and home to The Connah Store (yes, some of us Bostonians actually do speak that way), the North End is a foodie’s dream.  There are plenty of gems tucked away within the alleys and side streets of this quaint neighborhood but here are three of my favorite places for snacks, wine, or an entree.

Boston Common Coffee Co

Almost every morning before work, I drag my tired butt to this coffee shop for quick caffeine fix and I never fail to leave happier (and more awake) than when I arrived.  Familiar and comfy, the warm atmosphere of this cute hangout makes it the perfect place to grab a latte, a delicious almond croissant, and curl up with the morning paper, or like most of the college-aged patrons, a laptop.  With a variety of coffees to choose from and an array of muffin tops (yes, only the tops!), bagels, pastries, cookies, salads and paninis, this place doubles as a stop for both breakfast and lunch.  Try out the cranberry-nut muffin top or the Portobelly Panini.

Ristorante Fiore

Bostonians may freeze in the winter, but the city is absolutely beautiful in the summer.  To enjoy the warm weather, head over to Fiore’s on Hanover Street (the North End’s main strip so to speak) and up to the rooftop bar.  With its rod iron tables and chairs and Mediterranean feel, this charming roof is an ideal happy hour spot. Cool off with a nice glass of wine or a mouth-watering pomegranate martini.  Feel free to dine or just have drinks- but I would definitely suggest indulging in one of the pizzas (my favorites would have to be Pizza Margherita or Pizza con Patate e Pancetta)

Giacomo’s

For a very quick and very reasonably priced dinner (about $10-$15 a plate) before a night out on the town, get in line at Giacomo’s on Hanover St.  They don’t take names and the place isn’t big enough to wait inside, so hurry over early so that you don’t have to stand outside in line for too long.  Once you make it in though, you’ll find that the food is well worth it.  Order your meal off the chalkboard on the wall in this tiny restaurant, and you’ll feel like you’re right at home in your mom’s kitchen as you can watch the chefs prepare your food right before your eyes.  Though the chicken parmigiana is a classic favorite among  me and my friends, the butternut squash ravioli jumped right to the top of my list.

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