Saturday, May 8, 2010

Il Panino Express - Satisfying your pizza fix

Meandering down Hanover Street, the scents of hot pasta and sweet canolis wafting through the air, it is impossible not to stop for pizza. We've heard those who live and work in the North End fulfill their pizza cravings at least once a day. It is as though the street itself beckons even the most steely-willed passerby into sampling a fresh, gooey pizza pie.

The Palateers, out with friends for a wine tasting at the Wine Bottega, found their stomachs rumbling with pizza cravings after sipping the final red sample. The merry, wine glass-clinking, pasta twirling atmospheres of the open air restaurants pulled them in for a bite.

Il Panino Express is North End pizza at its simplest. The menu is classic Italian with very reasonable prices for pizza ($10.95-$12.95 for a pie), pasta ($9.95-$10.95), and paninis ($6.95). The service is anything but the over-friendly, Prego repeating of Davide; it’s more of a make-your-order-at-the-counter-and-get-out-of-the-way-for-the-next-customer-type. Be prepared to carry your own hot tray to your table but don’t worry about a tip. Which suited us just fine this night.

Al Funghi - get your mushroom on

For six people, we ordered the Margarita pie ($10.95) with fresh plum tomato, mozzarella and basil and the Al Funghi ($12.95) with plum tomato, mozzarella and practically an entire container of mushrooms. Starving, we devoured the pies, which proved to be just a little too much for the six of us. The pizza was just greasy enough in a melt in your mouth kind of way, although the crust was a little burnt on both pies. We hardly noticed as the pizza disappeared almost as fast as it arrived on our table in true Express form.

Margarita - classic cheese without the frills

Il Panino Express – crisp around the edges but perfect for satisfying your pizza fix in the North End.

Trattoria il Panino Express
227 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113

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