Boston North End: The Best Italian Restaurants & Pizza Spots

by Paul Joseph  |  Published May 13, 2024

Known as Boston’s Little Italy, North End’s maze of narrow streets that meander between some the city’s oldest buildings are dotted with eateries serving their own take on Italian fare.

(Photo: Ducali Pizzeria)

The North End’s links with Italy date back to the mid-19th century when a steady stream of immigrants began making their way across the Atlantic, many of whom would settle in the one-square-mile district that juts into Boston harbour. As a result, the many Italian restaurants and pizzerias found in the area are typically family-owned, with the dishes they serve coming straight from cookbooks that would have been hauled along on those original voyages across the pond. Here are 7 of the best Italian eateries and pizza in the North End.

Ducali Pizzeria

This perpetually busy neighbourhood gem serves up authentic Roman-style pizza to a stream of loyal patrons in a fun and welcoming atmosphere. Located directly on Boston’s famous Freedom Trail, close to many of the area’s most historic buildings and landmarks, the eatery is particularly known for its use of locally-grown topping and drinks menu featuring a wide choice of cocktails and craft beers produced by Massachusetts breweries. Stand-out dishes include the Pizza Ripiena, a calzone-style pizza stuffed with sausage ricotta mozzarella and mushroom; and the eponymous Pizza Ducale, a potato pancetta & mozzarella pizza topped with an over-easy egg.

Book at OpenTable


(Photo: Artu)

Since opening its doors in 1992, Artu has grown into one of Boston’s most popular Italian eateries. Founded by East Boston local, Nancy Frattaroli, a veteran of over 30 years in the industry, the restaurant applies the fundamental Italian cooking principles of great ingredients, simply prepared, serving up a varied menu of old-world comfort food dishes with a modern spin. Among the most popular dishes are lamb racks, fusilli pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe, and eggplant parmigiana. Several paintings by contemporary Italian-American artist Giovanni Decunto, including an eye-catching centrepiece by the bar, adorn the walls, adding a dash of culture to the foodie surroundings.

Book at OpenTable

Antico Forno

Invariably packed, noisy and raucously fun, Antico Forno probably isn’t the place for a romantic dinner for two, but if you’re after traditional Italian food just how mamma used to make it, then it’s hard to beat. Don’t just take our word for it – this family-run eatery is a regular on lists of Boston’s best places to dine. A selection of pastas, pizzas and pies, all cooked in their famous word-burning brick oven, are accompanied by dishes that hark back to the Old Country, including veal parmigiana, osso buco with pork shank, and chicken saltimbocca. A rustic decor adds to the restaurant’s on-so-Italian look and feel.

Book at OpenTable

Giacomo’s Ristorante

(Photo: Giacomo’s Ristorante)

For more than three decades, locals and in-the-know visitors have been lining up patiently outside this no-reservations North End institution in anticipation of its traditional Italian fare served in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Generous portions, warm service, and a cosy setting have elevated the neighbourhood eatery’s reputation. Popular dishes include classics like fried calamari, mozzarella marinara, and burrata with tomatoes, as well as seafood-centric options such as fettuccini with swordfish and salmon in pesto-cream sauce or lobster, clams, and mussels over linguine. There are also plenty of New England specialities like clam chowder and lobster rolls.

Regina Pizzeria

Whether it’s to eat on a park bench, walking along the street, or with your feet up on the sofa back home, pizza remains one of the most universally popular takeout options – and in a Italian-heavy district like Boston’s North End it’s little surprise. Opened way back in 1926, the family-run Regina Pizzeria is one of the area’s most historic pizza joints – but it certainly can’t be accused of resting on its laurels. The takeout spot has kept up with modern pizza predilections with its thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas served in its original Thacher Street location. As an added perk for drivers, the shop offers a Curbside To Go service, so you don’t even need to leave your car.

Monica’s Trattoria

(Photo: Monica’s Trattoria)

A classic Italian trattoria in the heart of North End, this cosy eatery offers snug, candlelit dining set against exposed brick walls.  The restaurant’s Italian cooking is injected with a contemporary twist while a full bar concocts seasonal cocktails that work both as an aperitivo, paired with your food, or as a post-dinner pick-me-up, including their signature Espresso Martini. As for the food, the menu features a number of house-made pastas as well as chicken and Veal dishes prepared four ways. Just a dozen or so tables ensure plenty of ambience as you sit elbow to elbow with your neighbours.

Book at OpenTable


A quintessential Italian-American ‘Cucina’, Massimino’s is renowned for its rustic surroundings imbued with a warm, familial atmosphere. Their time-honoured Italian multi-course meals feature such delights as rich lobster ravioli, hand-made pasta and the finest cuts of meats, all served with lashings of pressed olive oils. Close seating adds to the character, helping create a fun and friendly ambience in which diners often get talking to their neighbours. The restaurant also works with smaller independent vineyards from Italy to offer an enticing wine list full of lesser-known gems from the vine.