The North End's Best Spots to "Mangia Bene"

Boston's North End is a sought after dining destination for Boston locals and visitors alike. With a spectacular line up of restaurants that make their homes everywhere in this small section of the city, including first floors of residences, quaint second story hideaways and entire structures that have as much charm as the cobblestones in North Square you can't walk more than a few feet without bumping into one. 

As such a popular spot to dine, choosing a restaurant that is right for you can be a tricky proposition. With factors such as price point, style and even if Italian is what you seek to keep in mind 10best has complied list of options as diverse as the various regions of Italy.

Those seeking a sampling of some of the best restaurants in one shot should stop into Quattro where restauranteur, Frank DePasquale, has combined the best dishes from his four popular spots in this casual space, allowing you the opportunity to sample several of the North End's finest in one stop. If high end Northern Italian is your choice grab a cozy table at Mamma Maria. When pasta is on your mind order up at Giacomo's or Trattoria di Monica where their pasta is absolutely perfect. And seafood lovers should not feel left out as Neptune Oyster graces the edge of the North End and serves some of the best upscale seafood in the city.


Rated one of Boston's most romantic eateries, Carmen is a red sauce Italian spot that lets the cozy feel of their interior enhance its plates of authentic Italian cuisine. Serving lunch and dinner, their extensive menu, consists of a variety of items that come together to create the perfect meal. Order the Italian way and savor every bite of food from each category, share with your mate to make the most of Carmen's menu. Prices are a bit steep (topping out over $30 for entrees), but each bite will remind you it is worth the price because you will enjoy every calorie.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Carmen serves authentic Italian cuisine in a cozy setting in Boston's North End making it perfect for a romantic meal.

Jessica's expert tip: With so many excellent choice, make the most of Carmen and eat family style: sample something from every section of the menu.

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Trattoria di Monica is a tiny spot with few tables (a mere 25 seats) tucked inside the North End, off of the busy main drags, that specializes in pasta. Their menu consists of two categories: appetizers and pasta. Limiting their menu and specializing in pasta has given Trattoria di Monica such a following that regulars often hold every table in this tiny establishment. A stellar line up of appetizers including artichoke hearts and a mixed selection of fried seafood, as well as one of the better antipasto plates you'll find in Boston are the perfect prelude to your main course selection. Prepared as pasta should be, their pasta is dressed with sauces that make you feel like you've left Boston and been transported to Italy, you'll leave anticipating a return trip.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Trattoria di Monica offers guests authentic Italian pasta dishes in Boston's North End.

Jessica's expert tip: Order appetizers for the table, the "misto fritto" and antipasto are two local favorites.

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Giacomo's is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the city, but that is not why it generates long lines of tourists and locals waiting outside in any weather to get through its doors. The food really is stand in the rain, get rushed through your meal good. The classic Italian menu is heavy on the pasta, each equally as good. The garlic cream sauce is lick your plate delicious and the parmigiana is better than grandma's. The pumpkin tortellini in a fresh sage mascarpone cheese sauce will leave you yearning for more and the Zuppa di pesce for two is a heaping bowl of cooked to perfection shrimp,scallops,calamari,clams,mussels and lobster, served atop lingiune with your choice of sauce. The setting is as simple as the food and you'll find yourself eager to return even if it means standing in that really long line again.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Casual in nature, Giacomo's is the place to go for some of the best pasta dishes you'll find.

Jessica's expert tip: The line is always long and starts before the North End spot opens. Avoid the line and enjoy the food of the same quality and a slightly enhanced menu at the South End location, just be sure to order pasta.

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Regina Pizzeria is the North End favorite spot of locals looking to get a taste of authentic Italian pies in authentic Italian neighborhood. This North End hot spot has been in business since 1926 and is something of a landmark in Boston. With a spot close to the TD Garden, you'll find this pizzeria packed with sports fans pre and post games. Enjoying the affordable prices, and good food this family friendly spot is always happening. You'll find guests of all kinds digging into their brick oven beauties- tourists, locals and North End residents all come in for a bite of their perfect pies.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Regina Pizzeria is the pizza shop in Boston's North End for authentic Italian pies.

Jessica's expert tip: The pizza cannot be missed at Regina Pizzeria.

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Lucca is a North End Italian spot that packs a crowd, with a second location in the Back Bay, it is always easy to visit. Enjoy a break from wandering the freedom TRail and Greenway inside Lucca's dimly lit doors. You'll find the windows facing Hanover Street open when the weather warms for an al fresco feel under their roof, and a seat at one of the many tables lining that side provides excellent people watching. Their menu is filled with northern Italian classics, and creative innovations that are sure to be enjoyed by the most discriminating palates. Dive into the hearty baked pasta dish that keeps locals returning, the Orecchiette or enjoy the Bistecca, a grilled sirloin that will provoke memories of Florence.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: A beautiful seat by their windows brings guests into Lucca, but their upscale Northern Italian dishes keeps them coming back.

Jessica's expert tip: Request a window table on a warm evening in order to enjoy open air dining, and enjoy a hearty order of the Orecchiette, this baked sensation is filled with fontina cheese, sweet Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, San Marzano tomatoes, truffle oil.

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Traditional Italian baked in a brick oven make this kid friendly, North End pizzeria a favorite. Serving some of the best pies around, Antico Forno carries a large selection of toppings to help you make your pizza a balanced meal. One pizza could easily feed a few people, but stopping with the pizza would be a crime. Antico Forno also offers an excellent selection of baked pasta dishes and tasty appetizers. Most meals are under $20 and are big enough to share. The casual setting of this inviting neighborhood trattoria provides a truly authentic Neapolitan experience. And you'll be able to get your fix of Italian red specialties that could move your Italian Grandma to the second best "gravy" you've had.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Wood oven classic Italian dishes, served in a casual atmosphere that welcomes children, and great prices are what make Antico Forno a North End favorite.

Jessica's expert tip: Order as a group and share. Antipasto, pizza and baked pasta are all so good that you should not choose only one.

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Quattro, opened in 2013, serves Italian dishes that will knock your socks off! Casual, and comfortable, you'll feel welcome in this restaurant that presents a menu filled with Frank DePasquale's best dishes, expertly melding together these items to create a restaurant that turns out food to please most Italian cravings. Small in size, but big on satisfaction, Quattro features a simple marble bar that almost acts as a "chef's" table, giving diners a view into the happenings of the kitchen. Servers are well-trained and ready to please, offering suggestions to suit your mood. And with the backing of Bricco, Mare and Il Panino behind them, you can't go wrong with any of the appetizers, pizzas, pastas, meats or even seafood offerings. Share a perfectly topped pizza on light crispy crust, or dive into a plate of lemony Scampi. And meat lovers cannot go wrong with any of the savory selections.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: A compilation of DePasquale's "best dishes", and several new ideas, meld together to form Quattro's pleasing menu of pizza, pasta, meats and seafood.

Jessica's expert tip: Order a selection from each category and share among your table. The lamb is a must try-seasoned to perfection, allowing the tender cut to melt in your mouth and leave behind just enough of a hint of garlic.

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For the great seafood in Boston, head to Neptune Oyster. Home of an award winning lobster roll, served cold with mayo or hot with butter, Neptune does it right. Chunks of sweet meat cooked to perfection are served on a roll that is almost as good as what it holds. Beyond the lobster roll, Neptune offers a small menu of seasonal delights from the sea. Staples include Ipswich fried clams that explode in your mouth upon entry, and Steamed Wellfleet Littlenecks in the most magnificent wine sauce. The raw bar is impressive, serving east and west coast oysters, a variety of clams and other heavenly treats from the sea.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Neptune Oyster is not just a great seafood spot in the North End, but one of the best in all of Boston.

Jessica's expert tip: Reservations are not accepted and seating is limited. Arrive early or plan to wait. If you do wait, the North End location makes it an enjoyable.

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North End mainstay, Mamma Maria is known to be a romantic go to among Boston locals. Starting with the walk along the cobblestone streets, your entry into Mamma Maria has you longing for love. The interior is decorated with crisp linens and the knowledgable waitstaff do not rush diners. The food is fantastic! The lack of over sauced plates keeps the crisp white linens pristine and your desire for authentic Italian cuisine satisfied. Indulge in the rich Osso Bucco- classically prepared and served with a saffron risotto Milanese that almost overshadows the meat or enjoy one of their savory home made, and slightly different pasta dishes like the truly special Bolognese- prepared as it is in the village of Serralunga di Crea with spicy artisanal pepperoncini pasta.

Recommended for Best of Boston's North End because: Mamma Maria serves upscale Italian food in a setting to match, providing diners with a sampling of Northern specialties.

Jessica's expert tip: Request a half order of pasta as an appetizer, and indulge in the Osso Bucco as your entree.

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Meet Jessica Polizzotti

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. 

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