One of the first restaurants that we ever reviewed on the site was Mezzo Mare, an intimate Italian bistro in Hull that resided in what looked like an old sea shack, complete with a stone fireplace, three weathered old rooms (plus a tiny private area), and a mix of Northern and Southern Italian entrees that were fresh, satisfying, and reasonably priced. Well, a few years back, the restaurant moved down the street into a new space that was a bit more visible, being front and center at one of the busiest intersections in town, and it has fortunately retained much of its charm while at the same time settling into a fresher space. And while its new location no longer makes it among the most "hidden" of hidden places within the site, Mezzo Mare certainly does remains a hidden gem, continuing to be an unknown spot outside of the immediate area.
While the old location of Mezzo Mare was cozy and romantic, it felt a bit worn and frayed in spots, so the move was a good one, especially considering that the new space, while rather plain on the outside, has an old-world charm to it on the inside. A fairly spacious bar takes up the left side of the eatery, with the right side being where the main dining area is, and another room further back tends to serve as one for overflow on busy nights and is quite appealing with a fireplace and dim lighting. The black and white tile floor, old fashioned lights, comfortable tables, and relatively low noise level all make for a satisfying dining experience that is good for families and couples alike, and the new space indeed seems sleeker and more up-to-date than the old one.
One thing that hasn't changed at this restaurant is the food, which continues to be on par with some of the best Italian restaurants in the North End of Boston, but with easier parking (there is a small parking lot out front as well as street parking) and prices that are a touch lower than many similar spots in the North End even though it feels like an upscale spot. Some standouts here include everyday items, seasonal dishes, and various specials that aren't offered all the time, with a few possible options being an old-school mussels marinara; a delicious fig, prosciutto, baby spinach, and gorgonzola appetizer along with the asiago, grilled asparagus, and prosciutto appetizer; a wonderful seafood risotto with lobster, scallops, and shrimp; a nicely-textured, creamy, and bright-tasting gnocchi pesto with prosciutto; a nicely-presented meatball bruschetta with baby spinach; a pollo greco plate that has white-meat chicken and a zesty mix of lemons, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, onions, feta cheese, and pasta; a huge serving of pappardelle with chicken in a bacon cream sauce; an unusual pappardelle lasagna with butternut squash, ricotta, and prosciutto; a delectable plate of linguine and house-made meatballs with a hearty marinara; a rich-tasting gorgonzola ravioli with chicken; and a pasta and seafood plate that has scallops, shrimp, prosciutto, and linguine mixed with herbs and spices. A few steak and veal dishes are offered on the menu as well, with the latter including marsala and piccata options. Beer and wine are available at Mezzo Mare, with the beer list being just a bit limited, while the wine list has a few good choices, including decent house pinot grigio and cabernet. A few desserts are offered here, with the German chocolate cake and carrot cake being a couple of good options.
If you don't want to fight the Providence or Boston restaurant crowds on a Saturday night, yet want some outstanding Italian food, you might want to head down to Hull and check out Mezzo Mare. The restaurant is an ideal place to come to on a warm summer night when the air is salty and the cooling breezes are coming in off the water. It is places like these that help make the coastal sections of the South Shore so appealing to diners.
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