Ida’s Restaurant, North End, Boston

Ida’s is one of the best kept secrets in the North End. Closed in July and open only three evenings on the weekends for dinner, Ida’s is truly a special clandestine spot. We have dined at Ida’s only under a handful of times and each time we leave satisfied and vowing to return sooner.

Ida’s is right before Marco and Modern Pastry down an alleyway.One can not miss the neon sign, but there usually is a red convertible, to help you know this is the right alley.

Our friend has been a long time visitor, since childhood and knows the family by first name. The restaurant is truly a family owned and operated institution. Grandma Bruno makes the meatballs everyday and every Bruno family member works in the kitchen or buses the table in the tiny restaurant. Since the restaurant is so small, reservations via phone are recommended. The restaurant is always busy with locals.

Ida’s offers pitchers of wine. A medium serves 4-6 glasses.

Most of the entrees come with a house salad with a light vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, slices of purple onion and  cucumber.

Most dishes also come with a hearty plate of perfectly al dente pasta and super fresh and flavorful marinara or meat sauce or come with pasta within the dish.

We always have to order Grandma’s meatballs either as an appetizer to share or as an individual entree. The meatballs are tender, full of flavor and are just so cozy. They are really some of the best ever eaten ($16).

Our friends usually alternate between a chicken parmesean or veal cutlet and add a large spaghetti ($20). Ida’s makes the cutlets so well and it is easy to want to try to eat more than half, but they always manage to package half home for breakfast and lunch the next day, cold or reheated. The crust is perfect, the protein tender and slathered in a nice crust of cheese and a layering of fresh tomato sauce.

The spicy eggplant and spicy Arrabbiata sauces with jalapeno and chili flakes are really delicious. The eggplant is nicely breaded, covered in a lovely layer of cheese and the perfect balance of heat. Really a special dish ($18).

Ida's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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