Boston’s North End neighborhood is a must-visit for any food lover. This historic Italian enclave is packed with old-world charm and some of the best Italian cuisine outside of Italy itself.
During my recent trip to Boston, I made sure to spend some time exploring the North End’s winding streets and sampling its delicious food.
Let me just say that Little Italy has some of the best food in Boston. Seriously! Plus, it was the cheapest we ate on the entire trip.
I’ll share my recommendations for two of my favorite spots – Mike’s Pastry and Antico Forno – as well as other locations and tips for experiencing the best of Little Italy in Boston.
Mikes Pastry for Sweet Treats
If you’re in Boston’s Little Italy, make sure to stop by Mike’s Pastry for a delectable selection of Italian pastries and famous cannoli. This legendary bakery, founded in 1946, is a must-visit spot for those with a sweet tooth.
As you walk through the doors, you’ll be greeted by the heavenly aroma of freshly baked goods. The display cases are filled with a wide variety of tempting treats, from flaky to creamy tiramisu.
But the real star of the show is their cannolis. These crispy pastry shells filled with sweet ricotta cream come in a variety of flavors, including classic vanilla, chocolate mousse, and even limoncello. The combination of the crispy shell and creamy filling is simply irresistible.
This place is Cash only and they have an ATM inside in case you need it.
We ended up at this place twice. First, for Breakfast, we got fresh pastries right out of the oven. They didn’t even hit the counter. It’s really hard to pick a favorite, but you can’t go wrong with their Lobster Tail, Chocolate Croissant, or Chocolate Scone.
They don’t have indoor dining, so when we went back later for Canelli’s, we took them over to Forino Hall’s outdoor space and sat outside on a fall night listening to Ryan LaPerle’s covers of music. He’s talented and made the night magical.
Mamma Maria For Romance
Looking for a romantic venue with locally-inspired cuisine and private dining rooms in Boston’s Little Italy? You gotta head to Mamma Maria.
This charming restaurant is located in a beautiful townhouse. The menu at Mamma Maria is filled with delicious dishes that showcase the flavors of the region. From homemade pasta to locally sourced seafood, each plate is crafted with care and attention to detail.
And if you’re looking for a more intimate setting, Mamma Maria has private dining rooms available for special occasions.
The combination of exquisite food, warm atmosphere, and impeccable service will make your experience truly unforgettable.
Rabia’s on Salem Street For Seafood
Rabia’s is a charming restaurant that combines New England’s fresh seafood tradition with Italian cuisine, creating a unique and mouthwatering dining experience.
The menu at Rabia’s features a variety of delectable dishes, from lobster ravioli to grilled swordfish, all prepared with the finest ingredients and expert craftsmanship.
Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to indulge in some delicious Italian food, Rabia’s on Salem Street is a must-visit destination in Little Italy.
To experience authentic Italian cuisine in Boston’s Little Italy, head over to Antico Forno. This modest venue is known for its Southern Italian cuisine and Neapolitan-style pizza, complemented by a great wine list.
Antico Forno offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for a casual meal with friends or a romantic dinner for two.
The menu features a wide range of traditional Italian dishes, from homemade pasta to succulent seafood. But the true star of the show is their pizza, baked in a wood-fired oven for that perfect crispy crust and gooey cheese.
My husband and I shared a Al Quattro Formaggio and the kids went for Meatballs and Spaghetti. It was heavenly and one of the cheapest dinners we had on the entire trip.
Improv Asylum on Hanover Street
Improv Asylum on Hanover Street offers a unique and entertaining venue for comedy shows and classes in Boston’s Little Italy.
The theater showcases hilarious and interactive performances that will keep you engaged from start to finish. With a talented cast of improvisers, you can expect a night full of unpredictable and side-splitting comedy.
But it doesn’t stop there – Improv Asylum also offers classes for those interested in honing their comedic skills.
Bell in Hand Tavern
Continuing from the previous subtopic, if you’re looking for a lively nightlife experience in Boston’s Little Italy, head over to the Bell in Hand Tavern.
As the oldest bar in Boston, this historic establishment is known for its vibrant atmosphere and energetic crowd. They have live music, dancing, and great drinks at Bell in Hand Tavern.
The tavern offers a variety of beer and cocktail options to suit every taste. With its long-standing reputation and prime location in the heart of Little Italy.
Paul Revere House
As you explore Boston’s Little Italy, make sure to visit the iconic Paul Revere House, a historical gem that immerses you in the rich history of the neighborhood.
Built in the 1680s, this house is a testament to the city’s colonial past. Step inside and walk through the room. Marvel at the authentic furnishings and artifacts that bring history to life.
Learn about Revere’s famous midnight ride and his role in the American Revolution. Take a guided tour to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of this historical site.
If you love history, you gotta do the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile long trail that winds its way through 16 historically significant sites in Boston. It’s a must-see for history lovers and anyone interested in learning about the birth of our nation.
Along the trail, you’ll visit iconic landmarks such as the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, and the Massachusetts State House.
Each stop on the trail offers a unique glimpse into Boston’s role in the American Revolution and the shaping of our country.
Boston Harbor City Cruises
To fully explore the vibrant waterfront community of Little Italy in Boston, make sure to take a memorable Boston Harbor City Cruise.
You can take a sightseeing cruise around the harbor, to the islands in Boston, or even up to Salem.
You’ll get a chance to see iconic landmarks like the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the USS Constitution, and the stunning skyline of the city.
The knowledgeable guides on the cruise will share fascinating stories and insights about Boston’s past and present.
We ended up taking the trip up to Salem and got to learn a little more about the area. It was a great way to get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the History Behind Mikes Pastry in Little Italy?
Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s Little Italy has a rich history. It’s been serving the community since 1946, offering a wide variety of Italian pastries, including its famous cannolis. It’s a must-visit spot for anyone with a sweet tooth.
What Makes Mamma Maria a Romantic Dining Option in the North End?
Mamma Maria is a romantic dining option in the North End. With its charming townhouse setting, locally-inspired cuisine, and private dining rooms, it creates a perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening in Boston’s Little Italy.
What Is the Specialty Dish at Rabia’s on Salem Street?
The specialty dish at Rabia’s on Salem Street is a combination of New England’s fresh seafood tradition and Italian cuisine. You’ll love the delicious flavors and unique blend of flavors in this dish.
Can You Provide Information About the Historic Significance of the Paul Revere House?
The Paul Revere House holds great historic significance. It was home to the famed silversmith and played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Explore this iconic landmark and learn about its fascinating history.
How Can Visitors Explore the Freedom Trail and What Notable Landmarks Can Be Seen Along the Way?
To explore the Freedom Trail, start by visiting the Paul Revere House in Boston’s Little Italy. Then, follow the trail to see notable landmarks like the Old North Church and Copps Hill Burying Ground. Enjoy the rich history and culture along the way!
What is the Culture like in Little Italy in Boston?
The culture is all part of the charm. While you have the friendly tourist pleasers, there is also the no holds bar, eye-rolling, just order and get over it, attitude. Just roll with it. We had so much fun trying to get some to try and crack a smile.
Tips for Visiting Boston’s North End
If you plan to visit Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood, keep these tips in mind:
- Go early – popular restaurants and cafes fill up fast, with lines out the door by dinnertime on weekends
- Bring cash – some businesses are cash-only, so come prepared
- Wear comfortable shoes – the narrow streets are best explored on foot
- Check out festivals – the North End has great Italian street fairs and feasts throughout spring and summer
- Make reservations – you’ll need them for high-end restaurants like Mamma Maria’s or Tresca’s
- Share dishes – the hearty portions are perfect for family-style dining
Your journey through Little Italy in Boston will be an unforgettable experience filled with history, delicious food, and lively entertainment.
From savoring mouthwatering pastries at Mike Pastry and indulging in authentic Italian dishes at Mamma Maria and Rabia’s, to exploring historical landmarks like the Paul Revere House and the Freedom Trail, there’s no shortage of exciting things to do and see.