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Good Old-School Italian/Pizza Restaurant?

In search of one of those 1950's Italian restaurants that's stuck in the past and serves pizza. The latest posts about The Paddock indicate that the pizza isn't as good as it used to be. Can anyone chime in on this? If not, do you know of any alternatives? It doesn't have to be in the city; west or north could work. The important things are old-school atmosphere and good pizza.

I don't live too far from The Villa in Wayland, but haven't been in about 10 years and don't remember having pizza. Can anyone vouch for it?

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  1. Sounds like a job for the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale, on Washington. Virtually untouched since 1950, the pizza is great. Also could be Tony's in West Roxbury. We went there through my entire childhood (long time ago) and it's exactly the same -- well, they no longer have the all-you-can-eat salad bar, but otherwise the same.

    1 Reply
    1. re: purple bot

      I second Tony's. Perfect sausage pizza, heavy-handed red sauce dishes, crusty rolls with butter patties wrapped in foil, "Hi hon'" waitresses, and Red Sox on the TV.

    2. I went to visit my cousin in Ashland and he took me to a place called La Cantina. It's very old school Italian. Big salads with very good house made salad dressing that they sell. Pasta. chicken veal and eggplant Parmesan and very good pizza. Lots of big family's go there and it's very casual. It's also very inexpensive. I liked it and would go back.

      1. Here are a few of my favorite old-school places that serve pizza:

        -- Highland Cafe, Malden (excellent Italian-style pizza, decent pasta dishes)

        -- Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale (very similar to the Highland Cafe)

        -- La Hacienda, Somerville (scary-looking from the outside, but a friendly enough place; very good bar pizza)

        -- Bocelli's, South Medford (cozy, romantic basement digs, checkered tablecloths, good Italian-style pizza; also a variety of Italian entrees)

        4 Replies
          1. re: heathermb

            It is on Medford Street, just south of Union Square near the Cambridge border:

            La Hacienda
            46 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02143

            1. re: hiddenboston

              Thanks! Now that The Paddock has apparently gone downhill I need to find another place in Somerville for good bar pizza.

              1. re: heathermb

                I actually had a really good chicken parm at the "La Ha" recently. Big moist cutlets with tasty sauce and ziti. Pizza was good as always.

        1. Francesca's on Adams Street in Newton is pretty old school. The food is yummy, if a little pricey for what it is. I have never had the pizza but other posters have said it is good. Fiorella's in Newton may also fit the bill.

          1. I agree with Pleasant Cafe, although other than their pizza, their other Italian dishes aren't really good. How about Franco's in Waltham? Great brick oven pizza and lots of other Italian dishes. The atmosphere is more updated, though....doesn't have that 50's Italian thing happening.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Science Chick

              If you're talking brick-oven pizza, then I think you must mean Franca's in Waltham, not Franco's. Franco's is the pizzeria/bar further up Moody Street near the Newton line. I think they both make good pizza (but very different styles) and I actually prefer Franco's for veal/chicken/eggplant/meatballs and other red-sauce specialties, but the ambiance is strictly pizza-place (no waiter service, paper plates, etc.).

              1. re: bartleby

                Yes, I did mean Franca's....the one down by the railroad tracks!! Thanks!

            2. Well Polly, for me in Boston it's Regina's, in the NE location only, for an anchoive and romano cheese with extra olive oil pizza, , in NY it's Grimaldi's.

              1 Reply
              1. re: treb

                Demainos in Revere fits the bill.

              2. Thanks everyone for the good ideas. We ended up at Bocelli's, which was on hiddenboston's list. I was temped by "La Ha" but didn't know if it'd be too seedy. Bocelli's wasn't really dark and didn't have those red globe candles on the tables like many places of this type, but it fit the bill, with a combination of dark and light paneling, a dark wood bar, red linoleum floors and old tacky paintings and posters on the walls. It was a nice combo of tacky, authentic and clean. The service was very efficient, and the prices were great: $27 for a large pizza, chicken parm and a coke.

                I'd give the pizza a B-. The crust was very good, thin, cooked to crispy perfection, with a few of those nice big, brown bubbles on top. The flavor was on the bland side, though. I missed that burst of flavor you get with a Regina's pizza. It needed a bit of sweetness and a bit of saltiness. My DC, who had been to the Highland Cafe, thought it was about on a par with their pizza.

                Next stop: La Ha! (heathermb, let us know what you think if you get there.)

                1. Caruso's in Melrose might fit your bill, too. The food is good, and the atmosphere is a time warp!

                  1. I'm LMAO pollystyrene.
                    I've lived in Wayland for almost thirty years and had to think about whether or not The Villa actually serves pizza. We probably average a visit and a half per year. Hey, you gotta take advantage of that B-Day discount, ya know? The short answer, confirming my suspicions, is that they do after checking their website. One type of pie only with 4 or 5 different topping options is the name of the game.


                    Villa Restaurant
                    124 E Plain St, Wayland, MA 01778

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Harp00n

                      Glad to give you a good larff! I'm surprised the whole chowhound site didn't crash when "The Villa" was posted.

                      1. re: pollystyrene

                        Well if the Villa and Durgin Park were on the same post I can guarantee you we'd all be looking at error messages 24/7. Hell.who am I kidding, as unstable as this site's been lately, The French Laundry and Peter Luger's could just as easily lead to the same result :-0)