Boston Restaurant Blog -- June, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
A couple of Saturdays ago, we took a ride up to Manchester, NH, to see a Manchester Fisher Cats game (minor league baseball). We had planned on getting to Manchester early, getting a quick dinner, than heading to the ballpark. So with that in mind, we drove downtown and stopped off at an Italian restaurant called Piccola Italia Ristorante about two hours before the start of the game.
Piccola Italia had the look of a romantic, slightly upscale Italian dining spot, with a colorful interior, comfortable tables spaced out nicely, and an old-world feel to it. Service was friendly and efficient, prices were mostly good, if a bit high, and the place was quiet and calm. Based on all of this, we felt confident that the food at Piccola Italia would be satisfying and that we could head to the ballpark knowing that we had found a great little dining spot.
Unfortunately, the food at Piccola Italia didn't quite live up to our expectations. The minestrone soup was rather bland, and the vegetables in it seemed to be undercooked. The tortellini soup was even more bland than the minestrone, though the pasta in it was tasty enough. And our meals were not much more than average, as the penne in salsa rosa (penne tossed in pink sauce with parmigiana and romano cheese had a slightly watery sauce and the pasta didn't seem fresh, while the Linguini white clam sauce (chopped clams, garlic and olive oil) had little taste and, once again, the pasta seemed like it might have come out of a box.
This was another one of those places that I really wanted to like, as it had good atmosphere and service, and it felt like one of those old, unpretentious downtown restaurants that you can't seem to find much in the big cities anymore. But in the end, the food was just so-so, making it a trifecta of average Italian restaurants for me over the past couple of weeks (the other two being GioMatti in Braintree and Vinny T's in Lexington). It seems as if I am due for a really good Italian meal one of these days; perhaps it is high time to head into the North End or perhaps East Boston in the days to come...
If you are looking for the address for Piccola Italia, here it is: Piccola Italia Ristorante, 815 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, 03101. Phone: (603) 606-5100.
I agree. I'm a Manchester denizen and I loved Piccola at first. However, every year the place gets more expensive and the food becomes more bland (and comes in smaller portions). I don't know if this downward slide is due to the divorce of the owners but I hope they manage to turn it around. They'll need to get some new employees first though. All the waitstaff I've had there lately are TERRIBLE. I won't be back unless I hear that that place returns to its heyday.
Posted on 5/21/90
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