Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dining in the North End

111 Salem Street, North End, Boston

Back in November (yes, as in 4 months ago) a coworker of mine was having a condo-warming party and to rally the troupes I got a group of us to all grab dinner in the North End before heading to the party. There are definitely pros and cons of the North End, but I can't ever turn down good Italian food so I'm always on the lookout for new places with good reviews in the area. I had seen Benevento's on none other than the Phantom Gourmet, and I was able to make a reservation for 6 people on OpenTable. We were all happy that we all got seated as soon as our entire party was there without having to wait!
The place is kind of small, but at least they take reservations. Our server was very friendly and their menu was pretty extensive, including the usual favorites you'd expect to find in the North End. I had seen Phantom Gourmet review their pizza, so that's the part of the menu I was there for. A few of us got two pizzas and shared so that we could try two different kinds - the Vanessa's Pesto: grilled chicken, pesto sauce, caramelized onoins, pecorino romano cheese, and mozzarella; and the traditional Margherita pizza, with diced tomatoes, mozzarella, basil.

I think we liked the Margherita better - the pesto one was too oily for our liking. It was also a lot of food - I think we probably could've shared one pizza and an appetizer or salad.
One of the girls ordered their Pesto Pasta, which she found to be cream based sauce and not her favorite but I think with pesto it's very dependent on what you like. I almost never order pesto pasta out because I know how much I like my own pesto that I'm often disappointed with what I've ordered.
Someone else opted for a salad and side of their homemade meatballs. I was certainly almost tempted with the salad too - a Grilled Fig Salad with prosciutto, goat cheese, walnuts, and a sherry vinaigrette. The meatballs were giant - definitely weren't finished even with a group of us amongst the table trying bites. Gotta love the freshly grated parmesan, which you couldn't do without at any restaurant in the north end!
Last, but not least, one of the girls got a traditional Pasta Bolognese. As with all of the other portions, this too, was a lot of food. We all questioned at the dinner if it was worth it to bring our leftovers. After deciding it was, we had to make sure our friend had room in her fridge at her new condo so we could go to the party knowing our leftovers wouldn't go to waste!
All in all, I think I would go back here - it's nice that it's a little off the beaten path in the North End - I try to avoid Hanover Street and have found some of the best restaurants in the area are the holes in the walls on the tiny cobblestone side streets. They were also nice enough to bring us ladies some after-dinner sips of limoncello to cap off the meal! Similar to traveling though, there are so many options, why try the same one twice!

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