When we 1st moved to Boston there was still a highway on the horizon between Boston and its North End. Dan and I enjoyed an occasional romantic date night or late night coffee when we dared try to get ourselves from Cambridge to Boston and back (remember this was the time before GPS and iPhones and we had a giant spiral bound square book of maps stashed under the driver’s seat). After having kids, the North End felt overwhelming and became a “land beyond” that we sort of forgot about except for that one day we went to East Boston and took the water taxi to the North End. Now that the kids are older, the highway has gone subterranean and we have all sorts of devices that not only help us get from point a to point b but also tell us where we can park, the North End is one of my new favourite spots. In the summer it is nice to be so close to the water and in the fall strolling the streets of the North End is like a mini vacation with the scent of roasting coffee, freshly baking bread, and sweet garlic wafting in the crisp fall air at the turn of every corner.
My most recent visit to the North End was with Blog and Tweet Boston for a hosted dinner at Artú. I parked easily at a lot on Commercial St. and then it was a quick stroll over to Hanover Street, the North End’s “main street” and then I turned off onto Prince Street to catch a view of the moon in the still blue sky behind an Italian church on the edge of a little coblestone piazza, North Square Park. Instantly, I felt like I was somewhere else and I hadn’t even stepped into Artú yet to the smells of dinner cooking.
Just like the North End, Artú has lots of hidden spaces it seems. The bar was alive with what I assume are regulars who live and work nearby. There were dining areas down stairs around the corner from the bar and then we were upstairs in a private loft-like space. This would be a great location for a special birthday party for little gourmandes, a baby shower, graduation, dinner with friends or colleagues. People are always asking me about restaurants with a good space for gatherings of all sorts. I’d definitely recommend Artú because the space felt intimate but not cut off in a separate generic room. Also, everyone loves Italian but not everyone loves an oyster bar (which always works well for me but I’m not devious in that way). I was impressed at how well each course was executed and Artú is a family run business and you can feel it.
To see what else we enjoyed for dinner (and for tips on what to order next time you go to Artú, just click on the image for more details.