Friday, August 15, 2008


Welcome to my review. Peter asked me to write my inaugural (and possibly only) blog about Anchovies, a cute SE bar/restaurant on Columbus Ave. Well, it’s not so much cute as it is dark, but that’s better anyway.

What I like most about Anchovies is the atmosphere. I really like little homey, neighborhoody places. They are often more relaxed, delightfully quirky, and far more interesting than most chains. They sort of give you a feel that you know something special about where you live that not every tourist or weekend trendster ever could. That’s pretty much Anchovies.

Tucked away next to the much larger and more open Giacomo’s restaurant, Anchovies is the closest thing to a dive bar you can find in the South End. It’s dark, often crowded with locals, and usually loud with conversation or commentary on whatever game is on the flat screen TV’s. But unlike a true dive, the people are friendly, it’s clean, and you don’t have to worry about getting shanked by a disgruntled customer.

Anchovies is perfect for a host of occasions. You can meet up with a friend for a drink at the bar, grab a quick bite on your way home after a long night of drinking (it’s been a lifesaver), and it also makes a nice casual place for a first date (seriously) or just a hot meal with friends. When I go, I usually go for the food and drink option because I like to sit and relax and chat. If you don’t order food though, you can’t sit at a table. If you are eating, you may have to wait to be seated as Anchovies is small and there are only a handful of booths and tables.

Anchovies has a pretty full Italian menu and nightly specials with three options: a pasta dish, usually a meat or fish dish, and the lasagna of the day. Now, living here in Boston and growing up on Italian food, I know how it can vary significantly from place to place, restaurant to restaurant. So let me say in advance, this is the hearty but greasy variety. It’s also what I would call more classic Italian: sauce, cheeses, pasta, meat, and chicken. No fancy sauces or creative takes on old favorites. If you want something more upscale, go next door to Giacomo’s. Personally, I like this better. It’s as close to home cooking as you can get.

My favorite is the lasagna. I almost always get it so I really can’t comment on much else. If I am feeling like I should be good and maybe have more protein than pasta, I will get the chicken parm. It’s good but nothing different from the norm, except that there is enough for two meals. They do not skimp on portions. Back to the lasagna. As I said before, it’s the lasagna of the day so it’s always new and usually a good combo (sausage and spinach comes to mind). And when it comes, as with the chicken, it’s huge. And covered with cheese. I mean like drowning covered. That would be my only complaint really. There is often so much cheese I end up feeling greasy and remorseful after, which is probably why I usually only finish about 2/3 of the slab I’m served. But the part I do it is amazing. Fresh from the oven, meaty, solid and not runny, and a perfect ratio of noodles, cheese (ricotta and parmesan), and meat. Filling and delicious. Oh, and you also get a salad with your dinner, but it’s pretty basic, nothing to write home about, and often has too much dressing. Tip of the day: get the dressing on the side.

So that’s it in a nutshell. A fun, friendly, neighborhood bar with good food, and reasonable prices. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s certainly worth a trip to find out first hand. Enjoy!

Review by Mike

433 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02116

Open for lunch and dinner

Anchovies on Urbanspoon

(photos via

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