Five of us dined at Maurizio's Saturday night. As a former Bostonian, transplanted to Connecticut many moons ago, it is a treat to visit and dine in the North End. (IMO, it's heads above New York's Little Italy, and better than Arthur Avenue in the Bronx as far as number of terrific dining options.)
In all, for the pricepoint, I think Maurizio's does a very good job. The food, with a minor exception was delicious. The service was friendly. And the downstairs was loud and boisterous which was good because we were too, so we fit right in.
The menu leans heavily towards fish (the place is Sardinian), and only one in our party was in a seafood mood. Luckily, there were enough other options that we ended up just fine.
For appetizers we shared: Melanzane Alla Parmigiana (Eggplant parm), very good with deep tomato flavor; Salad Caprese (I don't know why one in our party wanted this because tomatoes are so out of season. I did not partake, but all some tomato slices disappeared); as a third app, we ordered a half order of the pasta called Malloreddus Alla Campidanese, which is described on the menu as "a classic Sardinian pasta dish served in a savory meat sauce made with sausage, lamb, diced vegetables, red wine and tomatoes." I would describe it as simple peasant pasta and meat sauce. Delicious.
For mains: Gnocchi (I sampled one, not featherlight and pillowy, a little gummy for my taste), Linguine con Calamari (friend said it was delicious, and cleaned his plate), Penne con Pollo (other pal said it too was delicious); Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin - a big hit with my husband and the bite I sampled had a nice rich Marsala flavor and the pork had good texture. I had the Chicken Cacciatore, which was so much like my own, I was shocked. I really really liked it. I make mine with chicken pieces still on the bone, and Maurizio's uses boneless chicken, but it was perfectly tender and the sauce had a rich tomato and peppery depth. Plus I could tell the onions had been somewhat carmelized before being added to the sauce. It made them particularly melt in your mouth. All entrees were hearty sizes.
With two bottles of wine (one Pinot Grigio and one red Dolcetti D'Alba) plus two additional glasses of red, our bill with tax and tip came to about $50 per person. Quite reasonable I thought.
My one complaint is they do not serve cappuccino, only regular or decaf coffee. We really wanted to have dessert there, but our desire for cappuccino won out, so we left without partaking in dessert. Oh well, maybe they don't want guests to linger.
So off we went to Cafe Vittoria for excellent cappuccinos, sambucca, biscotti, cannoli, (and a rather dismal and dry Napoleon). As far as a fun vibe goes, this place is crowded, but it can't be beat.
We had a wonderful time, and Maurizio's gets a thumbs up. We are coming back to Boston in February, and the same five of us want to try another new spot. In the past we have also enjoyed Antico Forno, La Summa, Il Panino....any other rec's for us that aren't too fancy?
Thanks to everyone for their rec's.