North End Boston is being distinguished as the city’s oldest community, where the North Square vicinity is known as Little Italy.  This area is now brimming with plenty of Italian restaurants, cafés, wine bars, pubs, and a few wine shops.  A leisurely stroll through the streets enables visitors to appreciate how modern establishments are harmoniously blended in with old world charm.  In my opinion, this is a must-see neighborhood if you are traveling to Boston.

We were in the area on a Saturday evening.  As we did not have any dinner reservation, our plan was to walk in on any restaurant that looked appealing.  Little did we expect that the majority of the restaurants were already fully booked, and in some cases the wait could be up to a few hours!  After this experience, I’ve learned that being lazy certainly did not pay off.  I should have spent more time to research, pick out a place that I like and reserve in advance to avoid disappointment.

************************************************

A building with gorgeous architecture.  One can get a sense on how busy the area is by looking at the crowd that gathered on the pub’s outdoor patio.

***************************************************

Random eye-catching patisserie & coffee bar that caught my attention.

***************************************************

The Wine Bottega is a specialty wine shop that advertises a passion for wine, and that their employees sample hundreds of wines per year.  I had high expectations going in, but was a bit disappointed when a wine shop in Little Italy did not even carry one Franciacorta nor a Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione.  However, wine prices were relatively cheaper in comparison to NYC (depending on the shop I guess); and I thoroughly enjoyed the Sangiovese bought ($25) for immediate consumption.

***************************************************

Even if no one had told you in advance, for sure Mike’s Pastry is a shop that is hard to overlook.  Although there is practically always a line-up, it was not a very long wait for me to buy one of their many flavored cannoli, which is an Italian pastry dessert, consisted of a fried pastry dough with creamy ricotta cheese filling.  Mike’s Pastry does not have a sit-down area, so people were holding boxes of cannoli on the street.  Just to satisfy my curious tourist heart, I bought one.  Would I highly recommend it?  Not really……

***************************************************

I asked for a restaurant recommendation while I was at The Wine Bottega, and was suggested to try Trattoria di Monica.  But since we had no reservation, we could not get in.  After walking around for 15 minutes, we settled down at Rabia’s since it was not fully booked like most others were.  I guess I should have clued in that the restaurant would not be too authentic when it was a hybrid of a seafood restaurant and an Italian restaurant.  It even has two separate menus, one seafood one Italian!  I ordered a seafood pasta and the server confirmed specifically that it was hand-made pasta.  After a bite we knew it had to be made from dry pasta.  When I asked again, another server told me “yes, it is hand-made but it was not home-made”.  Ridiculous excuse, so we were stuck with eating pre-packaged dry pasta.  Thank god the dishes were not overly salty.  My favorite was the mushroom risotto.

***************************************************

That was the end to our fun-filled day at North End Boston!

Advertisements