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?
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
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.
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.
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.