2 Hours in Boston's Italian North End – Where Do You Go? Giacomo's.

If you’re ever in Boston and only have one night to spend, head to the North End. It’s the Italian section that’s not near any T subway stop, but a short walk from the uber touristy Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market area. If you’re taking the T, jump off at Government Center. Avoid the temptation to grab food there. You’re too close to much better food in the North End. Simply head away from the city and toward the ocean and ask someone to point you to Hanover Street.

If you’ve only got time for one meal, wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be standing in line at Giacomo’s Restaurant. Don’t call to make a reservation. They don’t take them. And be sure to hit the ATM first because they don’t take credit cards. No reservations? No credit cards? Yup. Deal with it.

Giacomo’s will be easy to spot because you’ll see a line. If you are standing with a view inside the restaurant, congratulations, your wait will only be about 20-30 minutes. If the line reaches the corner, plan on an hour to 90 minutes of wait time. You’ll inevitably wonder if it’s worth the wait. The answer should be obvious. The lines can be seen year round, even in winter when Boston temperatures drop to the single digits. They wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t worth the wait. But tourists will walk by you and shake their head. Their loss.

This shot is from last summer.  This line would probably take about one hour to get a seat.

This shot is from last summer. This line would probably take about one hour to get a seat.

Here's why your wait took so long. There are only about a dozen tables inside. You'll get to know your neighbors well. Chances are you'll bump into their chair a few times.

Here’s why your wait took so long. There are only about a dozen tables inside. You’ll get to know your neighbors well. Chances are you’ll bump into their chair a few times.

The menu is on the wall as you walk in on the right. Their Italian seafood options are most popular.

The menu is on the wall as you walk in on the right. Their Italian seafood options are most popular.

But I always go with chicken parmesan.

But I always go with chicken parmesan.

This is the open kitchen. Not a lot of real estate to work with, huh?

This is the open kitchen. Not a lot of real estate to work with, huh?

After your meal, you're going to be in pain. But don't skip dessert - even if you don't eat it until later. You'll see tourists walking all over Boston with a white box in hand. It's from Mike's Pastry a block away from Giacomos.

After your meal, you’re going to be in pain. But don’t skip dessert – even if you don’t eat it until later. You’ll see tourists walking all over Boston with a white box in hand. It’s from Mike’s Pastry a block away from Giacomos.

Yep, another line to wait in. Yep, it's worth the wait here too.  Famous for cannoli, I like their cupcakes.

Yep, another line to wait in. Yep, it’s worth the wait here too. Mike’s is famous for cannoli, I like their cupcakes. Vanilla is simple but awesome.

Wait time is usually about 20 minutes when the shop is full.

Wait time is usually about 20 minutes when the shop is full.

The peanut butter chocolate cannoli is my pick. But chocolate chip is usually the favorite.

The peanut butter chocolate cannoli is my pick. But chocolate chip is usually the favorite.

Enjoy. If you don’t have the time for the lines, you can’t go wrong in the North End. No place could afford the rent in this super expensive part of the city if their food wasn’t good. But Giacomo’s and Mike’s are where you should go if you only have one night in Boston.



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