18 Best Restaurants in Boston's North End – Eater Boston

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Boston loves Italian food, and there’s no better neighborhood to find the stuff than the North End. In this hub of marinara, an eater can find handmade ricotta gnocchi, pizza Margherita, arancini, veal saltimbocca, and so much more. The old Italian proverb “chi mangia bene, vive bene” (which translates roughly to “those who eat well, live well”) is a way of life for restaurants and diners in the North End.
From Hanover Street to Salem Street to North Square Park, this neighborhood boasts an incredibly high concentration of Italian-American restaurants, trattorias, delis, and bakeries. Eaters can wine and dine in style over an eight course dinner, or casually snack on pizza and cannoli while sightseeing. With seemingly endless options, the only hard part is deciding where to eat.
Without further ado, here are 18 of the best places to eat in the North End.
Please note that a number of Massachusetts restaurants have resumed dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in the area, please visit the Massachusetts coronavirus website.
Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. At the moment, restaurants in Massachusetts must place all tables six feet apart. All that said, there are still risks involved with outdoor dining. Masks still have to come off for eating and drinking; small outdoor tables and patios often don’t allow for proper social distancing, especially while meeting with friends or family from another household; and if alcohol is involved, people tend to let their guards down. And while most restaurants in Boston were allowed to resume outdoor dining on March 22, restaurants in the North End must wait until April 1.

Relative to some of its neighbors, Table Boston is new on the North End scene, but it has immediately become a destination. Dinner is served family-style over eight courses (including seared octopus, Roman-style artichokes, and zeppole for dessert), Wednesday through Saturday. There’s also a six course Sunday supper, which makes you feel as if you’re at an Italian nonna’s kitchen table. The Sunday supper features dishes like ricotta gnocchi and meatballs, and is always capped off with a hit of limoncello.

After dinner, don’t forget to step over to Table Mercato, where guests can shop a wide selection of homemade and imported goodies to take home.

Table Boston is open Wednesday through Sunday for indoor dining (reserve here), and for takeout at Table Mercato.
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Regina has been dishing out some of the city’s best pizzas for almost a century. Original owner Luigi D’Auria brought the flavors of Naples to Boston when he opened Regina in 1926. (D’Auria eventually sold Regina to the Polcari family in 1946.) Regina’s pies are cooked in the same oven that they were all those years ago — it was coal-fired then, and is gas-fired now — and are known for having a charred outer crust, and dough that ferments for up to six days. There are multiple locations around greater Boston, but the best way to experience Regina is sitting at its booths (or its bar) in the North End, which you should definitely do once it is safe to do so.

Regina Pizzeria is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
A post shared by Regina Pizzeria (@reginapizzeria)
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Parziale’s Bakery is the oldest operating bakery in the North End. In 1907, an immigrant couple — now called grandpa Joe and grandma Anna — opened the bakery, which claims to have introduced pizza to New England. Apocryphal tales notwithstanding, not much has changed in the 114 years since the bakery first opened. Hidden away on Prince Street (made famous by the Prince spaghetti commercial), it’s easiest to detect Parziale’s — which constantly smells of freshly baked bread — with one’s nose.

Pizza aficionados know that a pizza is only as good as the oven it’s baked in. Parziale’s oven has over 100 years of experience, a characteristic that is impossible to replicate. Slices are cut out from a rectangular baking sheet, where the corner pieces are prized for their crispy, chewy cheese that caramelizes over the crust. A true gem of the neighborhood, this bakery provides some of Boston’s most beloved restaurants with baked goods and bread. The price of a slice at Parziale’s is just $1.90.

Parziale’s Bakery is open for takeout.
A post shared by Poor Young Gentleman (@pooryoungentleman)
That feeling when it’s 2 a.m. and you want pizza, cannoli, calzones, and arancini. Not to worry: Bova’s Bakery is open. Since 1926, Bova’s has been the go-to spot of the neighborhood, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bova’s selection is a smorgasbord of Italian food — there’s biscotti, cuccidati (Sicilian fig cookies), calzones, pizza, sandwiches, champagne cookies, and an overwhelming selection of other baked goods.

The must-order, however, is Bova’s Florentine cannoli: a thin, Florentine-style cookie is shaped into a cylinder, and pumped full of sweet ricotta cream. The crown for the best cannoli in the North End is up for debate, but Bova’s is in the conversation.

Bova’s Bakery is open for takeout.
A post shared by Syd The Kid (@sydthekideats)
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The name of this southern Italian-inspired restaurant translates to “well-cooked.” With origins in Sicily, Bencotto’s menu centers around Mediterranean-style seafood dishes with some inspiration from Italian-American cuisine.

If pizza is more your thing, Bencotto serves it up two ways: grilled, with a crispy crust and a bit of char, and Neapolitan-style, with a fluffy crust that is yeasty and slightly charred. Sample a few of its small plates, like the shrimp Grand Marnier, asparagus frittata, and pumpkin ravioli with crispy pancetta in brown butter sage sauce.

Bencotto is open daily for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Prezza is named for the Italian town where chef Anthony Caturano’s grandmother was born. This is a white tablecloth sorta spot, with white tablecloth sorta prices, and a vast menu that includes classics like veal saltimbocca and mushroom risotto.

Prezza is currently open for indoor dining (reserve here), as well as takeout and delivery.
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“It’s like being at Nonna’s” is printed on the menus at La Famiglia Giorgio’s. What sets La Famiglia Giorgio’s apart is the quality of its fresh pasta. Everything is good here, but “Little Al’s Favorite,” which consists of chicken cutlet, broccoli, and gnocchi tossed in a pink vodka sauce, is compulsory. And classics like chicken and eggplant parmesan are among the best versions in the city. La Famiglia Giorgio’s wine list is vast, with more than 400 bottles to choose from.

La Famiglia Giorgio is open for indoor dining and takeout. It also sells pantry items like pasta, bread, and other prepared foods to-go.
A post shared by La Famiglia Giorgio’s (@lafamgiorgio)
The classic green and white striped awning hanging in front of L’Osteria is iconic. Expect white tablecloths, house wine served in carafes, and a seemingly endless menu at this North End classic. Try the tortellini con panna— a cheesy, creamy bowl of fresh tortellini filled with aged parmesan, and finished with simultaneously sweet and savory panna (or, Italian whipping cream).

L’Osteria is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
A post shared by L’Osteria (@losterianorthend)
When it comes to Boston’s best cannoli, everyone has an opinion. Some say Modern (see below), but others — like, many, many others — swear by Mike’s. Whichever you prefer, you can’t really go wrong. Fair warning: you will absolutely have to wait in line at Mike’s.

Mike’s is open for takeout, delivery, and nationwide shipping.
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The name says it all. There’s good pasta, and there’s good seafood, and then there’s the Daily Catch. The Daily Catch was originally opened by North End local Paul Freddura, who initially named this hole in the wall on Hanover Street the Calamari Café (apt, given that its calamari is perhaps the best in the city). Squid still plays a big part at the Daily Catch, especially in the dishes served with squid ink pasta. The black linguine carries with it the slightly briny, umami taste of the sea, and goes great in puttanesca or aglio olio. For more than 45 years, the seafood at the Daily Catch has been sourced locally from fishmongers at the Boston Fish Pier, which is less than a mile away.

The Daily Catch is open for indoor dining and takeout. Check its website for information about its other locations.
A post shared by Sicilian Seafood & Pasta 1973 (@thedailycatch)
After you’ve feasted at your favorite trattoria or walked up and down Hanover Street browsing pastry-filled windows, you’ll want to step into Caffe Vittoria for a cappuccino. Decorated with vintage espresso machines, celebrity photos, and memorabilia from the Belpaese, Caffe Vittoria has been serving coffee and pastries since 1929. There’s an unwritten rule in Italy that mandates cappuccino should not be ordered in the afternoon — but this isn’t Italy. Enjoy a cappuccino and tiramisù. For those who want something a little boozy, the rum cake is a a good choice. Caffe Vittoria is also one of the only spots in the city doing affogato: hot espresso poured over cold gelato.

Caffe Vittoria is open for indoor dining and takeout.
A post shared by @caffevittoria
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Carmelina’s has massive windows that open directly to Hanover street, and a beautiful open kitchen. Its Sunday macaroni is served everyday, and comes with meatballs, sausage, and beef rib in a tomato sauce, and is finished with a dollop of whipped ricotta. It is the star of the show.

Carmelina’s is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
A post shared by New England Based Foodie (@bostonfoodiegal)
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Tip: Get to Galleria Umberto on the earlier side, because once it sells out of its Sicilian-style square slices and fist-sized arancini, the doors shut for the day. This is some of the best pizza in the city, or anywhere.

Galleria Umberto is open for indoor dining and takeout, Monday through Saturday from 10:45 a.m. until it runs out of food.
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Ernesto’s is the best slice shop in Boston, and the slices are massive — they consist of a quarter of a pizza. The Margherita is the go-to, but the spinach and garlic is a close second. And don’t miss the eggplant ricotta special, which is topped with thinly-sliced and gently fried eggplant, and dollops of seasoned ricotta.

Ernesto’s is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery. It has a second location at Assembly Row in Somerville.
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Modern is hard to miss, with its neon sign and brightly lit windows showing off cannoli, cakes, and other sweet treats. The cannoli at Modern are piped with ricotta filling fresh to order. Modern is also home to the city’s best lobster tail, which is a take on sfogliatella, perhaps the most famous dessert from Naples. Pair your baked goods with a cappuccino, and take some tiramisu and/or amaretto cake for the road.

Modern is open for takeout.
A post shared by Modern Pastry (@modernpastry)
It’s hard to write anything about Neptune that hasn’t already been written. There’s going to be a line, you’re going to have to wait in that line, but after you wait in that line, you’re going to have one of the best meals you can possibly have in Boston. And yes, the lobster roll is that good.

Neptune is open for indoor dining and takeout.
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The bread at Bricco Panetteria is the main draw, but the restaurant does excellent contemporary Italian cuisine, and the salumeria has great prepared foods — and the city’s best panino.

Bricco is open for indoor dining and takeout.
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Mare is the Italian word for sea, and restaurateur Frank DePasquale brings the briny flavors of Italy to Boston at this chic oyster bar. The outdoor patio features a retractable roof for those hotter summer months, as well as fire pits that set the ideal ambiance for a date night. As the name might suggest, the oysters at Mare are top notch. Get a dozen before trying the crudo, which is served with yellowfin tuna, salmon, kampachi, and a seaweed salad with a soy ginger dressing. Grappa and bourbon lovers will appreciate Mare’s extensive selection of nightcaps.

Mare Oyster Bar is open daily for indoor dining and takeout.
A post shared by Mare Oyster Bar (@mareoysterbar)
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Relative to some of its neighbors, Table Boston is new on the North End scene, but it has immediately become a destination. Dinner is served family-style over eight courses (including seared octopus, Roman-style artichokes, and zeppole for dessert), Wednesday through Saturday. There’s also a six course Sunday supper, which makes you feel as if you’re at an Italian nonna’s kitchen table. The Sunday supper features dishes like ricotta gnocchi and meatballs, and is always capped off with a hit of limoncello.

After dinner, don’t forget to step over to Table Mercato, where guests can shop a wide selection of homemade and imported goodies to take home.

Table Boston is open Wednesday through Sunday for indoor dining (reserve here), and for takeout at Table Mercato.
Regina has been dishing out some of the city’s best pizzas for almost a century. Original owner Luigi D’Auria brought the flavors of Naples to Boston when he opened Regina in 1926. (D’Auria eventually sold Regina to the Polcari family in 1946.) Regina’s pies are cooked in the same oven that they were all those years ago — it was coal-fired then, and is gas-fired now — and are known for having a charred outer crust, and dough that ferments for up to six days. There are multiple locations around greater Boston, but the best way to experience Regina is sitting at its booths (or its bar) in the North End, which you should definitely do once it is safe to do so.

Regina Pizzeria is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Parziale’s Bakery is the oldest operating bakery in the North End. In 1907, an immigrant couple — now called grandpa Joe and grandma Anna — opened the bakery, which claims to have introduced pizza to New England. Apocryphal tales notwithstanding, not much has changed in the 114 years since the bakery first opened. Hidden away on Prince Street (made famous by the Prince spaghetti commercial), it’s easiest to detect Parziale’s — which constantly smells of freshly baked bread — with one’s nose.

Pizza aficionados know that a pizza is only as good as the oven it’s baked in. Parziale’s oven has over 100 years of experience, a characteristic that is impossible to replicate. Slices are cut out from a rectangular baking sheet, where the corner pieces are prized for their crispy, chewy cheese that caramelizes over the crust. A true gem of the neighborhood, this bakery provides some of Boston’s most beloved restaurants with baked goods and bread. The price of a slice at Parziale’s is just $1.90.

Parziale’s Bakery is open for takeout.
That feeling when it’s 2 a.m. and you want pizza, cannoli, calzones, and arancini. Not to worry: Bova’s Bakery is open. Since 1926, Bova’s has been the go-to spot of the neighborhood, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bova’s selection is a smorgasbord of Italian food — there’s biscotti, cuccidati (Sicilian fig cookies), calzones, pizza, sandwiches, champagne cookies, and an overwhelming selection of other baked goods.

The must-order, however, is Bova’s Florentine cannoli: a thin, Florentine-style cookie is shaped into a cylinder, and pumped full of sweet ricotta cream. The crown for the best cannoli in the North End is up for debate, but Bova’s is in the conversation.

Bova’s Bakery is open for takeout.
The name of this southern Italian-inspired restaurant translates to “well-cooked.” With origins in Sicily, Bencotto’s menu centers around Mediterranean-style seafood dishes with some inspiration from Italian-American cuisine.

If pizza is more your thing, Bencotto serves it up two ways: grilled, with a crispy crust and a bit of char, and Neapolitan-style, with a fluffy crust that is yeasty and slightly charred. Sample a few of its small plates, like the shrimp Grand Marnier, asparagus frittata, and pumpkin ravioli with crispy pancetta in brown butter sage sauce.

Bencotto is open daily for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Prezza is named for the Italian town where chef Anthony Caturano’s grandmother was born. This is a white tablecloth sorta spot, with white tablecloth sorta prices, and a vast menu that includes classics like veal saltimbocca and mushroom risotto.

Prezza is currently open for indoor dining (reserve here), as well as takeout and delivery.
“It’s like being at Nonna’s” is printed on the menus at La Famiglia Giorgio’s. What sets La Famiglia Giorgio’s apart is the quality of its fresh pasta. Everything is good here, but “Little Al’s Favorite,” which consists of chicken cutlet, broccoli, and gnocchi tossed in a pink vodka sauce, is compulsory. And classics like chicken and eggplant parmesan are among the best versions in the city. La Famiglia Giorgio’s wine list is vast, with more than 400 bottles to choose from.

La Famiglia Giorgio is open for indoor dining and takeout. It also sells pantry items like pasta, bread, and other prepared foods to-go.
The classic green and white striped awning hanging in front of L’Osteria is iconic. Expect white tablecloths, house wine served in carafes, and a seemingly endless menu at this North End classic. Try the tortellini con panna— a cheesy, creamy bowl of fresh tortellini filled with aged parmesan, and finished with simultaneously sweet and savory panna (or, Italian whipping cream).

L’Osteria is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
When it comes to Boston’s best cannoli, everyone has an opinion. Some say Modern (see below), but others — like, many, many others — swear by Mike’s. Whichever you prefer, you can’t really go wrong. Fair warning: you will absolutely have to wait in line at Mike’s.

Mike’s is open for takeout, delivery, and nationwide shipping.
The name says it all. There’s good pasta, and there’s good seafood, and then there’s the Daily Catch. The Daily Catch was originally opened by North End local Paul Freddura, who initially named this hole in the wall on Hanover Street the Calamari Café (apt, given that its calamari is perhaps the best in the city). Squid still plays a big part at the Daily Catch, especially in the dishes served with squid ink pasta. The black linguine carries with it the slightly briny, umami taste of the sea, and goes great in puttanesca or aglio olio. For more than 45 years, the seafood at the Daily Catch has been sourced locally from fishmongers at the Boston Fish Pier, which is less than a mile away.

The Daily Catch is open for indoor dining and takeout. Check its website for information about its other locations.
After you’ve feasted at your favorite trattoria or walked up and down Hanover Street browsing pastry-filled windows, you’ll want to step into Caffe Vittoria for a cappuccino. Decorated with vintage espresso machines, celebrity photos, and memorabilia from the Belpaese, Caffe Vittoria has been serving coffee and pastries since 1929. There’s an unwritten rule in Italy that mandates cappuccino should not be ordered in the afternoon — but this isn’t Italy. Enjoy a cappuccino and tiramisù. For those who want something a little boozy, the rum cake is a a good choice. Caffe Vittoria is also one of the only spots in the city doing affogato: hot espresso poured over cold gelato.

Caffe Vittoria is open for indoor dining and takeout.
Carmelina’s has massive windows that open directly to Hanover street, and a beautiful open kitchen. Its Sunday macaroni is served everyday, and comes with meatballs, sausage, and beef rib in a tomato sauce, and is finished with a dollop of whipped ricotta. It is the star of the show.

Carmelina’s is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Tip: Get to Galleria Umberto on the earlier side, because once it sells out of its Sicilian-style square slices and fist-sized arancini, the doors shut for the day. This is some of the best pizza in the city, or anywhere.

Galleria Umberto is open for indoor dining and takeout, Monday through Saturday from 10:45 a.m. until it runs out of food.
Ernesto’s is the best slice shop in Boston, and the slices are massive — they consist of a quarter of a pizza. The Margherita is the go-to, but the spinach and garlic is a close second. And don’t miss the eggplant ricotta special, which is topped with thinly-sliced and gently fried eggplant, and dollops of seasoned ricotta.

Ernesto’s is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery. It has a second location at Assembly Row in Somerville.
Modern is hard to miss, with its neon sign and brightly lit windows showing off cannoli, cakes, and other sweet treats. The cannoli at Modern are piped with ricotta filling fresh to order. Modern is also home to the city’s best lobster tail, which is a take on sfogliatella, perhaps the most famous dessert from Naples. Pair your baked goods with a cappuccino, and take some tiramisu and/or amaretto cake for the road.

Modern is open for takeout.
It’s hard to write anything about Neptune that hasn’t already been written. There’s going to be a line, you’re going to have to wait in that line, but after you wait in that line, you’re going to have one of the best meals you can possibly have in Boston. And yes, the lobster roll is that good.

Neptune is open for indoor dining and takeout.
The bread at Bricco Panetteria is the main draw, but the restaurant does excellent contemporary Italian cuisine, and the salumeria has great prepared foods — and the city’s best panino.

Bricco is open for indoor dining and takeout.
Mare is the Italian word for sea, and restaurateur Frank DePasquale brings the briny flavors of Italy to Boston at this chic oyster bar. The outdoor patio features a retractable roof for those hotter summer months, as well as fire pits that set the ideal ambiance for a date night. As the name might suggest, the oysters at Mare are top notch. Get a dozen before trying the crudo, which is served with yellowfin tuna, salmon, kampachi, and a seaweed salad with a soy ginger dressing. Grappa and bourbon lovers will appreciate Mare’s extensive selection of nightcaps.

Mare Oyster Bar is open daily for indoor dining and takeout.

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