The North End of Boston is a true delight. I encourage you to devote a few hours to this Italian neighborhood to discover all it has to offer.
If I may, the North End is more authentically ‘Italian’ than any other similar area in other cities. It has the shoppes, restaurants, winding streets, and most importantly the people to make it authentically Italian.
As we spent a few hours going in and out of numerous shoppes, I took a moment to ask for recommendations. When you are in a new city, it is always wise to acknowledge that no matter how many guidebooks you have read, the residents know more than you do.
A lovely saleswoman at a small wine shop directed us to an exciting ‘bar’ (bar in the Italian sense: coffee, wine, and liquor), Cafe Paradiso to wait for our restaurant to open (more on that later). The bar was lined with the flags of prominent soccer (futbol) countries. The store front was completely open allowing for perfect people watching.
Finally, we finished our drinks (I ordered the Ferrari Martini: Vodka, Grand Marnier, & a splash of cranberry) and headed to our final destination: Giacomo’s.
Giacomo has been featured in numerous publications, so it is not a ‘hidden gem’ by any means. It is, however, popular with locals and visitors, alike, so we just had to stop in.
If you want to pay Giacomo’s a visit, be sure to show up at 5:00 pm (when it opens) or be prepared to wait. The line grows fast and long. We arrived at 5:15 and had 10 people in front of us.
The restaurant is packed with patrons. All of the specials and regular items are written on chalkboards. If you’d prefer you can choose your seafood then one of 4 sauces (Giacomo, Fra Diavolo, Pesto or Scampi) and they will create it for you.
They have a perfectly suitable wine selection- bottles for $16(!!) and glasses for $4.50. A true steal.
I ordered one of the specials: 1/2 lobster, clams, and mussels Fra Diavolo over linguine for the low price of $20.00.My mom had the special as well Homemade Fusilli (all of their ‘normal pastas are not homemade) with lobster in the Giacomo sauce (a thinned lobster bisque). ($26) Both of our dishes were very tasty and filling– exactly what we were looking for.
My opinion of Giacomo’s: what you see is what you get. A bare bones spot with hearty dishes for an amazing price. It’s an experience that can’t be missed if you visit the North End.
After, we stopped by the infamous Mike’s Pastry (for the record, I voted for Modern Pastry) and picked up a couple of cannoli. Verdict? Eh… overrated in my opinion but again, a typical North End experience that makes for a memorable evening.
We ended the night with some strolling on Newbury Street and scheming for the next day.
Note: All of the following North End addresses are easily accesible from the Green Line T Stop at Haymarket.
Giacomo’s Italian Restaurant
355 Hanover St
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
255 Hanover St.
300 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113-1835
Next up: Day 3: Salem, Shopping and the Boston Ballet