The North End gets so much foot traffic from tourists that choosing a restaurant be a stressful endeavor. But tucked within Boston’s Little Italy is a bevy of great restaurants, some of which get overlooked by the big-hitters that get mentions in the travel guides. Here’s some of the lesser-known, but even more awesome spots to mangia Italiana in the North End.
Antico Forno: If classic pasta and pizza served by a stone-faced waitress is your thing, head to Salem Street’s legendary Antico Forno. The beloved restaurant serves gnocchi that will knock your socks off, all at a reasonable price that won’t slaughter your checkbook. If you’re looking to really trim your bill, head in for lunch with a friend and split a pizza, which go for around $12.
Pauli’s North End: For hearty sandwiches and salads on the go, head to this Salem Street shop on your lunch break. If you’re feeling really daring, tackle their controversial USS Lobstitution Roll, a 24 oz. monster known as the biggest lobster roll in New England. A friendly staff (including Pauli, who’s worked in the neighborhood since he was 8 years old) are always on deck to chat.
Galleria Umberto: It’s a no-frills attitude at this Hanover Street institution, which sells Sicilian-style pizza for under $2 a slice. We hear Johnny Depp was a fan while shooting scenes for his Whitey Bulger flick “Black Mass” in the hood. Just make sure you don’t head over too late in the afternoon, as the Galleria shuts down once they run out of pizza. And judging by their loyal fans, that’s quite often.
Mare Oyster Bar: Fresh seafood is the name of the game at this side street restaurant, which serves up scrumptious oysters and clams with an Italian twist. Classic Italian seafood dishes like linguine with clams get a seat next to fresh fillets of salmon or halibut, making you believe it’s the Feast of the Seven Fishes 365 days a year.
Modern Pastry: Everyone knows the infamous Mike’s Pastry across the street that draws a line so serious it wraps around the corner on weekends. But locals in the know look to the Modern as their spot for classic ricotta cannoli, not to mention chocolate ganache and babas. The legendary location recently expanded into much larger digs next door, allowing their pastry domination to reach even greater heights. Try a chocolate covered ricotta cannoli, which you can order by the box. You know, in case you’re interested.
If you go:
93 Salem St.
289 Hanover St.
65 Salem St.
Mare Oyster Bar:
135 Richmond St.
617 723 6273
257 Hanover St.