Rino's Place

By Amy Fukuizumi · 11/26/2016    East Boston · Italian · $$

How often are you greeted with an exuberant “heeey doll!” when you walk through a door? For us, it’s every time we venture into this family-run spot in East Boston. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-timer or if Rino’s is a fixture of your restaurant list; either way, you’ll be welcomed and treated like, well, family.

Exterior of Rino's Place

On the corner of an otherwise residential neighborhood that for many represents quintessential Boston, tiny Rino’s has been serving up traditional, home-cooked Italian food for over 24 years.

The menu runs the spectrum: homemade pastas with sauces spanning the pages of your go-to traditional Italian cookbook, heaping seafood dishes, hefty servings of tender chicken, beef, and veal (most served with pasta, of course). Basically, if you’re looking for any Italian dish you’ll find it here, and it’ll be delicious.

Lobster ravioli from Rino's Place

But you’ll need to wait for it. Keeping it homey and personal, the small, casual dining room has a no-reservations policy for groups under six. So when you plan a night here, plan to have some free time (read: hours) in East Boston. Rino’s won’t abandon you, though; if there’s a wait, you’ll be directed a few blocks down to Kelly’s Pub to soak in more of that real Boston flavor (and booze) until your table’s ready and Rino’s rings you.

Then, it’s decision time: If you’re feeling campfire-y we never miss the Mellezane Ripieno—the smoky creaminess transports us to a cozy campsite in the Italian countryside. Or if creamy and coastal is your mood, the Lobster Ravioli because lobster, lobster, lobster, and cream. Most entrees also come with a side salad or a side of pasta (yep—so. much. pasta.) so no matter what you order, know you’ll leave full, satisfied, and probably with a bag of leftovers.

Eggplant with mozzarella from Rino's Place

If you’re not sure what to order, we’ve been told to “just look at the sauce!” The high quality of each dish is so consistent, it’s more productive to decide whether you’re feeling red, white, creamy, tangy, or buttery.

This is the time to channel your inner Grandma-on-Sunday-afternoon instincts and arrive unreasonably early. Prime time hours here mean long, long waits.

Must Haves

  • A thin slice of eggplant is stuffed with smoked mozzarella and ricotta topped with fresh tomato sauce and basil olive oil

  • Stuffed with lobster, topped with lobster. Pretty much all lobster, all the time

  • Big, juicy, smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella: It doesn’t get more Italian than this.

Fun Fact

Rino’s was already packed to the brim even before Guy Fieri brought his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives film crew here and let the secret loose. (Disclaimer: We might not have much in common with Guy, but we can’t argue with his love for lobster ravioli.)

Tastes of Rino's Place

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