The North End used to be full of good, inexpensive places to eat. When I was back in my college years (the late 1950s) I used to walk through the North End five days a week to my summer job. Hanover St was loaded with great food.
Now it's a job to find anyplace down there that isn't going to cost a tourist's arm and leg.
Today my wife and I were searching for that wonderful imported Italian mortadella that Paul has told us all about (Mama Mia Mortadella). We found ourselves empty handed but hungry at about 5:30. Walking back along Salem headed for the Haymarket T stop we looked at many menus on both sides of the street. The cheapest places were all well over $10 a plate and the well-known spots were over $20. A couple of the dishes at Marcuccio's - for example - were over $30. We are low-income folks so we considered a pizza to share. Then we noticed D'Amore's just a block down Salem across from Guiffre's fish store and the hardware place. The address is 76 Salem and the phone is 523-8820.
What D'Amore's does is to offer an early-bird specials menu until 6 PM. We decided to give the place a try. First we got a cup of OK minestrone soup and a basket of good, hot bread with butter. Then they served a nice salad with a creamy parmigiana house dressing. The price of $9.95 included a glass of house wine. My main course was cut-up chicken breast meat sautéed with mushrooms and served in a white wine, Dijon mustard cream sauce. A side dish of penne with tomato sauce accompanied the chicken. My wife had the clam sauce Fra'Diavolo over linguini. There was plenty of parmigiana cheese at the table and each table was supplied with a pepper grinder.
D'Amore's also has daily specials on a board outside. This evening they were doing a crepe stuffed with crab meat and sauce ($11.95) and a Polo Lazio -chicken stuffed with procutto, eggplant, asparagus, fontina cheese, with a Sherry and lemon cream sauce -($14.95)
The service was first rate and very friendly. The ambiance was good -we were seated right next to the front window facing Salem St. D'Amore's has a full menu with prices ranging from about $10 to $18.95. They do lunch with a choice of specials and sandwiches.
This is NOT Marcuccio's, DOM's or the Osteria by any stretch of the imagination -but for $9.95 -with soup, salad and a glass of wine included --- any chowhound can get a good, filling Italian meal without worrying about the ol' bank account.
As time goes by I will tap my friend and North End resident Jack Powers for his cheap eats in the North End - as the leader of the Stone Soup poets he has to be frugal :-)
The canollis we picked up from the Modern on Hanover St were a great take-home treat. I just ate a half of one with a glass of tonic water and Campari, licked my fingers and typed this report.