Although pasta out of the box isn't the worst thing in the world, there really is nothing like fresh pasta. When it is made--and cooked--correctly, its texture and flavor can be very tough to beat, especially when combined with fresh versions of various sauces, meats, seafood, veggies, herbs, and spices. And yes, perhaps it isn't completely kosher to extol the virtues of pasta when so many are trying to avoid it, but what they are serving up at Abbondanza, an old-fashioned Italian eatery a few miles north of Boston, might make even the most rabid followers of today's low-carb and high-fiber diets revert back to their old ways.
Abbondanza, which is located on Main Street just west of the downtown area of Everett (and on the eastern edge of the red-hot "Fermentation District"), looks like a very small restaurant from the outside, but is actually relatively spacious, though it was much more so when the basement room was used for additional seating (now it is used mostly for private events). The dining area is a bit on the romantic side, with dark, moody lighting giving a cozy overall feel to the space, and a little bar near the entrance as well as a setup in the dining area displaying a number of wine bottles gives the space the feel of an old-world Italian cafe.
As previously mentioned, the pastas at Abbondanza are wonderful, with nearly all of them being house-made and having the type of chewy consistency that you can only get from freshly-made pasta. Options for pasta lovers include a bolognese with a very hearty sauce, ravioli with a sweet-tasting plum tomato sauce and fresh basil, and a wonderful rigatoni dish with pancetta, roasted red peppers, and onions in a spicy red sauce. For those who might be looking for some meat with their pasta, Abbondanza does have a variety of options, with the tender veal parmigiana being among the the best in the entire Boston area, the frutti di mare being overloaded with calamari, clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp, and the chicken saltimbocca being a savory dish that includes provolone, prosciutto, and mushrooms. Some of the specials here are, well, special, with a few being better than nearly anything on the regular menu. The beef braciole, for instance, is outstanding, with rolled up beef that is fall-apart tender, and because the beef is on the bone, lots of extra flavor seeps into the meat. And the lamb chops are similarly tender, and have the type of rich flavor that you can only get from this type of meat. It is easy to forget about appetizers with all of the choices available for main courses (and salads do come with the meals), but Abbondanza does offer a solid antipasto along with good takes on Pasta fagioli and minestrone soups. Drinks include a few beer options, a number of wines, and a nearly perfect house-made sangria. As with many Italian restaurants, save room for dessert, or perhaps box up half of your dinner so you can sample some of the outstanding sweets here such as the old-school spumoni or the incredibly rich tiramisu.
While Everett is not typically a destination spot for diners, Abbondanza should definitely be one dining place to seek out, especially if you are a fan of fresh pasta. The restaurant is a fairly short distance from the busy Revere Beach Parkway, so it is easy to find, and parking is generally no problem at all, and it is also one of the closest dining spots to the breweries and distilleries in the aforementioned Fermentation District, so lovers of beer and spirits will definitely want to keep this one on their list.
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