Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Massimino's and Caffe Vittoria - an evening in the North End

Nick recently celebrated a big birthday, and since we go out to some pretty nice meals on a regular basis, I decided to indulge in a little nostalgia for this one.  Growing up, Nick's family would drive into the city to go to Massimino's Cucina Italiana in Boston's North End, right before the bridge over into Charlestown.  It had been at least 15 years since he had been there, but we figured better late then never for a return trip (or in my case, a first visit!).  We had reservations for 7:00 on a Thursday evening and were seated straight away in the upstairs area (I guess there is a bar and more dining downstairs).  I was surprised how quite it was when we got there, but shortly after we sat the restaurant filled up.

The servers were more than friendly and I think this restaurant attracts tourists because there is definitely a bit of "Boston showmanship" involved when going over the menu and specials.  After ordering a bottle of Chianti (to complete the Italian feel) we settled in for an evening of Italian-American goodness!  First to arrive was the fried calamari, a MASSIVE portion that was a special for the evening.  The calamari had a nice golden crispy outside and was cooked well.  I don't like peppers, but Nick thought the vinegar bite they provided went well with the seafood.  A rich and satisfying start to a meal.

Fried Calamari
Nick went with another special for his main course, which was a homemade pappardelle with a limoncello sauce topped off with mounds of seafood and a few mushrooms for good measure.  The sauce was rich and the pasta was amazingly fresh!  The seafood was just a great cap to the dish.

Pappardelle Dish
I went into the evening knowing I wanted something rich and delicious - this was a celebration after all. I ordered the Gnocchi al Forno, which is a baked potato gnocchi with a plum tomato and cream sauce and Mozzarella.  This was comfort food at its best.  I felt like I was in a friend's Grandmother's kitchen.  I could only have a few bites after all the calamari and was looking forward to having another delicious Italian dinner the following night!

Potato Gnocchi
Massiminos is a fun destination when you are looking for some delicious American-Italian food.  The huge portions were even better the next day!

Massimino's Cucina Italia on Urbanspoon

Rather than having dessert at Massimino's, we walked over to Hanover Street (to complete the touristy tour of the North End) and walked into Caffe Vittoria, which makes you feel like you could be in an Italian Square - the walls are painted to complete the effect!  We capped off our evening with some delicious cappuccinos with a little chocolate powder sprinkled on the top.  Trust me, the picture cannot begin to convey how yummy this was!

For dessert I had a combination of gelato: coconut and hazelnut.  The perfect cap after the rich warmth of the gnocchi.

Nick, in keeping with the Italian theme of the evening, got the ricotta pie, which looked to me almost like a pie version of cannoli!  Rich and delicious and so yummy!

Ricotta Pie
Our trip to Caffe Vittoria was the perfect ending to our evening in the North End.  Sometimes it's fun to play tourist in our own city.  Thank goodness for nicer weather, because after such a rich meal we both benefited from the walk back to Beacon Hill!

Caffe Vittoria on Urbanspoon


  1. what a fun night. I haven't been to massimino's in ages but i remember them having an awesome antipasti plate!

  2. Yum! You can't go wrong with some good old fashioned Italian comfort food!

  3. I feel like I haven't dined in the North End in ages. It's definitely nostalgic!

  4. I love pappardelle and this one looks great. I'm happy to say I've had the gelato at Caffe Vittoria and remember it being excellent. I would love to go back for it

  5. I haven't had a good Italian meal in far too long. This dinner looks awesome!

  6. Sounds like a perfect evening in the North End. I love peppers with my calamari!

  7. I love peppers on my calamari as well, but Jon prefers traditional red sauce. Looks like such a lovely evening!


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