Ever since college, my parents have been coming up to Boston to visit me in September. It's always beautiful weather and we usually spend the day walking around working up an appetite. This year, we decided to hit up the North End since we rarely go there when they are in town. After spending the day walking around all those Italians we were craving some Italian food! While the North End hosts some of the best Italian restaurants around, waiting an hour or two in a large line or paying 20 bucks for a plate of pasta is not really what we had in mind so, after our walk, we headed over good ol' Maggiano's on Columbus Avenue.
I've been to Maggiano's before. Mine and Bryan's favorite thing to do there is order off of the family style menu. The family style menu is $26.50 per person and gives you unlimited amounts of:
2 salads (or substitute one of the salads for another appetizer)
Plus unlimited bread!
All HUGE (did I mention unlimited?) portions. Ate ten pieces of lasagna? No worries, here are ten more! This is probably one of the only restaurants in Boston where you pay less then what it would cost to cook it at home.
The atmosphere at Maggiano's is best described as Little Italy circa "The Rat Pack" days. Large open space divided up by red leather booths. White linens with candles on the tables, paintings of the God of Wine on the walls and waiters in black and white aprons shuffle about. It's a happy atmosphere and one that is very welcoming.
After looking over the menu and speaking with our waitress (who sounded just like Britney Spears) we decided on the family-style menu. Our choices are below:
Crispy Zucchini Fritte
Strips of zucchini hand battered w/Japanese bread crumbs and fried to a golden brown, served with a zesty lemon aioli cream sauce.
Mushroom Ravioli al Forno
Ravioli stuffed with mushrooms, onions, marsala wine, Parmesan cheese and baked with Alfredo sauce until golden brown.
Sliced Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella
Sliced beefsteak tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese; drizzled with Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Iceberg and romaine lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, crispy Prosciutto, red onions, tossed in our signature House Dressing.
Chicken Pesto Linguine
Linguine pasta tossed with roasted chicken, pesto, and pine nuts in a Parmesan broth with a hint of lemon.
Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage
Lightly breaded chicken breasts fried and topped with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Served with Parmesan chips.
Apple Crostada, Caramel Sauce
Warm apple filling of Granny Smith apples, sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, baked in a pastry crust dipped in cream and crystallized sugar. Served with caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Garnished with mint.
Vera's Lemon Cookies
Crescent shaped lemon cookies glazed with lemon frosting.
Needless to say, we had PLENTY of food. Everything was good (the chicken francese was a bit dry) but there were two stand-out dishes. The first was the Crispy Zucchini Fritte. It was DELICIOUS! We had two helpings of these and could have had more but we needed to save room for the rest of our meal. The zucchini was crispy but warm and moist on the inside and even though it was deep fried it wasn't too oily or heavy. They serve it with a ranch type sauce and a lemon to squeeze on it. The second stand-out dish was actually the dessert. The Apple Crostada was served warm and resembled an apple pastry puff that was flaky and warm and gooey all at once. The ice cream on top was delicious and everything mingled well together.
The service is always good at Maggiano's. They clear the plates fast (a necessity to make room for the other newly filled plates that are always arriving) and the waitress always checks to see if you need more food, even if the restaurant is crowded. If you have a big appetite and want a hugely satisfying meal, check out Maggiano's. You won't be disappointed.