It is my most favorite time of the year, Restaurant Week!
Every Restaurant Week cycle (winter and summer) I have dinner with the same two friends. We dress up, wear pearls and try a place none of us have been to before.
Despite the nasty snow storm today and the insanely deep puddles all over downtown Boston, we trekked to the North End.
Our destination? Antico Forno on Salem Street.
Every year when we choose where we want to go for Restaurant Week, I always pick Anitco Forno as one of my top choices and we've always wound up somewhere else. This time, I got my wish!
When you walk into Antico Forno there is a row of tables set up right in the front windows.
There is a bar in the back corner of the restaurant with very warm lighting. The shapes of these lights reminded me of the Dale Chihuly flowers.
We were seated in the far side of the dining room, right next to the pizza oven.
Our waitress brought us the menu explaining there was the Restaurant Week menu on the back, but you could also order from the full, regular menu.
We each ordered a glass of wine to have with the meal, one Chardonnay and two Montepulcianos.
We were delivered a basket of bread and a small bowl of bright green olive oil speckled with spicy red pepper flakes. The bread tasted stale to me, so I didn't even finish one piece.
For an appetizer we shared the involtini di melanzane which came in a super hot metal serving bowl. There were three pieces (one for each girl) and each piece was stuffed to the brim with ricotta cheese. The tomato sauce was so rich and delicious. I wished the eggplant had been more crisp or breaded, but the dish was still great and totally perfect for a freezing cold night.
One of the girls went with the potato gnocchi. She was nice enough to let me snag a puff or two. She said, "I absolutely loved this dish. The gnocchi was so fluffy and that was clearly homemade sauce."
Across the table, a friend was eating the fusilli at tegamino which was fusilli, sauteed eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, tomato sauce, goat cheese and basil. She shared, "The goat cheese was so creamy and flavorful. The cheese complimented the sauce quite nicely. There were a ton of veggies, they were all cooked perfectly."
Since we were sitting right next to the pizza oven, I decided to go with the amalfitana pizza. How can you resist arugula on pizza?
The smoked mozzarella added a really strong flavor to eat bite. The arugula and cherry tomatoes were very fresh. I'm not really into pizza crust, but I dunked this crust into the olive oil which made it taste exponentially better.
Though we'd already carbo loaded, we couldn't wait for dessert. First we tried the cannoli, a North End staple. This version had a light, crispy shell and decadent filling. We cut this into three pieces and inhaled them.
Next up was the tiramisu. After the first bite one of my friends gushed, "I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
It was exceptionally light and one of the better versions I've had.
Lastly, was the dolce pizza which was Nutella, strawberries, bananas and sweet ricotta cheese.
I didn't partake in this one, but the girls said, "We wouldn't order this again, it's just too big. The fruit with the Nutella is great though."
Our waitress told us the dolce pizza is great the next day for breakfast with a cup of coffee. I bet!
My friends and I have had 10 Restaurant Week dinners together and tonight we all agreed this may have been our best. The restaurant wasn't too crowded, we had attentive service, each round of food was better than the one before and we left full and happy.
Tomorrow night I will be going out for Restaurant Week again. We'll be trying Beacon Hill Bistro.
Do you have any Restaurant Week reservations this week?