Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood is often referred to as Little Italy, with more than 80 deliciously authentic restaurants, cafes, shops and bakeries lining the charming cobblestone streets. Below, check out nostro cinque preferiti (our top five favorites).
Giacomo Ristorante – A cozy (read: tiny), cash-only spot known for their indulgent seafood specials, enormous portions and colorfully aloof staff, Giacomo’s tends to have a long line, and with good reason — the food is fantastic. If your stomach is rumbling and you’re not in the mood to queue up for Clams Vongole, you’re in luck, because Giacomo’s offers delivery and take-out options for their delectable dishes.
Strega – An upscale Italian steakhouse with a hip and flashy vibe, Strega combines an extensive and hearty Italian-American menu with an equally extensive wine and cocktail list, and pairs them with a cheekily Italian-American atmosphere, with movies like “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” playing on big screens adorning the walls. The dishes are gorgeously presented, comforting and flavorful, and you must save room for their famous desserts.
The Daily Catch – Serving Sicilian-style seafood and pasta directly out of rustic frying pans for over 45 years, The Daily Catch and owner, North End-native, Paul Freddura, certainly know how to cook up delicate shellfish and other treasures of the sea — Paul learned his trade from the “old timer” fishermen on the Boston docks, and you can taste his reverence for both the craft and the seafood in thoughtful dishes like Grilled Octopus (perfectly tender) and Black Pasta (colored with squid ink) Aglio Olio.
Lucca – For a romantic North End date night, with three mind-blowing courses of authentic Italian fare, Lucca is most definitely the place to bring your amore — you’ll definitely want to share a moment over a plate of their incredible Bolognese, as it’s arguably the best in the city — savory, meaty and memorable. The wine list is impressive with a number of proprietary blends, and the knowledgeable waitstaff can always suggest the perfect pairing for your pasta.
Limoncello – Limoncello’s owner, Maurizio Badolato, hails from sunny Calabria, Italy, and his marvelously authentic restaurant uses many of his beloved late mama’s recipes. When you come to Limoncello, expect comforting, no-frills Southern Italian staples like your Nonna used to make — huge, saucy Meatballs with homemade Spaghetti, crispy, irresistible Cannoli, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, as homey and inviting as the food.