We took my dad to Marco last weekend for his birthday, and we had such a good time & great meal!
(unfortunately that piece of chocolate cake is not gluten free)
Marco is a charming little Italian restaurant located on the 2nd floor above Bricco on Hanover Street. We were seated by the window (best seat in the house) and across from the cozy little fireplace. The restaurant has 10, maybe 12 tables, and a small bar that seats 5 or 6 people in the back.
If you have a gluten allergy, Marco does a fabulous job of catering to you. Almost any dish can be made gluten free. Call 24 hours ahead of time and let them know you are coming in and request the gluten free bread. This is the best gluten free bread I have ever tasted. It was served warm and was so delicious! It was soft and slightly dough, my dad and sister liked it better than their bread!
The bread is served with olive oil and a mixture of peppers, onions, eggplant, olives and capers. It was SO GOOD. So TASTY..I was eating it by the spoonfuls!
We started out with the antipasto appetizer, and it was HUGE!! It was big enough for at least 4 people to share. We had a very interesting assortment of delectable bite size treats. There were stuffed peppers (very salty), anchovies (reminded me of the ones I had in Spain), tuna salad, 3 different kinds of cured meats/prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, caper berries, garbanzo bean salad, pickles, olives, eggplant and roasted red peppers. I wasn’t a huge fan of the meats, but then again I’m not a big salt or meat lover. Nevertheless, I tried everything on the plate. The lighter colored meat was sweet, and I actually liked one (under the garbanzo beans). The third I was not found of at all, it was too waxy. I feel like I am being a little too picky here, as my dad and sister both loved the meats.
We also started with a salad – Insalata di bietole – with roasted beets, herbed goat cheese, frisee, hazelnut vinaigrette. This salad was amazing! The Beet were layered with delicious goat cheese, red onions and toasted hazelnuts topped with frisee. The vinaigrette was nice and light and just the right amount was drizzled over the top of the lettuce. I loved everything about it! I 100% recommend ordering this.
For dinner we shared three dishes (way more food than we needed). We had the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese: house-made tagliatelle, classic Bolognese. We ordered the Bolognese with gluten free penne pasta (our other gluten free options tonight were spaghetti and fettuccini – so impressive that not only do they have a gluten free pasta option, but 3, every night!!) The Bolognese was creamier than I’ve ever had it before. When I eat pasta I overload on the sauce, this goes for any dish really (especially gravy), but even as an over-saucer, and being a bit critical here, I think this dish had a little too much cream in the sauce. I did enjoy it very much, but I could not eat that much of it; it was just too much creaminess and sauce for one dish. It was also a bit too salty. I hate salt. I never ever add salt to anything I make and I could taste the salt in this dish. The penne was cooked al dante and was so good, my dad said if he hadn’t been told it was gluten free he would not have known.
For our second dish we ordered the Saltimbocca Vitello – veal, prosciutto, sage, fontina, mushrooms and marsala. The veal was great, but the sart of the dish were the mushrooms! They use oyster, crimini and other more “exotic” mushrooms I did not recognize. It was topped with a large piece of prosciutto and melted fontina. The fontina had a pungent taste and odd smell, it totally turned me off (Note: I do not like many cheeses, especially not fontina). Luckily the cheese was only on top of the prosciutto and was easily pushed off to the side, and onto my dad’s plate. The veal and the mushrooms were delicious, I think this was the best part of the entire meal.
The third dish we ordered was new to the menu and the name is slipping my mind at the moment, but it is very similar to a cioppino. It came with little neck clams, shrimp, calamari, white fish, potatoes, carrots and celery in a tomato broth (order with no croutons to make it gluten free). It was delicious, not spicy at all. I cannot put my finger on the herb used but it was good. There was a generous amount of seafood in the dish and I’m glad I saved a piece of the bread so I could dip it in the broth.
The only gluten free dessert option was a blueberry sorbet. I would recommend this to anyone! It was the prefect way to end the meal; a fruity and light sorbet.
On Sunday nights Marco serves family style dinner in addition to the regular menu. The pasta dishes come in half portions & full portions. The full was a generous size and we left plenty full with leftovers.
The food was all good, some items better than others, but not the best Italian meal I’ve ever had. The pasta was the best part, which for us gf girls (and boys) is a huge plus. Some of the other pasta dishes looked good too and if I go back I would try another one. I do have to say that this is one of the most accommodating restaurants I’ve been to in a while for people with gluten allergies. The waitstaff is so knowledgeable about which dishes are 100% gluten free and which can be easily accommodated to be gluten free, and which you just can’t have (luckily we didn’t run into this problem.) Next time I go, and I will, I will just make sure to mention that I do not like salt and ask for no extra salt to be added to my meal.
Location: 253 Hanover Street, 2nd floor, North End, Boston, MA 02113