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5 of the Best Old-School Italian Restaurants in Boston’s North End

The North End, located steps away from Boston’s scenic harbor, is the city’s historically oldest and most iconic immigrant neighborhood. The one-square-mile neighborhood is home to nearly 100 restaurants and dozens of coffee houses, pastry shops, old-school delis, and shops.

With so many restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to eat on a night out. From no-frills, cash-only joints to upscale eateries, these are the five best restaurants in the North End.

Trattoria il Panino

Located on both Hanover and Parmenter Streets, this restaurant is arguably one of the most popular in the neighborhood. It has an intimate indoor setting and a covered outdoor patio area that opens directly onto the sidewalk. Classic Italian dishes like penne al pomodoro and paccheri al ragu are served, alongside more interesting dishes like ravioli porcini mushrooms served in a black truffle cream.


This open air restaurant looks right onto Hanover Street, offers Italian dishes with a modern twist. Choose from first courses like pistachio pesto fusilli topped with sautéed cherry tomatoes and slices of sashimi tuna, or second courses like veal saltimbocca, medallions of veal rolled with sage, prosciutto, provolone and spinach.

Galleria Umberto 

A North End institution, Galleria Umberto is a no frills, cash only pizzeria serving up Sicilian style pizza, arancini, and calzones. Located on Hanover Street, the pizzeria is unique in that it’s open until it sells out, which is usually by 2 p.m. Pro tip: start lining up early, ideally just after it opens at 10:45 a.m., in order to secure a slice.


This upscale yet relaxed spot features marble tables and large windows that overlook bustling Hanover Street. The small establishment not only serves brick oven pizza but also a wide variety of pastas, grilled and sautéed meats, and an extensive wine and cocktail menu.

Antico Forno 

Located on Salem Street, which runs parallel to Hanover Street, Antico Forno serves up Neapolitan-style, brick-oven pizza and southern Italian eats in a warm and cozy setting. Their “dolce pizza” dessert, made with chocolate hazelnut nutella, bananas, strawberries, and sweetened ricotta cheese, is a fan favorite.

Asia London Palomba

Asia London Palomba is a trilingual freelance journalist from Rome, Italy. In the past, her work on culture, travel, and history has been published in The Boston Globe, Atlas Obscura, The Christian Science Monitor, and Grub Street, New York Magazine's food section. In her free time, Asia enjoys traveling home to Italy to spend time with family and friends, drinking Hugo Spritzes, and making her nonna's homemade cavatelli.