Carmelina’s

307 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113

Back in Boston for another semester of fun and food! The other night, Krystal, Cathy, Katherine, and I hopped on the Green Line to try out Carmelina’s, a quaint Italian restaurant in the North End. The menu had a lot of pasta options, but we started off with the Mimmo’s Baked Meatballs that came with four meatballs (perfect!). They were a bit starchy, but still flavorful and memorable, especially with the sauce.

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I ordered the Carbonara dish, which came with sulmona cured pancetta. Carbonara is a traditional Italian pasta dish that involves raw eggs and cheese, resulting in a creamy bowl of pasta. I’m not an expert on carbonara by any means, but this particular version was a bit too salty, and the pasta was a bit too soft for my liking. The crispy pancetta added a nice crunch to the dish, but it was definitely underwhelming for a $16 dish.

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Pancetta (right)

Cathy ordered the Penne Gorgonzola, which came with gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, Parmigiano, and cream. “It was my first time trying gorgonzola, but I enjoyed the strong flavor, especially with the large penne and spinach in the creamy sauce.”

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Penne Gorgonzola

Krystal ordered the Baked Four Mushroom Rigatoni, which came with garlic, sage, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs. “The thick tubes of rigatoni had a nice bite to them (mushy pasta is no fun), and the mix of chunky mushrooms, gooey mozzarella, and crispy golden bread crumbs made for deliciously buttery bites. It was extremely rich though so I ended up only having room for half and eating the other half for breakfast the next day.”

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Baked Four Mushroom Rigatoni

Katherine ordered the Gnocchi al Forno, which comes with fresh potato pasta dumplings, basil, tomato sauce, baked in mozzarella. “I appreciated the bite and texture of the soft potato dumplings, especially having been in Italy the week prior,” Katherine explained. “However, my enjoyment of the pasta was tempered by the over-acidity of the tomato sauce, which could have benefitted from a longer simmer time. While nothing I tried lived up to its counterpart in Italy, it was overall an enjoyable meal with rich and bold flavors.”

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Overall, Carmelina’s has a huge selection of unique pastas, but they didn’t seem to blow any of us away. For these pasta dishes ranging between $16 to $18, I was hoping for a bit more. If you decide to give this place a try, definitely make a reservation! We saw a few people get turned away for not having a reservation on a Tuesday night. 6/10