A lunch bargain in the North End
by Liz Zack
Snuggled among fish markets and imported-candy stores on Salem Street in
the North End, Rabia's Restaurant isn't cheap at dinnertime, but it does have
one of the best lunch deals in this neighborhood. Half a dozen entrées
are available for $5, including eggplant marinara, pesto penne, and clam
marinara sauce over linguine, with whole clams peeking through the sauce.
Another great choice is the Italian-American delicacy of linguini and
meatballs; Rabia's version strikes a balance between a slightly bitter sauce
and slightly sweet meatballs.
The lunches are generously portioned. The size of the pasta plates ensures
some left over for lunch tomorrow, and the tricolored tortellini soup ($2.95)
is served in a bowl so large it wouldn't fit in a single cabinet in my kitchen.
For a few dollars more, another winner is the warm spinach salad with
portobello mushrooms and huge slabs of roasted red peppers marinated in a
perfectly balanced vinaigrette ($8.95).
Under a vine-covered ceiling, servers clad all in black wait on you in the
refreshingly overattentive manner usually reserved for big-paying dinnertime
customers. When it's time to leave, you'll realize the hardest part of this
meal -- besides finishing it all -- is getting up and going back to work.
Rabia's, located at 73 Salem Street, in the North End, is open every day
for lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and for dinner until
11 p.m. Call (617) 227-6637.
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