The North End is one of my favorite places to go out to eat in Boston. The only problem is, whenever I go, I feel so extremely overwhelmed by all of the restaurant choices, it can take hours to decide where to eat. When I finally decide on a place, I walk in to discover a 2 hour wait. And I'm sometimes hesitant to try somewhere I've never heard of because, gasp, what if the food's not as good as I know it is somewhere else? This means I usually end up going to the same old standbys (Bella Vista and Limoncello) and have a great difficulty trying anything new.
So, I was pretty excited when my sister and her friend came to visit and had already decided we would be having dinner at Giacomo's. I'd never been, but had heard good things so I was down for it. We went to the restaurant at 7:45 on a Monday evening and there was only a 5 minute wait. However, I hear the line is usually ridiculous and reservations cannot be made. It's really tiny inside, with maybe about 8 tables and an open view of the kitchen. It's small but homey.
I've never been to a restaurant where I've had such a hard time deciding what to order. Because everything sounded SO good. I finally decided on the clams and mussels in scampi sauce and didn't regret it at all. They were extremely generous with the shellfish and the sauce was to die for. But seriously, I wanted everything. Butternut squash ravioli, pumpkin ravioli (I know. I turned down my two favorite orange foods...what is wrong with me??) I also came really close to getting fettuccini with swordfish and tuna in a pesto cream sauce. And the goat cheese filled gnocchi with mushrooms and mascarpone. Basically I need to go back to Giacomo's about 50 more times before I've tried everything I want. If you're in the mood for seafood, Giacomo's has pretty much anything you can think of and lets you choose from a variety of sauces.
The prices at Giacomo's are very reasonable, with entrees from around $12-$17 (and worth every penny). Oh, and most bottles of wine are only $16. We got a fabulous pinot noir. The host (owner?) was extremely friendly and charming. He chatted with us, laughed with us, made fun of us, and took pictures with us. He pinched my cheek when he found out I graduated from grad school and seemed to be very proud of me, asking me questions about my degree and work. This is exactly how I envision the North End to be.
I will definitely be back at Giacomo's, probably on another Monday evening when I don't have to wait. There is, however, a second location in the South End, which does take reservations. But I have a feeling it's not quite as charming as the North End version. And it just wouldn't be the same if you couldn't go to Cafe Vittoria for cannolis after dinner.
355 Hanover St.
Boston, MA 02113
Yum! That sounds delicious! I am actually thinking of taking a trip up to Boston for a weekend soon with my boyfriend (he's never been!!!) and I'm taking mental notes here.
I love Giacomo's! It's my favorite restaurant in the North End (and probably Boston). Quality, value, the staff - just amazing.
Next time you go definitely try the house sauce. I always order the Giacomo's sauce, which is incredible (and I almost always get the calamari and mussels).
Glad you enjoyed one of the best spots in the North End!
Jonathan Harriman says
What about cannolis at Mike's Pastry?!? I sincerely doubt that Cafe Vittoria can rise to the high standard set by Mike's (please Fed-Ex me a cannoli to prove me wrong). I love you girls!
This is honest to god my favourite place in the North End. I love how intimite it is and the food is beyond amazing. I'm actually taking my parents and boyfriend there tomorrow!
OOooohhhh...Giacomo's! I know I am late to the party but I stumbled across a few buzzwords (Giacomos....pumpkin ravioli) and my headspace went foggy. You must try the pumpkin ravioli AND the gnocchi with goat cheese and mushrooms. They are about as close to public excitement as you can get without being arrested. Divine!