La Groceria: The North End in Your Own Backyard

Let’s face it, we all love the charm and history of the North End but trying to park and get seated on a weekend night can be quite a challenge. La Grocreria on Main Street in Central Square provides amazing Italian food and large portions with all the conveniences of free parkingin other words, it gives you plenty of reasons to save the North End for a less hectic week day night.

La Groceria is a family affair with three generations of the Mastromauro family working there for over 30 years. Many of the staff have been there for almost as long, adding to the extended family atmosphere. Our server had worked there for 17 years and doted on us like a mother hen. She amused us with stories of her children and it was quite obvious that she loved her job and was well informed about the menu. Watching her joking interactions with the owner, it was equally obvious that she was more than just an employee.

Ordinarily, I stay away from ordering pasta at restaurants. I figure I can make pasta at home, but La Groceria offers more than the traditional spaghetti and meatballs.

As you walk in, you are greeted by the antipasto bar filed with an assortment of Italian specialties such as: eggplant rotini, bean salad and grilled apples. The lobster tank beckons you and allows you to pick out your dinner on the spot. The dessert case was filled with amazing treats that forces you choose your meal with dessert in the back of your mind.I couldn’t help but eaves drop on the other customers as I looked over the menu. Everyone there seemed to be a regular and had nothing but great things to say about the food they serve. The owners seemed to know everyone and everyone seemed to know them. Customers were greeted with hugs and they would even sit down with the diners.

When I asked for a recommendation from a fellow patron, one gentleman told me that “you can’t go wrong, it is just matter of what you want to eat”. He claims to have never had the same dish twice and couldn’t even pick a favorite.

We started with the bruschetta which had chopped tomatoes and melted cheese. Although it was fantastic, I must say the best part was the bread. Nice and crunchy on the outside, light and airy on the inside. Not the thick and doughy version of bread that some places try to pass off as traditional Italian bread.

The seafood risotto was a fabulous choice. Risotto is something I have never been able to master and it is nice to know that now I don’t have to. It was perfectly cheesy with broccoli that added a nice crunch. Grilled sea scallops were on top and a ring of fresh mussels were the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Topped off with a slice of decadent chocolate mousse cake, it was a meal to remember. The quality was enough to make me reconsider the troubles of getting to the North End.

LaGroceria serves lunch and dinner seven days a week and provides catering for small and large groups.

853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA
or (617) 876-4162

October 11, 2005
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