We live in a city where Italian food is not hard to come by, the North End has an area called “Little Italy” so you know there must be some authentic Italian food available. However, good, fresh, family style Italian food is a different story. Maggiano’s is that perfect Italian family style restaurant located in the heart of Boston near the theater district. Whenever you come there it feels like a real Italian restaurant with a lot of people, great food and even better conversations. I’ve been here many times, for birthdays, family dinners, and dinners with friends and I have yet to come on a night when it is not crowded.
Every time I have been there we have always ordered some house salads as a starter and sometimes the stuffed mushrooms, along with some seafood dishes and pasta of course. The salads come out in timely manner and can feed the entire table. The vegetables and mixed greens are always fresh and crispy and there is just the right amount of dressing (if you wish you have dressing on the side, simply ask). The stuffed mushrooms were cooked to perfection. I have had some when they are too salty, too dry, or simply overcooked, these however, were done just right, my only critique would be to add a little more flavor to them, but that is personal preference. For seafood dishes I have had their salmon and their seafood pasta which includes mussels, clams, and shrimp. I will be honest, i am very picky about seafood. The salmon is not bad, but that is all I can say about it. It is farm raised salmon which is cooked in a very standard and traditional way to appeal to the general public and does not have much flavor or flair to it. Truth be told, it is a little bland and flavorless. However, it is cooked just right in the sense that it is not overcooked, or undercooked and the fish is fresh. If you are thinking of a seafood dish i would recommend the seafood pasta. That dish is full of flavor and a kick. The seafood used it fresh and cooked just right. The pasta is not overcooked and the tomato sauce has the perfect amount of spice to it which complements all the ingredients together, given that mussels and clams can be a tad bit bland is not prepared correctly.
Now one thing that can make or break a restaurant experience is the service. I have been to many restaurants where the food was impeccable, but the service was sub par, making me never want to return. More times than none I have experienced exceptional service at this restaurant, with kind and attentive waiters who were patient and willing to to go above and beyond to provide that excellent dining experience. However, one time I came with a few friends and their parents and we were finally called to be seated by the manager when he stood in front of us talking to a friend for over 5 minutes and the hostess apologized for the wait and escorted us to our table. Needless to say this simple action of ignorance and inattentiveness by none other than the manager set a certain mood for the rest of the meal. I will say this, later on during our meal he came over and apologized for his action and comped a few dishes from our meal. I think it was the least he could do. Will I hold this action against him? No, but it is a moment that is memorable about this place now and for that reason I would not be able to give this place 5/5.
The food may not be perfect in my book, or cooked in the style that I would want it to be. I am very specific and enjoy things a certain way. However, that being said, everyone I dine with is also particular and enjoys different things. This is one restaurant that I have never had any problems or complaints about no matter who I bring here, and for that reason I find this place to be one of the best family style Italian restaurants out city has to offer. There is bound to be something here that will please everyone. Given everything i will give this place 3.5/5 for food, ambiance, and service. I recommend that next time you are looking for an Italian restaurant to bring a large party to, you bring them here.