Anchovies, A Neighborhood Spot In Boston's South End

A couple weekends ago, I met my friend Carrie in Boston and we trekked up to Portsmouth together for her final wedding dress fitting. After the fitting we came back to Boston, ran errands on Newbury Street, and then hung out at her place in the South End for a bit. We chatted about our upcoming weddings and other things going on in our lives and snacked on tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Before we knew it, it was after 10 p.m. 

Our original plan was to have dinner at Anchovies, a favorite restaurant of hers that I had never been to. And even though it was so late, we stuck with that plan. By the time we got ourselves out of the house and walked over to the restaurant, it was nearly 11 p.m. I was wondering if the restaurant would still even be serving dinner.

We walked in and were quickly greeted and assured that we could, indeed, still order dinner at such a late hour -- turns out the kitchen stays open until 1:30 a.m. -- so we settled into a booth and looked over the menu.

We started with a bottle of red (a bottle of red that cost us only $18!) and some of Anchovies' bread with spicy, garlicky olive oil. The oil was so spicy, the heat went straight up my nose, but it was good once I got used to it.

Wine at Anchovies, Boston, Mass.

We ordered two entrees to share, and each entree comes with a small house salad. I had mine with the basil pesto vinaigrette. The salad is pretty ordinary -- just iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and shredded carrot -- but the vinaigrette really makes it. It packs tons of basil flavor and is just the right consistency. (Why have I never put pesto on my salad before?)

Salad at Anchovies, Boston, Mass.

The potato gnocchi with braised short rib and a melty layer of cheese was incredible. The gnocchi were light and pillowy, and the sauce was so meaty and rich. I was disappointed to learn Anchovies' gnocchi is not made in house, but wherever they're getting it from is doing a great job.

Potato gnocchi with braised short rib at Anchovies, Boston, Mass.

"The Ricciardi" is Anchovies' specialty and my friend's favorite dish. And I can definitely see why. It's a heaping bowl of penne with chicken sage sausage and mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce (for just $14). The pasta was perfectly cooked and just as delicious as the gnocchi. I loved the strong hits of sage from the sausage and the rich cream sauce balanced by the tomatoes. I would have eaten the whole bowl if my stomach let me.

The Ricciardi at Anchovies, Boston, Mass.

We definitely enjoyed our late-night dinner. The portions were generous, the prices affordable, and the food so flavorful and so filling (I was thankful we had to walk home afterward). The atmosphere is pretty cool too. There are lots of knick-knacks hanging on the walls and from the ceiling -- they make for a great game of "I spy." A disco ball sends dancing lights all over the room. And we actually had an old rocking horse (or maybe it was a carousel horse?) overlooking our table. Yes, it was a little creepy, but it just added to the ambiance. Anchovies seems a little bit dive-y and kind of looks like a hole in the wall, but isn't that true of some of the best spots?

I was so glad we stuck with our plan so I could discover this new-to-me restaurant. And I'm happy I got to spend the whole weekend running wedding errands and having some girl time with one of my good friends.

I'm heading to Vermont for Carrie's wedding this weekend! What are your weekend plans?

Anchovies on Urbanspoon