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The 8 best places for a pre-match bite to eat in the North End

Restaurants

From iconic dining destinations to family-friendly spots, here’s where to eat in the North End before the NBA Finals at TD Garden.

The North End’s original Pizzeria Regina is one of the best places to grab a slice before the game. Track turner

Few things scream “Boston” more than a dinner in the North End before a night spent cheering on the home team at TD Garden. Fortunately, after 10 long days without basketball, Game 1 of the NBA Finals finally begins on Thursday, as the Celtics take on the Mavericks at home.

If you’re one of the lucky fans with tickets to the best-of-seven series, chances are you’ll want to grab a bite to eat before the game.

But if weaving your way through the Hanover Street crowds in search of a decent slice doesn’t seem like the ideal way to start the evening, you’re not alone. Here’s a roundup of some of the North End’s best places to grab a quick pre-game bite.

Monica’s Market

Come hungry, leave happy. This place has a line on the weekends for a reason. Monica’s foot-long subs are the perfect pre-game starter and are sure to keep you full for all four quarters. The unassuming storefront, which first opened its doors in 1997, has achieved cult status among tourists and locals alike. Maybe it’s the soft rolls, baked in the basement oven every morning, or the layers of hand-sliced ​​imported meats and cheeses for each order. Regardless, these subs are worth the $20 price tag.

Do you have a little more time to waste before the denunciation? Take your submarine out to the Rose Kennedy Greenway to enjoy the sights and sounds of one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods.

Pro tip: To avoid long lines, order Monica online and pick it up at the second counter.

130 Salem Street, Boston

Ducali Pizzeria & Bar

This Roman-style pizzeria, located just a stone’s throw from the Garden, is the perfect place to grab a slice and sit down before the game. Ducali’s thin crust pies pair perfectly with their extensive beer selection, which includes some of the best beers in New England.

The family-friendly atmosphere and crowd-pleasing menu (yes, they have a grilled cheese Italiano for even your pickiest youngster) mean there’s no longer any need to cross a busy Hanover street in search of a quick meal. Slide into a booth at Ducali, set up some chairs, and watch some of the pregame show on one of their many TVs.

289 Causeway Street, Boston

Ward 8

Double up on a playoff game with a date night? Head to Ward 8, a few blocks from the garden, to grab a few seats at the rustic-chic bar. A departure from nearby Italian restaurants, this neighborhood gastropub serves a variety of New American cuisines.

One more thing? Ward 8’s late-night menu (open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday) makes it the perfect place to grab a meal and celebratory drinks afterwards the game.

90 N Washington Street

Lucie Restaurant

If you’re craving a good old-fashioned Italian dinner, look no further than this North End mainstay. Ristorante Lucia, which the Frattaroli family has owned and operated for nearly half a century, is the perfect place to enjoy a plate of homemade pasta or homemade lasagna (they even offer gluten-free pasta!).

This rustic, crow-pleasing restaurant recently opened its outdoor dining room, so guests can enjoy their hearty meal in the courtyard of the adjacent St. Stephen’s Catholic Church.

And if that doesn’t sound like a quintessential Boston experience, rumor has it that Tom Brady frequented the restaurant during his rookie years with the Patriots.

415 Hanover Street, Boston

Kala Thai Cuisine

Kala Thai Cookery hasn’t received the hype it deserves. This cozy spot, located right across the street from the Boston Public Market, offers some of the best Thai food in the North End. The affordable menu options come out quickly and there’s rarely a wait (even on game nights).

Chef Manita Bunnagitkarn’s second restaurant offers tasty dishes like Pad See Ew and Beef Larb Tacos. And best of all, almost everything on the menu is under $15.

For fans taking the MBTA downtown for the game, hop off the Green Line or Orange Line at Haymarket for a quick jaunt to this casual neighborhood restaurant.

151 Hanover Street

Pizzeria Regina

Would this really be a North End restaurant roundup if Regina’s wasn’t included? The answer is simply no. This no-frills pizzeria has been making some of the best pies in Boston since opening its original location on Thatcher Street in 1926.

Using the same 100-year-old brick oven, Regina’s pizzas attract long lines most days of the week. Be sure to arrive early and don’t skip the Giambotta pizza, which has pepperoni, sausage, salami, mushrooms, onions and peppers on a deliciously doughy crust – thank you later.

11 1/2 rue Thacher

Ernesto’s Pizza

When the long line at Regina’s causes an inevitable sigh, don’t panic. Three blocks away on Salem Street is Ernesto’s Pizza. Blink and you might miss this little spot. But don’t let the quaint exterior fool you: they serve huge slices at the counter, with a fraction of the wait time.

Whether you’re short on time or looking for an affordable bite, Ernesto’s is the place to be with over 20 options by the slice. Additionally, for those who wish to dine, they offer a limited selection of beers and wines.

69 Salem Street.

Daily intake

Contrary to popular belief, not all restaurants on Hanover Street offer red sauce dishes on white tablecloths. In fact, one of the North End’s best restaurants, The Daily Catch, is a cash-only restaurant that masterfully mixes two of the neighborhood’s favorite dishes: pasta and seafood.

Don’t be fooled by the original location’s ultra-casual dining experience (yes, your wine will be delivered in a plastic cup), The Daily Catch serves some of the best food in Boston. Take it from NBA legend Kenny Smith, who praised the restaurant after visiting during the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

323 Hanover Street

Boston

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