Megan’s got a real person job and I have an internship that requires that I rise before dawn and with this frenzy of adulthood going on, Megan and I haven’t had a lot of time or energy (or money) to go out as often as we used to. So when we went shopping the other day, we decided to have an impromptu date in the lovely North End. We didn’t make a reservation or anything, but the best thing about being a twosome is that it usually works out if we wander around a bit until we find a place that looks good. We ended up in front of L’Osteria Ristorante and after some encouraging words from satisfied patrons standing outside, we decided to give it a try!
The dining room was small enough to be cozy, but not so small that we felt too close to the people next to us. There were a few families, some couples, and other varying groups of people sitting around us. I was a little concerned at first that there might be a lot of noise, especially from the few children sitting around us, but the volume was kept at a reasonable decibel. Restaurants in the North End are pretty hard to gauge ambiance-wise, especially during tourist season, but we got there at a good time and there wasn’t too much hustle and bustle. The only complaint I had was that there was a strange Italian-version-of-a-mariachi-band-type thing that showed up halfway through our meal and made it hard for us to hear each other even across the table. But they were only there for about 20 minutes and if you’re into Italian serenading, accordion and all, then this is the place!
Our waiter was attentive and helpful. I wasn’t sure which bottle of Chianti to get and he was quite helpful in the decision making (and by that I mean he told me which one to get – a quality I really appreciate in a server). Nothing was amiss, and while he wasn’t exactly remarkable or full of amusing quips like some other waiters we have had, he was good at his job and we had no complaints. However, there were a couple tables around us who were seated before we got there that seemed displeased with the service and were waiting for their food longer than we were. So while our experience was generally positive, it was obvious to us that not everyone felt that way.
The minute the words “North End” left my mouth, Megan insisted that we find somewhere that served garlic bread (which, of course, is basically everywhere). So of course we ordered garlic bread right away. It was pretty good, as was the bread that they gave us at the beginning of our meal. I am a huge fan of olive oil and good bread, and I was most definitely appeased in that area. Megan ordered the lasagna and I ordered the special gnocchi with meat sauce. Megan really enjoyed the lasagna, as evidenced by her entirely clear plate at the end of dinner, and the gnocchi was delicious. I couldn’t finish it, especially because I was leaving room for a cannoli and wine (I have priorities), but I boxed up the rest and ate it for lunch the next day. Two meals in one, who could beat that? They also had handmade cannolis and we took one home for later because we were so stuffed. It was delicious, needless to say.
We decided that it would be best if we ordered a whole bottle of wine, which may or may not have been the best decision but either way it was pretty good. We settled on the chianti that was moderately priced. It was actually pretty good, which was exemplified by us drinking the entire thing.
It wasn’t too pricey. We had an appetizer, two entrees, a dessert, and a bottle of wine it came to about $150, including tip. Definitely not cheap, but pretty reasonable for a nice night out with good food and a whole bottle of yummy wine.
We give this restaurant a 7 out of 10. The food was tasty but not exactly mind-blowing, and the service was good but not great. And considering the unhappiness of our fellow patrons, it was clear that our experience was not a consistent one for everyone in the restaurant.
104 Salem St, Boston