On a recent (lost-filled) foray into Boston’s North End, my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to snag two seats at Giacomo’s Ristorante as soon as we got there. All the reviews say be prepared to wait, as Giacomo’s does not accept reservations, but does entice a steady crowd. But as we are obviously VIP’s (or maybe it was the combination of 20 degree weather and no indoor area to wait that only crazy people would endure), we were immediately shuttered to the back corner and plopped down at a table positioned half an inch away from the next. Rose Marie, our delightful server immediately welcomed us and explained Giacomo’s endless choices.
Because I have (sigh, again) lost my camera, you can’t really see what’s written on their chalkboard menu in my phone picture, so I, your faithful foodie friend, will obligingly describe. Giacomo’s doesn’t hand out menus; rather it has everything written out on the wall–a method we really enjoyed and that added to the bustling, warm atmosphere. In addition to its hearty Italian appetizers, pasta and chicken & veal entrees, Giacomo’s specializes in seafood. For around $15, you can pick your choice of shellfish over linguine with either pesto, fra diavolo, red, scampi or giacomo sauce.
Neither of us took advantage of this, as we weren’t in a seafood mood, but I can’t wait to go back and try the giacomo sauce, a lobster-based red sauce. I chose the veal parmigiana and Will went with one of the day’s specials, a portobello mushroom and spinach ravioli in a pesto walnut sauce with grilled red peppers.
My veal was perfect: juicy on the inside, with a crunch from the breading, tangy tomato flavor from the sauce and great texture from the divinely melted mozzarella cheese. Will’s pasta was equally great–how can you not like those perfect dumpling rounds stuffed with umami-filled portobello mushrooms oozing cheese and topped with salty, fresh pesto?
Our favorite part of Giacomo’s, aside from the food, was the unassuming atmosphere. You go there getting no-nonsense service and no-nonsense food. Hearty, Italian fare from friendly servers in a warm, tiny space filled with people wanting just the same thing as you–a delicious dinner. Don’t mess up Giacomo’s system, though. To be prepared, remember the following pointers:
1. Cash only!
2. No reservations.
3. Only open ONE DOOR AT A TIME!
Giacomo’s Ristorante, http://giacomosblog-boston.blogspot.com/, 355 Hanover Street (North End location), 431 Columbus Avenue (South End location), Boston, MA