Our first night in Boston came in the middle of a heat wave that left everyone panting and sweaty minutes after stepping outside. For this reason, Matt and I knew that we didn’t want to wander too far afield from the Custom House. Thankfully the North End, Boston’s famous Italian neighborhood and home to some fabulous restaurants, is just a few blocks away. For us an evening visit to the North End means a meal at Giacomo’s Ristorante.
Before I get started, a few caveats about Giacomo’s: They are open nightly, but there’s always a line (and truly, don’t even think about eating there on the weekend). They don’t take reservations. You must pay cash. The interior is miniscule, the wine list not much more expansive. There are no desserts on the menu. The service isn’t unfriendly, but is of necessity efficient in the extreme and you certainly won’t linger. You might think these things preclude eating there with kids, but frankly, with its noisy crowded interior, no one will notice if your little one fusses. You’ll get your food fast and the entrées are big enough to share. And if you’ve got two cell phones and more than one adult, one of you can wait in line while the other takes the kids to wander around the fascinating warren of streets that surround it.
And of course, there’s the food. What makes a visit to worth it is the warm, chewy garlic bread; the best fried calamari I’ve ever had in the United States; and the plates of pasta loaded with fresh seafood of every variety and topped with your choice of several homemade sauces. They look something like this:
On the evening we dined there we arrived to discover that the air conditioning wasn’t working. Undeterred by this and by the fact that we were accompanied by hungry, crabby children, we decided to wait. And sultry as it was in that dining room, I’m not sorry, especially since it meant Teddy (who is inclined always and everywhere to order a cheeseburger) tried mussels for the first time. At first he just wasn’t sure about them.
And at the end of the meal, the boys got an additional reward of a nice long spree in the fountains that line the new Rose Kennedy Greenway, just steps away from Giacomo’s front door and occupying the spot where prior to the Big Dig the freeway once loomed overhead.
Not pictured here, because sometimes greedy eating trumps photography, is the delicious pistachio cannoli that Matt bought for us to share from Mike’s Pastry across the street. It could be argued that the cannolis at Mike’s are what make any trip to Boston worth it. Next time you’re there, give them a try and let me know.
You’ll find Giacomo’s in the North End of Boston on Hanover Street, right along the Freedom Trail and steps from the Old North Church. They do also have a branch in the Back Bay that will accept your check, let you reserve a table, and serve you some sweets, but I’m frankly just dubious about that side of the operation. To me, Giacomo’s is synonymous with good North End eating.
If you’re looking for more yummy posts, be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.
Want more information on visiting Boston with kids? Check out these posts:
- Marriott’s Custom House: A family-friendly Boston hotel
- Museum of Science in Boston: Fun enough for a day and then some
- Fountain fun in Boston
- Family fun at Fenway
- Breakfast and books in Beantown
- Walking the Freedom Trail with kids
- A lesson in history at the Old South Meeting House
- Petting sharks at the New England Aquarium