NFT Boston North End / Faneuil Hall

North End / Faneuil Hall

Essentials
Boston's version of Little Italy, the North End is a maze of narrow streets and brick buildings with a decidedly European air. With the Rose Kennedy Greenway fully finished, the connection from the North End is once again green, only this time it's grass instead of steel.

Sundries/Entertainment
While Boston is slowly becoming much more respected in culinary circles, the North End has been always been legit. Good luck finding a bad meal. By night, young professionals reemerge from Faneuil Hall and hit the clubs -- hard. Night owls stop by Modern Pastry for the best cannoli in the city.

Transportation
Take the T. Just take the T. Honestly. If you're one of those people who can afford to valet, or doesn't mind parking at one of the garages along Atlantic, so be it. Most of the charm of the North End involves walking around and eating and looking for parking for 45 minutes tends to kill the mood, and the planet.See more.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Spectacular Views of Boston

By Emily Doutre
"From Bunker Hill to the Blue Hills, from the Charles River to Charlestown, there are a number of spots to catch spectacular views of the city as a whole, both inside and out of Boston proper.  So kick back and enjoy the views."
Read More...
Nightlife After College

By Katherine Hayes
Just because you graduate doesn't mean you have to stop having fun! RIGHT GUYS!!? Take it from Katherine Hayes and never be lonely (for post-collegiate revelry) again.

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Beautiful Boston & The Pizza Within

By Emily Doutre
Pizza: It's not just for Italians anymore. Thin crust, garlic-stuffed, charred, magic or imported from California (the tomatoes, that is), Emily Doutre's tried them all and now she's reporting. Deal with it.

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Where To Go When You Really Have To Go

By Julie Salickram
Ah, to be human. Julie Salickram eases the woe of living. Read and weep.

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Massimino's Cucina Italiana
As the hordes of tourists and first dates swamp the North End over the weekend, few of them venture more than a few steps away from Hanover or Salem Streets. This a huge mistake since there are many gems within just a few blocks of the heart of the North End. One of the best of them is Massimino's Cucina Italiana. Don't get me wrong; this place is not unknown so you should still make a reservation if you are going to go there on a weekend. However, if you do have to wait, they have a great bar downstairs where you can pass the time. Besides serving straight up delicious Italian food for dinner, they also have a lunch menu that shouldn’t be missed since most of the prices fall under $10.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Trattoria Il Panino
In a sea of Italian restaurants Il Panino is a pearl. Across the street from its express brother, Il Panino is moderately priced but wholly divine. Because everything is so fresh and tasty, I suggest going splitsies on some plates and getting a real sampling. The tortelli panna e prosciutto is creamy and like a taste bud explosion in your mouth. However, a whole plate of this is very, very rich. The lasagna and gnocchi are good but my favorite is by far the pappardelle al ragu, which is a braised meat tomato sauce. Sit outside though if the weather is nice because the upstairs is covered in pictures of who I am guessing is the owner and all the "stars" who have eaten there, which is in a word, tacky, as it takes away from the personality of the decor but don't let that stop you or your taste buds will never forgive you.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Ernesto's
The first time I went to Ernesto's was shortly after I moved to Boston when a friend and I decided to spend the day riding our old Vespas around town. It was a fun day of riding, especially since neither of our scooters broke down, but the best part was stopping at Ernesto's for lunch. We ordered 2 slices each and were in a state of shock when we were given four giant slices, totaling half a pie. For some reason at Ernesto's, one slice equals two. These slices aren't personal pan sized either: they are huge. Also, the variety of toppings is great. Slices range from the basic cheese ($3.50) to the Chicken Rancho (chicken, ranch dressing, bacon, fresh tomatoes, onions & cheese; $4.50).



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Christopher Columbus Park
Christopher Columbus Park is in a great location. It is close to Faneuil Hall, the North End and right on the water. It's not that a lot of people don't know it's there; you can see people strolling through the arborway, little kids romping on the playground or even a bride taking some photos but it is still overlooked. In a prime real estate spot where to enjoy the harbor view you can easily cough up big bucks, a gem like this park is priceless. Grab a cappuccino and a cannoli and go sit and enjoy the park and the harbor view on a bench or spread out on a blanket with a book and feel part of the neighborhood.



Posted By:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch
Photo:  Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

Caffe Vittoria
Vittoria! If you were named Victoria, I wouldn't find you quite so fine. As I hazily recall, Vittoria, you were a place of many coffee drinks, in addition to a liqueur only a sticky sweet alcoholic could love: Limoncello. Vittoria: In my memories, you were perhaps paned with dark mahogany, your spirit smoky; your patrons refined. You may or may not have been somewhere near Paul Revere's House, or something about a dig. When I was 9 or 10, I reckoned you the shit/cat's pajamas/gold-plated/very mysterious. Were I to see you now, with these jaded eyes, who knows? Would I find you touristy, overpriced, grandiose, stupid, lame and worthy of nothing but ceaseless mockery? We may never know. But as it remains, I find you admirable--Vittoria, fantastical Italianate coffee shop--for this is a Radar written only from memory.



Posted By:  Patrick Hellen
Photo:  Patrick Hellen

Billy Tse
The North End is typically not the place to go looking for raw fish, sake and noodles, but damn if Billy Tse's isn't a hidden gem of a sushi place, tucked away in the Sopranos' hood. Located across the street from the Sail Loft (sort of), it's not impressive on the outside, but stroll in and you're in the pretty typical Chinese food joint. The secret gold is around the corner in the large bar, where you can order up the two things everyone should be going to them poly-Asian restaurants for: Amazingly strong drinks, and large amounts of sushi. I highly recommend the Mai Tai, as it can be easily used to clean the connections on your car battery. More than two and you’ll need a wheelbarrow to get out the door. As for the sushi, it's actually pretty decent. Granted, this is not the high end place where you’ll drop 200 dollars on blowfish maki, but they put a damn good spicy tuna roll together. Need a good night? Hit the Sail Loft for a few rounds of brews, and then cap it off with a pound of sashimi and a gallon of rum. Bada Bing, Non-tourist San.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Caffe Paradiso
The nice thing about the North End is that when you want a cup of coffee (or one of those fancier coffee type drinks), there are tons of options, and not one of them is Starbucks. One of my favorite places to get an espresso or cappuccino is Caffe Paradiso. Unlike many of the other coffee and pastry shops on Hanover Street, this one seems to be least frequented by mobs of tourists. With great coffee drinks, a full liquor license, delicious pastries, huge front windows that are open during the warm days, and a handful of patrons speaking either in Italian or English with a thick Italian accent, Caffe Paradiso is the perfect stop to get that North End experience. Oh yeah, if you are a Football fan/hooligan (not the American type), this is an ideal spot to watch some matches.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
If you abhor violence, don't come here. This museum pays homage to military campaigns and displays artifacts from such. The company was given a charter in 1638 and is the oldest chartered military org in the western hemisphere. The company trained officers for militia duties. You can peer at a saddle belonging to Gen. Beauregard, the general in Charleston in April, 1861. The hat was "captured" at Nassau by the Union Navy from a blockade runner and sold to the government. Bricks from important old buildings, such as the Old Engine House where John Brown was captured, are on display. There is wood from the hull of "Old Ironsides." A cocktail shaker made from a World War I shell is a new low in bad taste. There are machine guns from that war too. The most interesting item could be a nightshirt of LT George Hall. His wife sewed it to record his promotion on his promo tour. Other company members made it a fad, and they were known as the "Nightshirt Brigade." When I was taking notes on it, a curmudgeonly old man pulled a CSI on me. "We just never had anyone spend too much time on that before," he said.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Faneuil Hall
If you filled your bags with candy Boston baked beans in little bean pots, lobster lollipops, and "Pahk the Cah in Hahvahd Yahd" t-shirts, you'll be put to shame here. This cool shop (Stall 13 in Faneuil Hall Square) has authentic Boston souvenirs (for the most part). It bills itself as "a taste of New England on Boston's Freedom Trail." I remember a pewter shop in the Quincy market as a kid, and that was one of my lasting impressions of Boston. It's gone, but this place has pewter: Sons of Liberty bowls like the priceless work of history Paul Revere crafted, tankards, candle snuffers, and a little honey pot shaped like a hive. New times invade on the colonies in the way of Star Wars pewter characters, dragons, and a skeleton riding a motorcycle. There are Nantucket baskets, though plastic doubles for ivory. However, real ivory is for the asking. Scrimshaw—and what's New England without scrimshaw– is carved ivory. It was a craft of old whalemen in their idle hours. The real stuff is here because it is old ivory, so don't call the EPA on them. Check out the ancient fossilized walrus and mastadon tusks for sale. The pierced tin Colonial lanterns lend to the Old Boston theme. There are walking sticks, and weathervanes. Who sells weathervanes any more?!



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Artu
In most cases, I find the North End to be one of Boston’s biggest rip offs. For dinner, the prices are high and the food not worth it. However, for lunch during the weekday the North End is an entirely different place as quite a few of the restaurants have reasonably priced menus. One of my favorite lunch stops is Artu. For around $9, you can get a panini with fancy-restaurant-style ingredients, and, for a bit more, you can order a pasta. If you like afternoon alcohol, try one of their infused vodkas or get a glass of wine. While the wine isn’t cheap, they aren’t skimpy when pouring a glass. So, next time you call in sick from work, you know what to do with your day.



Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

Taranta
It’s about time some brave restaurateur fused the obvious doppelgangers of Peruvian and Italian cooking! What do you mean you don’t see the resemblance? Trust me: One dinner at Taranta in the North End, and you’ll wonder how these two cuisines have existed autonomously for so long. By fusing classic Italian ingredients like fresh pasta, tomatoes, red peppers, pancetta, and evoo with (relatively) underappreciated Peruvian elements like yucca, pallares, rice, beans, chicha de jora, and algarrobina, Owner José Duarte has thrown local foodies a bone by adding this captivating twist to fine dining in the North End. And you sure as hell won’t find dishes like this anywhere else in Boston. But what makes the whole experience even better is that Taranta is one of less than two dozen green certified restaurants in the Boston area, meaning that all the food is sustainable and all the inner workings of the restaurant are environmentally friendly (so you can feel a little better about those $25-$30 entrees). If you’re ready for something new, head to Taranta. And make sure to wash down your vittles with a potent glass of pisco and some guavanollis.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

The Connah Store
Let’s face it, you can’t get more Bostononian than to call yourself The Connah Store and drop the “r.” While it is an arguably corny title, what is inarguable is the fact that this little store has everything you need. If you live in the North End, you know that the lack of grocery stores can be inconveniencing when you don’t have time to run to the little gourmet shop that sells homemade bread and sausages. This tiny shop is packed with all essentials—from gum to ice cream to cigars. What is so good about it is that it really feels like a neighborhood store. You’ll just have to decide if you want to monetarily support a store that sells “France Sucks” t-shirts in the window. I have failed to take the moral high ground and won’t judge you if sneak in to buy milk.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Caffe Vittoria
It’s the 21st century, we all know smoking is bad for us and still there are places like Stanza de Cigari. Why? Because it’s fun to pick a cigar, get a cocktail and sit back and relax with friends. Give in to the devil, why don’t you? Not into cigars? Well then, share a hookah. But Stanza de Cigari has one drawback. Just in case you thought it was a magical vice utopia sans the sex, there are no cappuccinos served here! You can bring one in from the other part of the café but who really wants to bother. Still, it’s amazing that you can breathe easy. They have some kind of complex futuristic ventilation system that sucks up all the smoke and makes a breathable atmosphere. It was probably installed with alien technology so no one could find out the secrets of a virtually smoke-free smoking lounge.



Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Gigi's Gelateria
There is a famous gelateria called San Crispino’s on the Via della Pannetteria near the Trevi Fountain in Rome that Romans are satisfied to make the centerpiece of their evening out. Luckily, the North End’s Gigi Gelateria can fill the void of a homesick Roman any day of the week. It’s the brainchild of restaurateur Frank de Pasquale (Umbria, Bricco), who lured two master gelato maestros from the old country to turn out tubs of the delicious concoction in his basement here. But this is no boiler room operation, they churn out fifty flavors of sweet artistry. And dieters can relax, while ice cream has 16% butterfat, gelato here has only 2.5%, and Gigi uses no cream at all–only milk. The mix is churned more slowly for a denser product and is served at a slightly higher temperature for a softer texture. Zabaione, a custard flavor that reminds you of eggnog, is superb, Pannacotta is the Italian Crème Brule, and Cassata Siciliana is ricotta, fruit bits, and chocolate chips. But my money’s on the melon. Bursting with cantaloupe flavor that’s somehow stronger than the actual fruit, one taste could certainly keep a Roman in Boston.



Posted By:  Leah Bagas
Photo:  Leah Bagas

Salumeria Toscana
My biggest pet peeve is when people make ice cream and call it gelato. If I wanted an ice cream I wouldn’t go to a gelateria. That being said, the Gigi Gelateria is the best gelato I have had outside of Italy. And should you choose to ignore this blurb and not go, well, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Even though he isn’t the proprietor, this place is named after Giovanni Giliotta who they call “Maestro di Gelati.” Chances are if you have a man who is a gelato master (do they even have culinary schools for this?) then the gelato must be magnifico. If I could dedicate my life to gelato it would taste like this too. Best flavors to try: melon, amaretto, and green apple. It may be Fall but the weather is still good enough for frozen treats, so hurry up and go try a flavor you can’t find in the grocery store!



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Tucked around the corner, at the far end of Hanover Street, All Saints Way is an education in devotion, collection, and community. If you’re lucky, you’ll wander by when the wooden gate is open and Peter Baldassari is home. He’ll make some small talk with you, maybe interrupting to catch up on gossip with the neighbors and ask your birthday. I found out my saint is Conrad of Trier and although each time I visit Peter can’t quite recall other tidbits of my life, he can always remember my saint. It might take a few moments for him to locate one of his paper collages on your particular saint, but unless you were born on February 29th, I’m sure he’ll find it. Folksy, whimsical, and a bit odd, sure, but this is what is beautiful about the North End, real neighborhoods and finally, honest neighbors.



Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Salem Street True Value
I’d not be one to normally make a big deal out of a “chain” store, and a hardware store at that. But True Value seems to give a lot more leeway than your modern branded franchise. The folks over in Brookline’s TV sell old radios and Edison canisters, and the folks here in the North End sell you pasta machines and pickle crocks. It’s a bit like crawling through Alice’s rabbit hole once you’ve got through the front door. How did they pack so much stuff into this space? It’s first and foremost, the North End’s one-stop shop. What that means is there are plenty of interesting kitchen gadgets and odds and ends for Italian feast preparation. Besides interesting imports, there’s a bit of stationary for sending love letters and flowerpots.



Posted By:  Joy Mazzola
Photo:  Joy Mazzola

I’m leaving Boston. Not b/c it did anything bad to me, and nothing at all to do with this particular restaurant. Quite the opposite, actually. My going away party was held there, and had I known their seafood antipasto and patagena cake (not sure of the spelling there) existed prior to my decision to skip town, I would have thought twice. Everything on Abruzzo’s pre-fixed menu (Victor, the owner, insisted on picking it all out for us) was divine, actually, from the smooth Italian cabernet to the pasta sauce that tasted like my grandmother’s. Throw that together with the kitschy décor (we’re talking mirrors, murals, stone lions and framed photos of Bush the first) and you got yourself a party. I don’t know if the relative emptiness of the place had to do with the fact that St. Anthony’s feast was taking place outside the door; however, the non-crowdedness was most welcome, especially with our large party. There was also an event apparently taking place in the next room, making me think that Abruzzo would be a most fabulous alternative to the local VFW for your next fundraiser or 50th anniversary party.



Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

I’m not much of a sandwich person (unless it is a cubano), so it is very rare that I would recommend a sandwich place, especially one that is usually packed with tourists. You can’t miss Il Panino Express since it is located right at a busy intersection on Hanover Street. On days when I find myself in the North End and Umberto Galleria is not open (which happens quite frequently), I end up fighting off the tourists in line at Il Panino Express to get their mozzarella and basil sandwich or their Lobster Ravioli. While there, sandwiches are not the best I have ever had, they are a great deal for the price, and their ingredients are always fresh. Similarly, I have had better Lobster Ravioli, but this one cannot be beat for the price. And, don’t be tempted to get their pizza or calzones since you can easily find better on the same block.



Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  none

Ok, so my amazing view wasn’t so amazing due to the uncooperative weather. But trust me—it is a classic Boston rooftop view. It’s just like the view you’d have if you had a penthouse apartment in the North End. And that’s the beauty of the A Cappella Suites. More like an apartment than a hotel, this place is the perfect place to stay for the weekend. I grew up right outside of Boston and had always dreamed of living in the North End. But now that condos cost a million bucks, there’s no way that’s going to happen—especially on an NFT salary. However, a night a La Cappella Suites is definitely affordable. Once you settle into your room, you can start wandering around the waterfront and the European-like streets. You can grab dinner at Monica’s or Mamma Maria and some coffee and grappa at Caffe Vittoria. And there’s no need to worry about getting back to your car or grabbing the last T. But the best thing about staying over night? Visiting Bova’s Bakery for a piece of chocolate cake at 3:30 am. Just because you can.




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Nightlife (12)
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