Thursday, February 2, 2012

Giacomo's: Boston: South End (also in the North End)

Current Italian Restaurant in Boston Ranking: #1

This restaurant is regarded as one of the best Italian places in Boston, which is of course saying something.  I checked out the menu online and saw that it's also one of the most reasonably priced, and so I slated it for a North End dining experience with my friend Matt who was coming into town from Orlando.

When you talk to people about Giacomo's or read the reviews, you're warned that the wait for a table can be ridiculous, sometimes up to 2 hours as it's a pretty small room with great food and great prices.  They're open for dinner forom 5 PM - 11 PM, and so I planned that we should aim to arrive at about 4:45, just in case.

After some walking and shopping along Newbury, checking out Copley Square and the library and such things, it was 5 o'clock already, and, after a brief survey of the reviews on my phone, I decided it would probably be fine to go ahead and do the Giacomo's in the South End, which was only a 10 minute walk away (as opposed to 35 or so for the South End).

We were also planning to have some pastries after dinner in the North End, but it would end up being a very good thing for us to walk around for several hours between dinner and that.

As I had suspected, it wasn't a big deal to get a table just slightly after 5.  There were two other patrons besides us when we entered.  I'm not sure if it would have been the same in the North End location. By the time we finished our meal, though, the place was packed and we were encouraged in an indirect way by a bus boy's tone that indicated that we should probably take our conversation to the streets as it'd be good for them to be able to get that table cleaned and ready for the next patrons who'd probably be walking up any minute.

The food:

The complimentary bread for the olive oil

It was really good bread, hearty but soft.

Mussels in Wine Sauce - $9

These were great. Despite being fairly simply prepared, I could still tell they were good using what at the time was my quite limited experience with eating mussels (those of a crazy former flatmate in New York). Anyway it's just so fun to eat one mussel after another and to sneak some leftover bread in there to sop up the white wine sauce.

I asked the waiter for a recommendation of what wine to get considering everything I'd ordered, and though I thought it was strange that anyone would ever suggest a rosé  in any situation, I was in one of those moods where I was going to get whatever the wind blew my way.

Only $4.50!

It was.. well it was rosé. I'd suggest not getting it, but you know, I was totally on the rest of the evening, so maybe I shouldn't be so judgmental.

Squid Parpadelle with Tuna Swordish, Tomatoes, and Olives - $16

The squid ink makes the pasta taste so.. well so much. I loved it. I even enjoyed the olives (though I think I've just completely been converted to olives by this point and should probably stop pointing out every time I enjoy it).  Chunks of tuna swordfish are just gravy on top of what's already an awesome dish.  With capers and tomatoes and olive oil and parsley and god knows what else, this was really wonderful.

Lobster Ravioli - $16

Lobster tucked into ravioli with dices of tomato in a rich cream sauce for sixteen bucks? Don't mind if I do! It was so good. My companion and I used more bread to sop up every last bit of that cream sauce.

I absolutely loved Giacomo's, and, at least at this point in my Italian food education, would recommend it to anyone. Just get there early and don't plan to have room for dessert for at least another three hours afterwards.

Giacomo's (South End) on Urbanspoon