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pizza in Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Malden -- where to go?

I keep reading about Armando's. Are there any pizza places in these four towns that meet or beat their pizza? Is Leone's in Somerville as good? Or Pisa Pizza in Malden? Any others?

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    1. I think Emma's and Il Panino in Cambridge are better than Armandos, which is good. I also like Cambridge One, and though I have mixed impressions of Di Mio, it's worth a try. Dial a Pizza may offer the best delivery in the area. I have not been to the places you mention.

      1. I have been trying all week to get around to reviewing the pies I tried last weekend between Armando's and Amici's (in west medford).

        The quick summary is that Armando's had a thinner pie, with only the rim slightly pinched up. It was nicely charred on the top and bottom, with a slightly more fermented flavor. The crust didn't have hardly any bubbles at all. The cheese tended to slide off and was both granular, plus strongly flavored of romano. All veggies were sauted and not baked raw, the sausage was cut thinly but in long pieces on a slicer. I am not a big pepperoni fan, but have always thought this is the way to go at Armando's and I still think that way it was quite tasty. After about 20 minutes eating, both pies we had got soggy. Sauce is nicely seasoned so you know its there, but not overpowering.

        The pie from Amici's was a white pie with bacon and chicken. I was impressed that they used fresh garlic, without it being overpowered or burned. The crust was slightly thicker than Armando's, but tapered -- very thin in the middle and thicker toward the edges. It didn't tase as aged as Armando's, had lots of bubbles, and was nicely browned (almost charred on the bottom). The cheese held together, without being rubbery -- no romano at least in comparision to Armando's. With the white pie I didn't have their sauce, but in general I really like their sauce and its somewhat similar to how Santarpio's sauces the pizza.

        Overall the edge went to Armando's and its definately a more straightforward NY pizza. I am going to keep trying with Amici's and ask them to stretch it a bit thinner next time. I prefer it to Guiseppe's which you are aware of.

        Neither offers beer, just corner pizza shops.

        1. How about the new outpost of Regina's in Medford? yumyum wrote a favorable review just this past week - beer and wine are available, too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: a l i c e

            All right. Now you got me thinking... :-D

          2. Both Leone's and Armando's offer Sicilian slices. Both pretty good, although I think I prefer the thin-crust at Armando's and go more to pinocchio's for sicilian.

            One place that doesn't get mentioned too much around here is La Ronga, which is most notable for its prices, but the pizza is pretty good. Its more of a Saturday-afternoon kind of thing.

            I have had the pizza from Pisa at a friends house and enjoyed it, but its been too long to give it a honest review. Joe Pizza in Medford (West Medford and on Salem St) is a slightly higher-end pizza shop and they definately use good quality ingredients.

            I am not a huge fan of Emma's (either the original or the Kendall Sq version), but they do have a wider variety of toppings... as does Cambridge One and Za in Arlington. If you want something completely different, PicNic on the corner of Broadway and Main in Somerville offers Brazilian toppings. Crust is sort of between greek and NYC style.

            1. I love Za in Arlington (Mass Ave, before the theatre). They focus on seasonal fresh ingredients, going as local as they can. They only serve salads, pizzas, and dessert (wine and beer too), but they're super flexible about toppings and special dietary needs. And the manager there is teriffic -- very attentive. I've never had a bad meal there, and we go a lot since we live around the corner. Of course, I'm a sucker for wood fired pizza of mostly any denomination, so...

              As for Emma's -- I love them too, but Za is a bit cheaper. Emma's does have the rockingest spicy rosemary sauce, but I'd avoid the overly-sweet carmelized onions.

              2 Replies
              1. re: litchick

                The carm. onions at Emma's are sweet, but if you balance them out with that rosemary sauce and spicy sausage, they make a nice contrast.

                1. re: litchick

                  Za is totally wonderful. Our waitress was disorganized, but we were in a rush, and I think she was new and flustered. I can't say enough about that place. the pizzas are creative and delicious.

                2. I love Emmas. My favorite thin-crust pizza anywhere. Variety and quality of toppings are excellent.

                  1. Apologize for the extra posting, but I noticed I received photos of the above mentioned pizzas and figured I would include them for the curious.

                    Amici's large white with chicken and bacon


                    Armando's large sausage w/extra cheese


                    Armando's small works

                    1. Definately Emmas--- the absolute best-- I'm a native New Yorker where there truly is the best pizza--- Emmas makes me weep for home!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Salbert

                        I'm back in my native UK and eating pizza here generally makes me weep for Emma's !!

                      2. I'm a huge fan of Pisa Pizza, it's a thin crust. Just their cheese for me though. :)

                        1. Socrates Newtowne Grill is another great old school ny-ish pizza. Cheap too. Probably not quite at Armando's level, but same style.

                          In the new school style, I really like Area 4 and A4.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jajjguy

                            I've enjoyed the Newtowne Grille (on Mass Ave) pizza quite a bit over the past few years. Thanks to the Chowhounder (can't remember the name) who recommended it on another thread about neighborhood family pizzerias.

                            1. re: KWagle

                              for what it is, they definitely punch above their weight

                          2. People have posted some good suggestions already. Armando's I've liked in the past but haven't been in a while. It's best eaten in the shop as I've found that the crust becomes a bit too soggy from the condensation in the box by the time I get home. I think itaunas' review of Armando's is a pretty accurate. Leone's for Sicilian is very good and the staff there are super friendly. It's a counter place without seating so you have to take that into consideration. I had Wellingtons in Medford recently which was a decent pie as is Joe Pizza in W. Medford.

                            For really good pizza, in a nice small place with good beer options, I would definitely agree with jajjguy - A4 Pizza (the Somerville branch of Area 4 in Kendall Sq) is the place to go. Their pizza is much more Neopolitan style than any of the others (I consider Armando's to be close to NYC style).

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: alsaman

                              Used to frequent Armando's but there was a downturn in quality many moons ago. But prompted by this old thread, I revisited last week and can't say it merited a return visit. Pretty dried out crust, rancid cheese on the Caesar salad.

                              We got Pescatore on Thursday. Large sausage and broccoli rabe and a ceasar salad - both outstanding. I mention the day because the pizza always seems better there on Thursday than any other day of the week. Different pizza maker perhaps?

                              Also like Pini's for economical old school and A4.

                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                I am willing to give Pescatores another try on a Thursday night based on your report. I didn't find Armando's to be worth the trip.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  I'll look forward to your review. It can be a little hit or miss but it was really delicious the other night - hope it's a hit for you too.

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    So, Bob, can you compare Pescatore's to, say, Armando's, style-wise? Crust thickness, sauce, etc.? My husband is looking for a decent thin-crust Italian-American cheese pizza with a sauce that's not too sweet or too herby, and tangy cheese. Armando's and Newtowne are fine, but he's still searching.

                                    1. re: bear

                                      Pescatore is thin like Armando, sauce savory not sweet, good amount of garlic. Cheese appears to be a mix of Mozzarella and something else. It's probably worth a shot.

                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                        Thanks, Bob. Definitely worth trying. Maybe later in the week, though, on a Thursday.

                                2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  pini's is the kind of pizza i grew up with in new jersey. i now live just up the hill from pini's, so when i have a craving, i drop by for a slice -- a bargain @ $2.50 (drop the change in the tip jar, so call it $3:) for a quarter pie.

                                3. re: alsaman

                                  Living down the street from A4, that's part of our primary pizza trio.

                                  The other most common would be City Slicker, a bit closer to Porter Sq. Not a destination spot by any means, I view it as a solid cut above your standard House of Pizza and I'm glad it's nearby. The pizzas there are like a hybrid of bar pies and greek pizza, for lack of a better description.

                                  When we order delivery we tend to do Jumbos. Not the greatest by any means, however they have some pizzas that really hit the spot when one is in an altered state or recovering from one. Not surprising, it doesn't take a genius to look at their menu and exclaim, "stoner food!"

                                  Pinis is definitely #2 on our delivery list, for when we want something a bit more standard-y, and then we dabble in the others now and then.

                                4. I'll give a thumbs up for A4 too. I don't even like pizza, but enjoyed the pie I had there with a friend when we stopped by for lunch.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: kobuta

                                    I have to be honest, I am no fan of Area Four's pizzas. They are obviously made with care, but it seems like a simulacrum of a real pizza. It has the intentionally misshapen look of a Neapolitan pizza , but while the crust is terrific the bottom is crispy enough, likely because their oven isn't hot enough. I can't speak for all of their pizzas, but just two days ago I got one pizza with caramelized onions, walnuts, and gorgonzola cheese. It combined three sweet, nutty ingredients to make something that was overwhelming. The other pizza was topped with achovies, capers, olives and a salty cheese, with only a little tomato sauce and no discernible chili --- neither the acidity nor the spice was nearly enough to cut through the overwhelming saltiness. I like each of those ingredients individually, but it's as if someone drew up a list of pizza ingredients and put all the ingredients with the same flavor profiles on the same pizza. That is not the way to cook! Stick to Emma's or Cambridge 1, or Otto's . . . or even Beauty's or Pizza Pie'er.

                                    1. re: lipoff

                                      Are you referring to Area Four or A4 Pizza Bar? Not a huge (any?) difference, but they're not the same.

                                      Also, either way, Emmas & Cambridge 1 shouldn't even be viewed as a direct comparison. The pizza styles are radically different.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        I have only been to Area Four. I agree --- Area Four reminds me most of Max & Leo's in Newton, although Max & Leo's has a hotter oven and more balanced recipes. But I do think that Emma's and Cambridge 1, even if they use different methods are in the same register of "chic pizza" that Area Four covers --- Beauty's and Pizza Pie'er are much more like normal American pizza, just done with fresh ingredients, care and attention.

                                        1. re: lipoff

                                          I don't think that "chic pizza" is a fair genre to use as a comparison. Emmas & C1 are just completely different animals.
                                          For instance, I would *never* say "Hmm, I want pizza. Emmas or Area Four?" - instead I would decide that I'm in the mood for cracker crust pizza or a more neopolitan pie.

                                          Fully agree on the other two - they fall squarely in the standard american takeout/delivery pizza.

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            Agree. I really don't think of Cambridge 1 as pizza at all, but I like it quite a lot.

                                      2. re: lipoff

                                        I make gorgonzola and walnut pies occasionally. I'll have to try it with caramelized onions at the Xmas holiday beach party. And there's nothing worse than pizza made in an oven that's not hot enough. That's why ours can regulate up to 900dF. :D

                                    2. Hate to answer a question with a question, but has anyone been to Scissors & Pie in Cambridge since they opened? There was a lot of talk about the obscenely high prices, but I haven't heard anything since.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                        Aren't they on Newbury Street in Boston? Or have they also opened a Cambridge location?

                                      2. I really like La Hacienda pizza. I wish we hasd someplace like that in the burbs, can't find any decent pizza around here...Concord area

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: momoftwo

                                          That reminds me that we still haven't tried La Hacienda. My son likes it, too.

                                        2. No love for Gran Gusto? Or is that to far to the Arlington side of things?