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If Santarpio's and Regina's weren't around....

....what would be your favorite place in the immediate Boston area for a traditional pizza?

I know this topic has been covered to death, but I'd love to hear what people think is the 3rd best old-style Italian pizza joint within, say, Route 128.

My vote probably goes to the Paddock (Somerville) or Bianchi's (Revere)...

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  1. The Paddock now that I've discovered it. Especially since it's right in my 'hood!

    1 Reply
    1. For "traditional" pizzas, the Paddock and Bianchi's are both contenders for sure (although the crust at The Paddock leans more to "bar" pie than "traditional," I still love the stuff).

      Not that it's a transcendant pie, but I'll throw in a vote for Haymarket Pizza. It's quite good, very consistent, available on the cheap by the slice, and the toppings are surprisingly fresh and well-prepared. It's really quite a hidden gem.

      Marc, would you consider The Dogwood (well-done of course) a "traditional" pizza? I certainly would for some of them at least. The Maple, for instance. If so, I'd put that in the running, too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bostonbob3

        I'd probably put the Dogwood in that blurry area between traditional and gourmet. Traditional because they have a wood-fired oven and the pizza are pretty thin; gourmet because of all the funky toppings they use.

        I have to get to Haymarket Pizza. How late are they open on weeknights? Do they have much in the way of seating?

        1. re: hiddenboston

          They're open to about 8:15-8:30 every night. Seating is pretty limited (it's not exactly "charming" in any way; sort of an open space with a couple tables, and pizza boxes stacked along the wall.).

          Of course, you could do what I do: get your pie and walk it over four steps to Pete's Pub and wash it down with cheap beer.

          One other suggestion about Haymarket: if you order a fresh pie versus slices, always get it "well-done." Since the slices have obviously already been cooked, all they need is a quick heat-up.

      2. The Paddock would be my favorite pizza place. I have never had a bad pizza from the Paddock. I always get my pizza cooked well done. The Paddock also has delivery service. Santarpio's and Pizzeria Regina do not have delivery service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: buffet king

          I should have mentioned that - I had my first delivery from The Paddock not too long ago and it was wonderful - my expectations are always a bit lower when there is delivery involved, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The pizza was still piping hot and the crust was nice and crisp.

        2. I'd say Haymarket Pizza....Do you guys consider Revere and Somerville in the immediate Boston area?

          1. I would consider Revere and Somerville to be in the immediate Boston area. They are in the greater Boston area. Obviously they are not in Boston proper. The question was within Route 128 and they are in that area.

            9 Replies
            1. re: buffet king

              Then I would add the Brown Jug in Chelsea. I don't see it mentioned to often here, but I really like their pizza.

              1. re: Infomaniac

                I was reading about the Brown Jug on my PDA the other day (love that wi-fi!). It sounds like a great place. How long has it been there? I'm on the parkway a lot, but don't remember seeing it.

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  I'm not sure exactly how long it's been there, but I would say at least 25 years.

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    Brown Jug is great. I've only been once, though, about 5 or 6 years ago.

                    Just... don't go there in a pink Lacoste! Even if you're a woman!

                    Upper Crust would be my favorite.

                    1. re: Alcachofa

                      Well, I'm not a woman, and I don't know what a Lacoste is, so I guess I'll be ok! :-D

                      I don't mind sketchy places, so I get the feeling I'll probably like the Brown Jug...

                  2. re: Infomaniac

                    Anybody up for a Hound get-together at the Brown Jug? A reprise of our Paddock success?

                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                      I'd be game for that....wish I could have made it to the Paddock one, as I still haven't been there yet.
                      I'm not sure how the natives would react to a Hound gathering at The Brown Jug, but it's worth a try.

                      1. re: Infomaniac

                        Eh, my local is Pete's Pub, and I've also been known to pop into the Chelsea Walk Pub on occasion, so I'm used to (as Marc put it), "sketchy" places.

                        Not only used to them, LIKE them.

                        We just need to enforce your No Pink Lacoste rule. In fact, it should be amended to No Lacoste of Any Color.

                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                          Thats was Alcachofa NPP (no pink policy), but it might be good to have a contingency plan too.

                2. I think T. Anthony's belongs in that club. Very traditional thin crust (extra-thin on request!), good cheese and toppings, and they deliver.

                  1. I drive by the Brown Jug all the time but never tried their pizza. What is your favorite pizza from the Brown Jug? The Brown Jug was featured on the Phantom Gourmet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: buffet king

                      The White pizza, Pepperoni, Anchovy, and if I load it with veggies I go for the double dough.

                    2. Big Lou's House of Ribs in Revere. Haven't tried Bianchi's yet.

                      1. I like Pleasant Cafe on Washington St (Roslindale?); Tony's Place, West Roxbury' and La Hacienda (East Cambridge). All excellent old-school classic pizzas!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JudyHP

                          I think La Hacienda is in Somerville, isn't it? I've been meaning to get there, too.

                          1. re: hiddenboston

                            Its right behind the Twin Cities Plaza on the somerville/cambridge line. This is where we always used to eat as a kid and although I was not entirely satisfied with my last visit it is on the list for another try.

                            Most of my favorites were covered in the first couple of posts, although I would give some honerable mentions to John's Pizza in Chelsea and Amici's in West Medford.

                          1. Cafe Italia in East Boston is very good! I also like Brown Jug -- I grew up with that pizza! Nice to see it mentioned on CH. Armando's in Cambridge is also quite good.

                            1. I seem to like every style of pizza, but I find myself going back to the Waterfront Cafe in the North End and Sonny's in Adams Village.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Pegmeister

                                Oooh, I completely forgot about the Waterfront Cafe's pizza! Pegmeister turned me on to them, and it is indeed very good.

                                1. re: Bostonbob3

                                  Yeah, the Waterfront's pizza is excellent. And it tastes so much better when you're listening to bands such as Blackfoot, Grand Funk, Europe, Accept, and Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (kidding about this last one) in the background!

                              2. Wow, all this pizza talk without a single mention of Armando's?


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BJK

                                  The pizza at Armando's is superb. As a "pizza joint", I'm not sure it even qualifies. In order to qualify for pizza joint status, it seems to me you need beer (preferably domestic), wine (preferably from a jug), and table service (preferably surly).

                                  Consequently, my vote would have to go to the Paddock. (Based on the pie alone, Armando's is still my going-away preference.)

                                2. I went to Bianchi's at Revere Beach last year. I got a cheese pizza and a mushroom pizza. Both pizzas were pretty good. The only thing I didn't like was that the mushrooms came from a can. Canned vegetables on a pizza is a pet peeve of mine. Why can't pizza places use fresh vegetables? I know that fresh vegetables cost more and don't last as long. I think that a pizza made with fresh vegetables tastes better in my opinion. Just my two cents.

                                  1. Well, Santarpio's and Regina's ARE around and I still always liked Newbury Pizza better.

                                    Now, alas, it's gone!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. The Brown Jug has been in business for over 50 years!
                                      And Bianci's too, although it's not the original one in Revere.

                                      I live close to Regina's in Woburn, so that's where I go now. It's good, but not like the original.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: mcel215

                                        Thanks for clarifying how long The Brown Jug has been around. I know I remember going there the first weekend after I got my drivers license almost 30 years ago, and my friends and I were floored when when we were able to get a pitcher's of beer with our pizza when we were barely 17. I've loved the place ever since then.

                                        1. re: mcel215

                                          mcel215: why is it called "The New Brown Jug" now? Did it move at some point? New ownership?

                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                            I don't think it moved per se, just renovated at least once.

                                            1. re: Bostonbob3


                                              I forgot to add, I am not sure if it ever changed hands.
                                              I went to school with a kid, whose family owned it.

                                          2. Bill Ash - Revere

                                            1. Ernesto's and Armando's.

                                              1. Ooo totally forgot about Ernesto's!


                                                1. Without question, Ernesto's. I would live there if I could. And, truth be told, I really like Bertucci's pies, particularly the quattro.

                                                  1. as a south end guy i have to include mangia neapolitan pizzeria in this conversation!!!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: matt74

                                                      I'm surprised that no one mentioned Nicola Pizza in Arlington. I'm partial to their Margarita Pizza.

                                                      1. re: Maxinella

                                                        I like Nicola's, too, but at times I've questioned the cleanliness of the place. But they are probably in the top 3 for Arlington, IMO (I also like Sabatino's and ZA).

                                                    2. And I'm surprised no one has mentioned Stella, in Watertown, right on the Armenian strip. I originally read about it here, on another pizza thread. I grab a slice whenever I go to get groceries. Even tho it is a very old school pizzaria, they almost miss this category becasue their crust is so thin. BUT, it is not crackery. Big, thin slices, with daily specials that all use fresh ingredients, sliced thinly enough, say, so the fresh eggplant actually cooks while the pizza is in the oven.

                                                      I also like Ernesto's, too bad their crust wasn't a little thinner. I'm always up for a slice at Haymarket, which just about ties Brookline Spa, right at the end of my street, for quality.I have to admit, bertucci's makes an excellent doucgh, but their bakers, chefs, and various locations vary so much in quality, that I ussually just buy the dough, take it home, and make my own pizza.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: galleygirl

                                                        Oh, I forgot about Brookline Spa! I loved that place! Big foldable oily slices!

                                                      2. The Riverview in Ipswich - perfection in 12" - I am luck to be in the vicinity of that shrine to the workingman.

                                                        Rated #97 in the recent Saveur Magazine Survey of Top 100 Food Joints

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: ipsofatso

                                                          Wow, did you bring back memories of that neighborhood place. Great pizza. When I lived in Essex, it was our weekend spot to meet friends. Drinks at the Choate and Riverview for pizza.

                                                        2. No Regina's!!!! Do you want to tempt the evil eye!?

                                                          As a resident of the North End, my vote goes to the Pushcart Cafe pizzeria on Salem St. They basically just serve pizza, soda and beer. They also have wine, but it is not the kind of place where you ask to see the wine list before ordering. It seems like I am there weekly because I love pizza and it is easier to get a table there than at Regina's. I put this place before Ernesto's but second to Regina's. Granted a large part of Regina's appeal is going to there and eating at the original location. And the "charming" waitstaff.

                                                          1. Sully's in Winthrop, Veteran's Road. Great thin crust pizza! Nothing gourmet - just old school pizzas! My husband and I would order a pizza on our way home and eat it by the beach.

                                                            He has a place on Rte 1 in Rowley as well but not sure how it is.

                                                            Since we've moved, we rarely get back to Winthrop for a pie! Yummy!

                                                            1. Francos in Waltham. Some of the best NY style in the area (though that is not saying much).

                                                              1. I love the Alumni's pizza in Wollaston area...at 4.50 for a cheese, you can't go wrong! I'm also a huge fan of Biancci's in Revere and the Paddock (of course).

                                                                1. Armando's! Want some now, with mushrooms and green peppers!
                                                                  If beer and wine are necessary on site, I would go to Cambridge 1, although it's a very different pizza. I can't think of too many places that serve beer and wine with pizza as good as Armando's.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Boatrocker

                                                                    Mmmm, Armando's. I could go for an eggplant pizza from there right now....

                                                                  2. I've actually always preferred Ernestos over "The 2 big contenders" and I dig the pies from Antico Forno as well. After reviewing this post though, I may have to make a mission to the Paddock, which I have yet to try, this weekend. That being said, I have always found the pizza discussion to be akin to a religious debate or calling out one's momma. It's a very personal thing for an individual's deep seated reasons and while one might be able to persuade someone to try something new, you will hardly ever get them to waver from their personal favorite. Such conviction over something so simple seems so Houndish.

                                                                    1. I have some good news on the pizza front: the new Bostone Pizza that opened up in the old Newbury Pizza location has very tasty, new york style slices and good sicilian as well. A nice addition to a very unchowish neighborhood. I would compare their slices favorably with NP, and with good standby slice joints in North Jersey (although Bostone is a bit more expensive). I encourage fellow Pizza Hounds to check it out; I am happy its arrived and would hate to see it fail. Much better than the Upper Crust across the street!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                        Wow, I wouldn't have figured that (I was assuming it would be another gourmet pizza place). It compares well to pizza joints in North Jersey? Definitely good news! Would you say it is better than the old Newbury Pizza?

                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                          The pizza is similar to the old newbury pizza, but the decor is much improved...they did a nice job with the renovation. The slices you get are a bit smaller than NP's 1/6th of a pie slices (they are standard 8th of a pie slices). Also, their sicilian slices have a great airy, crisp crust..I dont think NP had squares at all. At this point I'd say it has the potential to be better than NP...they seem to have a better crust, sauce, cheese balance,;though sometimes at NP you'd get a slice that was JUST RIGHT and it would be heaven, it was inconsistent.

                                                                      2. Santucci's off of Rt. s1 in Norwood near the Outback is very good pizza, and the slices are huge. People love Town Spa in Stoughton for thin pizza, and while not as effusive about it, it is pretty good.

                                                                        1. Went to Bianci's a few times when I was living near there. Liked it at first, but the heavy-on-the-tomato-paste sauce started to get to me. Few times it seemed as though they poured it right from the can.

                                                                          Just went to what I think was Haymarket Pizza last week - dollar slices? Big disappointment. I so WANTED to like it, for that price - the guy was going to give me two slices cold, to eat there. Asked him to heat them up & it seemed that annoyed him (there were no other customers, too). Definately ask for well-done - would have, should have had him throw them back in the oven.


                                                                          My favorite is Vinny's in Malden, on Salem St. They're a family run business (Dom is the nicest guy) - been there for at least 15 yrs or so, & they still have slices for $1.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: threedogs

                                                                            O.K. - hadn't been there in a while, so I stopped in Vinny's in Malden today & had a couple of slices. Still only a buck, still great. Haven't had any of their other stuff in a long while, but the pizza is really good. Great neighborhood hideaway!! (tiny little place mostly take-out - but they have a few booths & a counter for eat-in)

                                                                            1. re: threedogs

                                                                              Is Vinny's New York style or Sicilian? I've never heard of the place. Is that near the Salem Wood and the butcher shop (which I can't remember the name right now)?

                                                                            2. re: threedogs

                                                                              The guys there look sour but they're actually very nice. The guy with the shaved head is actually kind of shy but for some reason the pizza is much better when he's there. They will heat it for you but so many of their customers are in a rush. Their cheese pizzas are only $6. They slice their pizzas in 6 slices.

                                                                              1. re: lergnom

                                                                                Did you know that three of the waiters at Santarpio's are brothers? Haven't seen Nicky in awhile there (I think he still works there), but he's a Rodney Dangerfield type--very funny. One of his brothers (he has a shaved head, but I'm not sure if it's the same guy) is also very funny. The other brother is a very quiet and can be surly at times, but he is the one who waits on us most often and has always been great to us.

                                                                                1. re: lergnom


                                                                                  You're talking about Haymarket, right?

                                                                                  If so, I completely agree. Those guys behind the counter have always been absolutely wonderful to me. I've never had any problem with them heating up my pizza slices.

                                                                                  It IS much better heated, BTW.

                                                                                  I happen to like the pizza there quite a lot. Basic, reliable, tasty, and cheap.

                                                                              2. If Santarpio's and Regina's weren't around,,,,,you'd have to shoot yourself. Thank the pizza gods they are.

                                                                                1. i know that pinocchio's in harvard square is famous for it's sicilian style pizza, but i also love their thin crust traditional as much ernesto's and armando's. then again i still enjoy cafe a in the garage. well, if that's even still there.

                                                                                  1. I am pleased to see that so many have discovered Bianchi's on Revere Beach. A cheese pie for less than $10 is how pizza should be!

                                                                                    And Amici's in West Medford Square is definitely a contender.

                                                                                    Upscale pies and a bar your thing? Upper Crust, any location.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: bizzy50

                                                                                      Amici's eh? I've lived in West Medford Square for almost 2 years now and haven't tried it yet. Used to get pies from Joe Pizza, which were okay, but have been driving over to Regina's by the Gateway Center since they opened. I take it I should give Amici's a try?


                                                                                      1. re: BJK

                                                                                        You should definately give it a try and if you can find it in the search engine, I have some comparisions between it and Armando's posted (I mentioned it above along with John's in Chelsea, etc). The quick summary is that Amici has a thicker crust, but more bubbles, light touch with the sauce, and the Armando cheese has a lot stronger romano flavor. I think they are more consistent than Joe Pizza and a _lot_ less expensive.

                                                                                    2. The Courthouse Pub in Peabody (Central St) has an awsome pizza-thin crust that's always fresh, and a very nice blend of cheeses. The tomato sauce isn't bitter, either.

                                                                                      1. For a NYC-like neopolitan pizza Nicola's in Arlington Heights on Mass Ave is pretty good as is Capri just down the road also on Mass Ave.

                                                                                        For fancier thin crust, Upper Crust in Lexington is really good as is Flatbread in Burlington.

                                                                                        1. I tried Amici's about 2 weeks ago. I got a cheese pizza and a white pizza with chicken. I had both pizzas cooked well done. The cheese pizza and the white pizza (no tomato sauce) with chicken were both very good. The two men working at Amici's were very friendly. We started talking about Sicily and Italy. It was nice to hear them talking to each other and a friend of theirs in Italian. However, my favorite pizza place is the new Pizzeria Regina at Station Landing in Medford.

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: buffet king

                                                                                            We've been to Regina's at Station Landing probably weekly since it opened. I may have to give Amici's a shot, though, given how close I am.


                                                                                            1. re: BJK

                                                                                              Amici's was good but you can't compare it to Regina's in my opinion. I like the baked macaroni & cheese with chicken at Regina's at Station Landing. It's very good and filling. The fried calamari is also very good, golden brown and not greasy. But mostly I go to Regina's for their pizzas always cooked well done.

                                                                                              1. re: buffet king

                                                                                                When you asked for well done did you get much charring? I tend to think of them generally using a lower temperature and longer bake. Even w/o much charring their dough does have a nice flavor.

                                                                                                The white pizza with Chicken is one of the things I order from them, but I get it with bacon.

                                                                                                They make a solid pizza, but I would agree that it doesn't quite compare with Regina's.

                                                                                                1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                  No there may have been a little charring on the pizza at Regina's but the pizza wasn't burnt. It was definately cooked longer than normal. It made the pizza crispy which is the way I like my pizza. I think it makes the pizza taste better in my opinion.

                                                                                                  1. re: buffet king

                                                                                                    Charring doesn't mean burnt. Depending on the flour used, the hydration of the dough, and the way the heat works in the oven (not just temperature) a pizza can be charred w/o being burnt. A well done Regina's and Santarpio's will often be charred. Armando's is another place that has a thin crust, often with a bit of char, etc. The paddock even well done doesn't have much. My gut feeling with Amici's is that a pizza with more char (it does get nicely browned on the bottom) would be overdone, but was curious if your well done from Amici's had char.

                                                                                                    1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                      Of the recommended pizzas how would you rate their tomato sauce to cheese ratio. I prefer a good sauce, light on the cheese, admittedly tough on a thin crust. Any evaluation of the tomato sauces in Paddock's and Armando's, the two places that seem to have gotten pretty consistent approval?

                                                                                                      1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                        I compared Amici's directly to Armando's recently, but it was an accidental comparison and the pizza I ordered from Amici's happened to be a white pizza. The Amici's sauce is nicely seasoned and uncooked. I think it might be a bit lighter than the Armando's, so that might have more tomato flavor. The Armando's cheese has a stronger bite (I know they put romano on the sicilian and the thin pie also tasted like that) and it was slightly more sparse, but it also didn't melt as well. The Amici's cheese was well melted and nicely browned (sort of like grande). The Armando's was thinner and basically flat with a ring at the edge, the pie from Amici's was more tapered from the center out -- its a nice crust, but not super thin. The Armando's pie got soggy really quickly.

                                                                                                        The Paddock has a lot more options for toppings. A closer pizza to the Paddock in Medford is Guiseppe Kitchen. The current chef worked at the Paddock, but even under its previous owner it was pretty similar. The Paddock (and Guiseppe probably still) deliver, Amici's and Armando's do not. Armando's has the sicilian option too.

                                                                                                        In all I prefer Armando's overall for basic pies, Amici's I want to like more, but gave the edge to Armando's. The Paddock has beer, their bitingly tangy steak tips and a lot more toppings. None compare to sitting at the bar at Regina's, but for me they all are worthwhile.