North End Restaurants
63 Salem St., North End
Admittedly, the line out the door can be a turnoff—but then again, there’s a line for a reason. It moves fast, and these bivalves are worth the wait. Watching the servers shuck hundreds of oysters behind the bar is almost (but not quite) as enjoyable as knocking back a dozen of these briny creatures with generous dollops of mignonette and a crisp glass of sparkling wine. The rest of the menu lives up to the hype—the fish entrées are especially good. The less sophisticated but no less delicious johnnycake—an airy cornmeal pancake soaked in sweet honey butter and topped with sturgeon caviar—is childhood indulgence and grown-up tastes combined; order one for the table.
33 N. Sq., North End
North End is a fun destination for dinner, specifically for Italian food, where your best bet is Carmen Trattoria, which has a lovely, low-key, exposed-brick dining room. It’s a good idea to call ahead for a reservation. If you can, save room and walk to legendary Mike’s Pastry after dinner. The cannolis get all the attention, but the lobster tails are really where it’s at. (Side note: Another popular spot for old-school Italian in Boston is Giacomo’s, which has a location in the North End, as well as one in South End, and a third outside of the city.)
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