The North End is hard to navigate, both the streets themselves and the restaurant scene. Those in the know really know what’s what and the rest of us just have to step off the streets and explore a little. Not every North End restaurant is worth taking a seat at the table but for those that are, it is worth however many times you took a wrong turn or walked past the door before finding the restaurant. I was recently invited to a wine tasting with Proemio Wines and it was hosted at Prezza.
There are the popular spots like Neptune Oyster that require dedication and time to stand in line, for their famous lobster roll. There are restaurants that stand the test of time like Mamma Maria and unique north end gems like Taranta. Everyone has their favourites.
Among the known are many other great restaurants kept secret by those who live in the neighbourhood or just quietly doing their thing with no need for anything more that word of mouth.
I had the opportunity to discover a restaurant that has been around for over a decade and I was so glad I did. Nothing was fussy or pretentious, but everything was rich with flavour and Italian soulfulness. The kind of soulfulness you feel from the hug of an Italian grandmother or a pinch of the cheeks. Along with that homeyness, was also a sophistication though.
We started with a crunch with these large shrimp. An impressive appetizer. When I go out to dinner I always want foods that I don’t make at home and I definitely do not have the time, energy or special equipment to fry up shrimp like this. Also on the ”mare” course were these tuna bruschetta.
Tiny crispy quail with gorgeous lentils came next . I adore lentils but when I cook them, they never quite have that restaurant quality. These were delicious. I have never made quail and after dining at Prezza I know where to go when I am ready for more. This was delicate and tasty. Crispy and moist meat that held up well with the unctuous earthy flavours of the lentils.
This is the definition of comfort. Melt in your mouth meat braised in red wine and creamy rich gnocchi. I am dreaming of this dish.
Fruit, cheese and a drizzle of honey is pretty much my perfect dessert. Come to think of it, figs, cheese and honey are pretty much my perfect appetizer or lunch too!