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“My First trip to a North End Restaurant - Liked it, but I have nothing to compare against.”
Review of Panza

Panza
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Ranked #108 of 3,454 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: North End
Cross street: Fleet St.
Transit: Haymarket (Orange); North Station (Orange, Green); Aquarium (Blue)
Reviewed August 22, 2011

This is my first trip to Boston's North End and one of the friend suggested Panza based on good reviews on Yelp. We called up Sunday evening around 6PM and we were able to reserve a table for 5 around 6.45PM.

Panza is on the busy Hanover Street of Boston's North End. It is right next to the first Roman Catholic Church built by Italian Immigrants and is also few hops over from the famous Mike's Pastry.

It is a small cozy restaurant with seating for probably around 30-40 people. It is nicely decorated with a big open bay window facing the Hanover Street. Pretty much most of the restaurants in that area seem to be of same size & style.

Being a vegetarian, my options were limited but I was able to find couple of good options in the menu. I had a Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli and I can say it was very tasty. The Service was good and they seem to be attentive of our needs.

The entire Entree's seemed to be priced around $15-$20. With an Entree & a bottle of Wine split among 5 of us in a group, we ended up paying about ~$21 per head without the tip.

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Thank RelaxByTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 18, 2011

I had tried to secure a table at Panza during my visit to Boston late last year without a reservation, but facing a two-hour long wait list on weekends, I told myself, "next time." About two weeks before my most recent trip to Boston last month, I made a reservation for a Friday night and looked forward to eating at this apparently very popular and well-regarded restaurant.

I will start with my only criticism of Panza, which is that despite arriving a bit before our reserved time, my wife and I were told that we would have to wait up to 30 minutes to be seated. A few other couples and small groups were also told by the hostess that they would have to wait for similar amounts of time, but in a way, this just seemed to confirm how popular Panza is among both locals and tourists. Nonetheless, I have been to many other busy establishments that, for one reason or another, were always able to meet their reservations.

Everything else about the evening was great.

We were seated in the corner right by the front window, which was open on that particularly nice night in late July. Panza is dimly lit and small, with tables being very close together (there were about six inches between our table and the one next to us). This creates a sort of unusual atmosphere that is both cozy and busy at the same time, and I have to say, it works quite well. You will hear nearby conversations and other diners will hear your conversation, but such is life. Also, the two or three tables next to the front window almost flow onto the sidewalk, and indeed, that is the way that some guests entered and left the restaurant.

Despite being very busy, our server came to us right as we were seated with fresh bread and olive oil. He was friendly, humorous, had a few helpful tips about places to see and visit, and came around frequently to see that we were satisfied.

We ordered the large fried calamari starter to share, and the lobster ravioli and seafood risotto for our mains. I will speak to Panza's value before I address the food quality. We ordered a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and were supremely impressed by the outstanding wine list prices. I have seen none better in any other North American city, with many respectable bottles at or under $20. Menu items are also a great value, with both of our mains costing $16. Each dish contained more than enough food to satisfy all but the hungriest person. My risotto dish had generous portions of shrimp and scallops, and the rice had obviously not been sitting in a pot somewhere for hours, but was fresh and delicious. There is a considerable difference between risotto and creamy rice, but unfortunately too many Italian (or Italian-branded) restaurants fail to realise the difference. My wife's lobster ravioli contained a few chunks of lobster meat and some fresh pasta, served with an outstanding dijon cream sauce. Someone at the table next to us (remember, it was about six inches away, so I could see and smell everything) ordered the salmon, and another ordered a pasta and veal dish, and both meals seemed quite good.

We left Panza very satisfied, and with a bill under $65, we felt as though we were committing theft. Boston has a lot of great higher-end restaurants worthy of splurging (eat at l'Espalier before you die), but experiences like eating at Panza provide a pleasant reminder that great, if simple, food and wine can be enjoyed without concern for price. Do make your reservations at least one week in advance, especially for weekends, and you will not be disappointed.

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Thank Ippocalyptica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2011

My son and I had a wonderful experience at Panza, a surprisingly small restaurant in the North End. The service was excellent and unobtrusive. Justin thought his fried calamari was the best he had ever had. I ordered glazed salmon on a bed of brown rice. The piece of fish was so large that I could barely finish half of it. This is definitely one of the best restaurants in the North End. Save room so after dinner you can pop across the street to Mike's for a cannoli.

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Thank appletonth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2011

Panza is a small, charming Italian restaurant in Boston's North End with an extremely innovative menu. Yes, don't worry, the classic Italian-American dishes are all listed. But they are presented in a fresher, more interesting manner while keeping true to their Italian heritage. We knew we were in for a treat as soon as the bread arrived - wonderful, chewy Tuscan-type loaf. And the wine glasses were as full as they could be - no parsing out portions with a couple of sips each - so we could savor the very good house wine. With that kind of attention to detail, it is easy to anticipate a wonderful meal. The kitchen is in the back, wide open should you wish to take a peek at the cooks working their magic. We will definitely return.

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Thank Italia222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2011

Loved the food!! Nice little cozy place. Wood floors & tables, brick walls & lovely server. Very helpful at working with our 10 yr old who just wanted pasta & meatballs. Bread was fresh crusty & awesome. Chicken parm cheese & sauce was the real deal. Tried Chicken Saltimbocca. Sauce was yummy, with peppers & veggies in it. All soooooo good! We will definitely be back when back in Boston. Would be a great little romantic place just for 2. Loved it opens right out onto the sttreet to see folks walking by. Genuine Itlaian food, without huge price. Recmmended to us by Front Desk at hotel. Awesome!!

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Thank sportmom1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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