La Galleria 33

A new, old-school-style addition to the city’s longest-thriving dining district
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  April 28, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars

1004_galleria_main

La Galleria 33 | 125 Salem Street, Boston | 617.723.7233 |  Open daily, 4–11 pm | AE, DI, MC, VI | Beer and wine | Validated discount parking in Parcel 7 garage | Access up two steps from sidewalk level
As you go deeper into the North End on Salem Street, the pretense drops toward the levels of old, pre-gentrification “Little Italy.” La Galleria 33 is thus a rather old-fashioned red-sauce restaurant owned by two sisters whose family has run various eateries since the mid 1960s. This spot is modern in some ways, but old school enough, especially on prices — so long as one is wary of the daily specials.

We started with really good bread and extra-virgin olive oil, doctored with herbs and filled with an assortment of olives. (Olives in olive oil is the new table setter in the North End.) Then we moved on to the very modern broccoli or artichoke dorati appetizer ($8.95), eggy fritters of (our choice) broccoli, fresh fried without excess grease. Two orders of this take care of any vegetarians in the group that don’t like eggplant. (An eggplant report is coming up right after the appetizers.)

Italian antipasto ($16.95) has apparently evolved from a flat plate to a bowl of salad. The good news is that the mozzarella is now fresh, and that the salami and provolone are as good as they’ve always been. A caprese salad ($13.95) was a game try on an April visit, but tomatoes will be better in July. We could, at this price, use more shredded basil and somewhat softer mozzarella.

Clams casino ($12.95), however, are not what they used to be. The ones at La Galleria 33 are chopped into bread crumbs without the expected bell peppers and topped with bacon. It’s greasy fun, but six of these don’t justify the price or the saturated fat. Pasta fagioli ($4.50/cup; $7/bowl) is a best buy. The cup is the size of most dinner bowls, and this simple soup of ditalini and shell beans never lets you down.

Now, for the eggplant report. La Galleria 33’s eggplant Parmigiana ($15.95) is as gooey and greasy and wonderful as ever. You can hardly go wrong with a dish like this — until the tomato sauce. The North End has its issues, but no one ever serves an undercooked tomato-sauce dish, so that, too, was superb. A guest had the side linguine with it, which wasn’t bad at all.

How cool is this, starch fans? La Galleria 33 has a ravioli del giorno (a/k/a ravioli of the day). Our visit it was eggplant ravioli ($18.95), obviously house-made, in a tomato sauce with a little cream. It’s worth ordering for the pasta quality alone, but the eggplant filling was not remarkable.

Regular cheese ravioli is everyday fare at $12.95. You get nearly the same excellent pasta quality as the eggplant ravioli with an order of homemade pappardelle ($14.95), wide ribbons with a choice of Bolognese or marinara sauce. I chose Bolognese and didn’t regret it.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Italian Food and Cooking,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ROBERT NADEAU
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: BONCHON  |  August 10, 2012
    What am I doing in this basement in Harvard Square, reviewing the second location of a multi-national franchise chain?
  •   REVIEW: CARMELINA'S  |  July 25, 2012
    After a good run with "Italian tapas" under the name Damiano (a play on the given name of chef-owner Damien "Domenic" DiPaola), this space has been rechristened as Carmelina's — after the chef's mother and his first restaurant, opened when he was an undergraduate in Western Mass — and the menu reconfigured to feature more entrées.
  •   REVIEW: TONIC  |  July 06, 2012
    Bad restaurant idea number 16: let's do a neighborhood bar-bistro where there already is one.
  •   REVIEW: HAPPY’S BAR AND KITCHEN  |  June 20, 2012
    In a year of bad restaurant ideas, one of the better bets is to have a successful fancy-food chef try a downscale restaurant.
  •   REVIEW: GENNARO'S 5 NORTH SQUARE  |  June 18, 2012
    In year of bad restaurant ideas (often done well), this the worst idea — and best meal — yet.

 See all articles by: ROBERT NADEAU