Cantina Italiana

4.5
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1732 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
An iconic tradition in Boston's "Little Italy", Cantina Italiana serves the tastes that make the North End famous. Started in 1931, Cantina Italiana is the oldest restaurant in the North End of Boston. We boast over 80 years of tradition in providing the best in homestyle Italian American cuisine, the freshest New England seafood, and unparalleled service and experience. Cantina Italiana's warm and charming atmosphere gives our restaurant a relaxed setting to enjoy you meal amongst the most important parts of your dining and drink experience: family, friends, and of course...food! Enjoy and cheer among us as we would at home: Mangia, Beve, e Buona Salute!

Need to book at 10:15 AM?

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What 1732 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.2
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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l
New England
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

2nd time here. We LOVE this place! Service, food- can't beat it! Will continue to go here when in Boston!

OT
New England
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

So many great options. Love having vegan options when dining out.

KS
New England
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Never disappoints!! Delicious traditional
Italian!

EO
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The best Italian food in the north end. Awesome staff that hasn’t changed in years

OT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food!

BD
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience3

I enjoyed a pleasant Valentine's Day dinner with my girlfriend. The veal parmesan was tender and well cooked and the sauce was very heavy and original. It's clearly a popular spot. For what we got the cost was a little high and I would not prefer to return until the weather and table availability improved as I felt rushed to get there before they canceled our reservation and rushed to get home after the meal was over because it was so cold outside.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful meal and our waiter was fantastic!

OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Very uncomfortable seat

C
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Arrived at 7pm for my 7:30 reservation, line was out the door. So instead of plowing through people, I called and spoke to the manager. He said they are running behind and our table will be ready by 7:40, and to come at that time. 7:40 comes around, about half the people that were originally in line are there now, and I spoke with the hostess who said I am now checked in and that there are 10 tables ahead of us. Mind you, our reservation was 2 people and had booked it earlier in the week, but a Bruins game ended so everyone from the game went to the North End. Anyways, we left after realizing people who had 7pm reservations still had not been seated by 7:50, and there was no way I was waiting another hour to be seated. Very annoying how a restaurant that allows for reservations, does not hold reservations, and blames the rush of people that came in as to why they don't have seats at the moment. Reservations are just that, you can't sit walk-ins when you are booked the entire night. Complete shitshow, and have no interest in being back.
Mind you - this was planned a week ahead and was my girlfriend's birthday dinner and that's where she wanted to go.

Cantina Italiana
Responded on February 11, 2020

We try our best to accommodate all reservations on-time but as you may know in the city of Boston on a Saturday evening it is not uncommon for reservations to run a bit over the scheduled. This isn't because we are taking walk-ins over your reservations. Its because our diners meal times were longer than the Saturday average. Sometimes its as simple as that! Indeed we were running 20 minutes behind and made our best efforts to seat people asap within our control. Sorry for your experience.

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OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Highly recommend! Food and service was amazing!! Authentic Italian food with warm authentic Italian service. Definitely make a reservation. The space is not that big and you will wait if you don’t.

SW
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food and staff!!!! Only issue...very noisy.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The staff here is fabulous and will above and beyond to make your experience a great one!!

RC
New England
6 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cantina and Drew awesome. Food just like you’d expect...delicious. The service comfortable, welcoming and friendly. Great evening.

B
Houston
12 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience2

Someone at our hotel recommended this place and while the menu looked good, we did not have a good experience overall. First of all they upsold us a bottle of wine even though I had picked out what I wanted ahead of time in the price range I wanted. We ordered the mussels appetizer that was good and then ordered the scampi appetizer but the server took forever to get the food to the table. We even had to ask for bread as he did not offer it initially. We then asked for a small side of pasta which he brought and it was good however, when I saw the bill, he charged $9 for it which seemed outrageous for what we got. I complained about it however the waiter would not do anything about it. I also mentioned it was my birthday and again, there was nothing special done to help me celebrate. Overall, I was not pleased with the experience and sorry that I spent one of my 3 nights in Boston at a restaurant that was just so-so.

AO
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Omar, our waiter was great from the start. We asked to move to a better table it was done with pleasure. He gave great recommendations on our entrees and when someone dropped one of our meals on the way to the table we had a new one in a letter of minutes. Our family had a lovely night thank you!

MW
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Omar was fantastic! Our table of 9 was handled beautifully.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Oscar was wonderful!! Per my request on open table he recruited other wait staff to sing happy birthday to my husband with torta amaretto & candle. FOOD WAS DELICIOUS AS USUAL!!

JC
London
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Food way too salty. To the point of almost being inedible. Shame because restaurant was friendly and bustling with a nice atmosphere.

CC
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food! Ample amount too. The arancini are a must. Service was relaxed yet attentive & friendly. Will definitely return.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service1ambience5

Our waitress was very rude to us all throughout dinner!

MN
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing. Top of my north end list ! Will be returning

SD
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

My husband and I had a delightful dinner, we ordered the special app and dinners. One was seafood with pasta the other was ravioli. Both excellent. Waiter was very attentive and nice.

CW
New England
9 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall3food4service4ambience3

The food and service were fine, but the restaurant looked like it was in the middle of a renovation. We were seated at a table next to the wall, which looked like it was being painted but no one finished the job. The place was fairly empty, so another table where the wall would not have been noticed was certainly possible.

p
New England
34 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

We picked Cantina for a New Year's dinner for it's festive environment and reliable, reasonably priced food. It was mostly all that, though there were some disappointments. Oddly, the best dinner we ordered was a simple chicken with broccoli on homemade rotini. A seafood fra diavolo on homemade pasta was also very good. But gnocchi were underwhelming with not enough sauce, and the bolognese was downright awful. My husband orders it pretty much everywhere we go for Italian food, and said that at Cantina, it tasted like canned stew, and it was the worst he had ever had. A chopped salad with house creamy Italian was good, and broccoli rabe side was awesome. Service was slow, as the place appeared to be understaffed. So a mixed experience for sure; we would probably choose another restaurant next time.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

New Year’s Eve dinner with my wife. The food, service, and ambiance were excellent. We enjoyed everything. We would love to go back again

MG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our 4th year in a row going into Cantina Italiana. The service is always extremely good and the food is fantastic. This year I got the veal parmigiana which was served with a bone-in veal chop... It was amazing. We already have this on the agenda for next New Year's trip into the city.

CM
New England
29 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Absolutely delicious meal!!!

r
Naples
4 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Great food, below average service at above average prices

SE
New England
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great experience with my wife and 2 young kids. No kids menus but easy to get something together they would like. Booths were a great size and it was one of the larger dining rooms on Hanover street. Wish the specialty dishes were a bit more elevated but they were good classic Italian dishes.

PM
Miami
3 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience1

Terrible, simply a horrible experience. Do not go here, total waste of time and money on a special night.

D
New England
4 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall2food4service2ambience3

Reservation for 7:15, sat down at 8:15. Hostess kept telling me they were setting up our table. They clearly were not.

Had to search out our waiter after sitting down without getting any attention after 15 minutes.

Food was decent.

Waiter did his best to make up for super slow start.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience3

I will preface my review by stating that our reservation was on Christmas Eve. I realize that is a very busy night. With that said, our reservations were for 7:00 PM for six people. We were not seated until 7:55 PM after being told multiple times that would we would be up next we continued to wait., this occurred with no apologies made. It is a very small restaurant with no designated waiting area which made matters worse. We were playing collision cars with the waitresses and people heading to the restrooms for the hour that we were waiting. Once seated, we waited another 15 minutes before we saw a waitress. So, at 8:15 PM we Begin our dining experience. From that point forward, the evening was great. The food was excellent the noise level was fine and the service was on par. It is unfortunate that we had to wait an hour and 15 minutes before our pleasurable experience began. It really took away from the evening by having to wait so long in a chaotic environment

K
New England
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

We went here last year for Christmas Eve and had a great experience. This year the service was terrible (waited forever for drinks, never got our second drink), and the seafood did not look or taste fresh (I have a fisherman husband).

BJ
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience1

We had to send our dinner back.
Veal tough as leather, flavorless.
Chicken Francese, (we kept) no seasoning, no small pasta side (like everyone else does). Bread came with plan olive oil. Put some herbs in it !!! We were going to order desert but we kept getting bumped around in our booth. My Mom (92) was crying and we left. She did not eat !!

J
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’ve been going there for over 20 years; always a great experience.

OT
Atlanta
18 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

LM
New England
2 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service. Accommodated our large family party for a birthday dinner. My niece was pleased they were Able to accommodate her food restrictions. We have gone here several times and I never disappointed

VC
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great menu and the food was well prepared and delicious. Very fresh ingredients and flavors were superb! My accolades to the chef ! My party of four all something different and we shared the fried calamari and antipasto. Excellent!
The service was excellent and we did have a reservation and were seated immediately upon arrival. The table was a bit crowded for four but we managed! Thank you. Vincent Capodilupo

AL
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Friendly service, excellent food amd a great atmosphere. It was a little loud, there looked to be a holiday party or 2 going on, but added to the fun and charm of the place. Will definitely return!

H
New England
8 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The food here is fresh and tasted phenomenal. My 4 stars was for two things. 1) the booths must be from the original 1931 restaurant because they are so uncomfortable that my back was hurting by the end of our meal. When was the last time someone sat in the booths that works there? Some things you need to upgrade when it’s time. 2) Also there was a large party for the Holiday(not an issue) but the ac units weren’t turned on for quite some time and the heat in the restaurant was almost unbearable.
The bus boy was over zealous and was coming to take our plates while we were still eating! I don’t want to feel rushed.
Sal our server was great! Top notch!