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Pizza in Winter Hill

Gotta love Somerville. So many places within a stone's throw from each other on Winter Hill; I needed to sort them out for myself, so we tried all of these places (again) within a span of two weeks or so, for comparison sake. At each place, we got at least a half a standard cheese pizza, so we could better compare one to the next. Here's my take. Agree? Disagree?

MAMA LISA'S has very tasty NY-style pizza. Pretty similar pie to Caesar's outside of Union Sq (Somerville, not Manhattan). Probably my favorite on the Hill. Good flavor, crust, cheese/sauce ratio that tends to make a nice slightly soupy mix when hot. One of the great bonuses of this place is they'll sell you a half a pizza, as long as it's cheese (so they can use the other half for slices). They deliver, day and night, and are open 7 days.

Like Mama Lisa's, PRIMO'S serves a nice NY-style pie. They may have the best crust on the Hill, for both crispiness and taste, and make a very good pizza. Good cheese, sauce, ratios.

LEONE'S is classic. Also delicious, but totally different from the others. Very cheesy, very saucy. Bit of sweetness to both the sauce and the crust. All pies (whether you get a "tray" or a round) are cooked in pans and so are a bit thicker than your standard NY-style. No delivery.

WINTER HILL BAKERY sells all kinds of Portuguese breads; sweet and not. But they also usually have a tray of pizza you can buy slices from. It's more the old-school "tomato pie" kind of slice you find sitting out on the counter in Italian specialty shops and delis. It's meant to be eaten at room temperature, and I'm a huge fan of this sort of tomato pie. Theirs is not the best ever, but it is well put together and delicious.

I'm not a huge PINI'S fan. They deliver and are always open (even holidays, usually), so we order from them sometimes, but they're by no means our go-to place. Crust my least favorite of the 5 I've listed -- definitely ask for your pie crispy or well-done. We've had better luck with their specialty pies (veggie is good) than their standard cheese.

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  1. This is great, thank-you! I've lived around here for almost 7 years and have not tried any of these places, I'm ashamed to admit. I've always had delivery from Cafe Rossini and, once I discovered it, The Paddock.

    How would you compare Mama Lisa's and/ore Primo's to The Paddock?

    1 Reply
    1. re: heathermb

      When the Paddock is on I think its better than primo's - by a good sum. I haven't tried Mama Lisa's yet. Personal taste here - when Paddock is on its my fav pizza outside NYC/northern NJ/Pittsburgh.

      I agree with the Pini's call and I'd add Top Speed to the list of good pizza - solid crust decent toppings - the pie isn't huge but its got good crust and a sauce to cheese ratio I like. They are close to NYC style - only with some interesting toppings.

    2. Super list -- I haven't been to Mama Lisa's for a while, need to go back for a slice.

      I used to dislike Pini's but then discovered the slices are much better than the whole pies (based on advice received here). Something about the conveyer belt they use to warm up the slices makes the crust better. It's not great, by any means, but it's a decent slice and it's dirt cheap.

      My favorite in our hood, like heathermb, is the Paddock.

      1. i used to get pini's a lot, but always found the crust a little underdone for my taste and some of the combo too heavy on the olive oil.

        i've recently discovered "pizza crust" (magoun sq, basically across the intersection from pini's, next to cvs)- they're a little slow with deliveries, but i've been pretty happy with all the pies i've had thus far. and they have really great chicken tenders, too. :)

        looks like there was another thread about this place- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/315339

        1. Thanks for the post.

          Where is Caesar's?

          There is also a Brazilian pizza place on the corner of Summer and School near Union that I have not tried...Is that a different place?

          Any feed-back would be great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            Mister Dobalina, Mister Bob Dobalina-

            CAESAR'S is on Somerville Ave, just outside Union Sq, directly across the st from Market Basket. Great pizza, totally nice folks working there. Always people in there eating or watching the ballgame. They've got takeout and delivery.

            The place @ Summer & School is a different place, called BELLA GULLA. I *want* to like this place, but I just can't. Pizza's not bad, but not so good either. There's only ever one guy working, and never more than one customer inside. They advertise slices but never seem to have any available ("I can put one in the oven if you want to wait"). If it's not a front, I've got no idea how they stay in business.

          2. Tryout Bocellis on main st. in south Medford--Right outside somerville about a mile!

            the pizza is awsome!! try the shrimp Scampi pizza -------Delicioso!!
            Frankie Imbergamo

            2 Replies
            1. re: frankie Imbergamo

              Bocelli's (I think it was DiPasquale's previously) was good the once or twice I've been there. In their former incarnation, they too used to have great tomato pie out on the counter.

              1. re: franksnbeans

                Bocelli's pizza is ok, but I'm not especially fond of their crust. It's a little elastic and gummy, not unlike Pini's.

                Maybe TomH's suggestion to order well done would help; I should try Bocelli's again sometime soon.

            2. Great list! I miss Winter Hill's pizza selection massively. No where in the city compares.

              One note, Urban Gourmet (or whatever it's called now, City Slickers?) will probably deliver to Winter Hill. They have a very unique style of pizza with a really flavorful crust which is great if you're in the mood for something different. Oh, and as heatermb said, Cafe Rossini has great pizza and salads(and good iced coffee too!)

              So many options!

              2 Replies
              1. re: heWho

                I love Cafe Rossini's iced coffee. So funny you should mention that. They also do holiday pies that look delish -- deep dish apple, pumpkin, etc. Lola (owner) is a good baker so I bet they are good. Anyone tried them?

                1. re: yumyum

                  I used to walk up to Rossini's on a daily basis in the summer for their iced coffee. It's the best I've ever had without making it myself. I don't usually go for flavored coffees, but theirs are just too good to pass up!

                  And like you said, their pastries and baked goods are superb. A truly great mom and pop operation!

              2. One note on Pini's. through many years of ordering from there I have found if you order the pizzas "Well Done" they are great. Crust is more crunchy and delicious.

                1. This is simply fantastic. Many thanks from these pizza lovers!