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Best pizza in Boston?

I went to Santarpio's last night and thought it was pretty good, especially the sausage and lamb bbq. I know this is a popular spot, but what are some other pizza favorites? I prefer a thin crust , wood-burning ovens, and natural ingredients.

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483614

    Here is the latest among literally dozens of other threads if you take a minute to search...

    1. Wood-burning oven? There are very few in the Boston area. Even Regina's doesn't do that. One that does come to mind is the Dogwood Cafe in Jamaica Plain. They make a decent pizza, though there are definitely better in the Boston area if you don't mind gas ovens or coal-fired ovens.

      6 Replies
      1. re: hiddenboston

        Bertuccis uses wood-fired ovens actually. Decent pizza for the 'burbs.

        1. re: Carty

          some are wood ...all new ones are gas...if you are searching for true wood-fired, be aware, there is a difference in the taste

        2. re: hiddenboston

          There is a new wood-burning oven pizza place on Route 1 North in Saugus called Angela's. It is the former Papa Gino's. They only serve pizza (ours was a tad black on the edges), salads (huge) and chicken wings. From what I have heard, the owner ate at an Angela's in FL., loved it and opened one in MA.

          1. re: taxi

            There are separate threads on Angelas, which opened last November, long after this thread was active, for those who want more info - use the search engine, as always.

              1. re: ScubaSteve

                Correct. It is coal fired. Delicious, but coal fired.

          2. Try the pizza at Antico Forno in the North End. Wood burning oven, delicious pizza.

            1. IMO: Sweet Tomatoes on Langley Rd in Newton Centre and Cafe Fiorella on Belmont St. in Belmont. In particular the crust at Fiorella is wonderful, not too thin or thick. It has the most amazing aroma, some of which comes from the wood burning oven, and some from....... I don't know what. Blindfolded, I could easily pick it out from a half dozen assorted pizzas. Sweet Tomatoes is not as unique, but they deliver quantity & quality. There larges are truly that !

              1. I think you'd be VERY happy with Gran Gusto's pizza. They are on Sherman Street in Cambridge.

                1. Arguing for a "best pizza" here is like saying your religion is better than the other guy's, but here are a few favorites of mine: Gran Gusto (margherita), Emma's, Picco, original Pizzeria Regina (order well-done), Fig's (Charlestown and Beacon Hill), Antico Forno, Woody's Grill & Tap, Santarpio's (no more than one ingredient, usually the house-made sausage, eat it fast before it gets soggy, though frankly the kebabs and atmosphere are better reasons to go). It's not great, but there's a charming homemade quality to the bar pizza at J.J. Foley's Cafe in the South End.

                  In a fancy restaurant setting, the pies at Stella, the enoteca at Via Matta, and the bar at Al Forno in Providence are worthwhile. For Sicilian slices, I prefer Galleria Umberto, Pinocchio's, and Romano's in Roslindale.

                  For delivery to the South End, I rely on Mangia Pizza (a decent whole wheat crust), though I got a pie from the new South End Upper Crust the other night and it was pretty good. I'm increasingly of anti-delivery mindset: I shouldn't eat any pizza that's not being whisked from the oven directly to my plate.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    MC, your pizza palette is a rainbow of the city's finest pies. Might I suggest a visit to Bocelli's of Medford in the space formerly occupied by DePasquale Brothers. It's a pretty good Regina-style pie.

                    1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                      Bocelli's pizza looks and feels (good, crispy crust) like a Regina's pizza, but there's something lacking in the flavor for me. Both the cheese and sauce needed something....

                  2. I had a very good shrimp pizza at Dish on Shawmut Ave in the South End this week. Crust was pretty thin and the pizza was cooked in a wood-burning oven. Nice casual neighborhood spot to watch a game.

                    1. I'm a crust fanatic and especially like thin-yet-chewy crust. Gran Gusto fits the bill! It's a little out of the way if you don't have a car, but definitely worth it; my favorite in the Boston area. Take the trip to 90 Sherman!

                      1. Try the lobster pizza at Scampo. It was a signature dish at the now defunct Biba. Not cheap but a very nice treat.

                        1. Emilio's in the south end... de-greased with a wad of paper towels, coated with hot sauce, then pan fried cheese side down, sliced balsamic soaked tomatoes across the congealed mess of CRISP cheese and hot sauce and you have

                          Emilio's double fried.

                          Other than that, I was hard pressed to find decent pizza by New Haven standards

                          There was a place near the corner of mass ave and tremont? or columbus that was excellent but you risked your safety going for the pie after dark.

                          The place across from figs on Charles street was always good.

                          1. This question can only lead to a can-of-worms pizza.

                            But, I'll throw my two cents in anyway.

                            Pizzeria Regina's (the original in the North End). No more than two toppings and order well-done.

                            Picco, in the South End, Their "Alsatian" is one of the best pizzas I've ever had.

                            Gran Gusto for a classic Neopolitan-style.

                            Dogwood Cafe in JP, but you really have to stress "well-done." They almost always undercook.

                            1. I just got back from Woody's Grill & Tap and am...underwhelmed. We've been here under two months and are trying to become better acquainted with Boston and its restaurants, and my husband thought it would be a good idea to peruse Boston Mag's "Best Of" list. They voted Woody's best pizza in 2007, but I don't quite understand why. I really wanted to be wowed by it because it's just around the corner from my apartment, plus, it has a wood-burning oven, but, alas, it was not meant to be. I know there's technically no such thing as "bad" pizza - I mean, let's be realistic: bread + melted cheese + sausage, et al = good meal - but pizza CAN be great and inspired. My Woody's pizza was fine and the service was pleasant, but the crust was unevenly baked and wimpy. It was soggy, and even the bits that were treated to a bit more flame-licking were soft - more like dinner rolls than pizza crust. Also, the sauce was rather bland -- Santarpio's gets a thumbs up in that department.

                              I'll be sure to try one of your many rec's next time I need a slice.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                                That's too bad- we used to get a really nice white clam pizza at Woody's (a year or so ago). The crust was a lot like Regina's (which I love), and the clams were tender, flavourful, and not rubbery at all. I wonder if yours was a fluke, or if they've changed. Too bad about the disappointment!

                                I will take Modern's in New Haven over anything here, save Regina's, anyday.

                                I didn't know about asking for Regina's pizza well-done, but that makes sense. We did make the mistake of sending a pizza there back because it was quite underdone (the people in our group who sent it back are friends' parents and aunt who grew up in the North End from late 1940s on). It was slammed down at our table- the crust verrrrrrrry black, and the lesson was reinforced: at Regina's, you ask for it the way you want it the first time, or suck it up!

                                1. re: sfumato

                                  I don't know that that's always true. I was there last weekend and someone sent a pizza back for being underdone. The staff was really nice about it. Still, best to order it how you want it!

                                  1. re: maillard

                                    The staff was really nice? At Regina's in the North End? Wow- major changes going on there! What happened to the tradition of brusque, tough waitstaff? That was part of the whole adventure of going!

                                    1. re: sfumato

                                      There has been significant (?) turnover in staff at the Regina's in the North End over the last few years. I have definitely noticed new staff during my last two visits.

                              2. im not even sure why (which may be its highest recommendation) but today i woke up thinking about a well done garlic sicilian from imperial pizza in brighton center. i love this place, from the completely unpretentious atmosphere to the older men in the joint arguing in italian. thirteen dollars? feed three easy.technically, i have had better pizza (sally's) but i keep coming back here

                                1. This is a random place, but try Teatro across from the common they have a great grilled pizza

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: agruel

                                    Mistral, which is owned by the same folks who ownbruce17 Teatro, also makes an incredible grilled pizza.

                                    1. re: annlaw

                                      sorry for that slip of the wrist above (bruce17)...meant to relate Mistral to Teatro

                                  2. Ernestos in the north end has excellent pizza, some of the best I have ever had. It's small inside with very little seating and noisy but delicious. I saw people out front with big pizza boxes eating it with their friends and children and with each bite they were oohing and ahhing and I asked if it was that good and they all shook their heads yes.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: macadamianut

                                      Ernesto's is also one of my favorites; I like the variety of combo pies available.

                                    2. I know it's not a board favorite, but i really like Joe V's in South End. The Dish in South End isn't bad, either.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: marilees

                                        Just wanted to put in a quick vote for Emma's Pizza in Cambridge. Delicious thin crust pizza, interesting variety of toppings. Particularly excellent smoked mozzarella cheese.

                                      2. This changes from moment to moment, but for a long time I've really really enjoyed Presto Pizza in Cleveland Circle. The crust is not that thin but it is on the thin side, The sauce is good and the cheese and toppings are tasty. It folds well and has the taste finish of crisp bread. When ever I'm near by I get a slice or two and it never dissapoints. I've not had Gran Gusto yet (and I've had Pizza in Naples so I can't hardly wait) but for my money Presto is better than Upper Crust, Sweet Tomatoes, Bertucci's , Dogwood (it's kind of similar to Dogwood but better) and much better than Santarpio's. I haven't been to N. end Regina's for awhile but I used to like that too.

                                        1. Haymarket Pizza in Haymarket Sq has great pizza , whole or by the slice. Pete's Pub used to be next door and you could go there and eat it with an ice cold beer. Sadly Pete's is gone and now I think it's an Irish "fern" bar.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: BostonTparty

                                            It's now called Durty Nellie's and you can still have Haymarket pizza (thx Bob)..remodeled but retains some of the old charm.

                                            1. re: 9lives

                                              Yeah, I'd hardly call it an "Irish Fern Bar."

                                              It's freshly painted and has some flower boxes outside, but it's still a local place with lots of crusty characters, a few crusty bartenders, and a lot of fun.

                                              (And I've been going to the joint for well over 10 years now.)

                                              1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                I second the opinion about Presto's in Cleveland Circle. Pino's...just a few doors down is excellent, too.
                                                These are so much better than the Upper Crust it boggles this pizza lover's mind that the crowds flock to what's in as opposed to what's good.

                                                1. re: hungryone

                                                  This might be the very first time I've ever seen/heard someone recommend BOTH Pino's and Presto. ;) In Cleveland Circle it's quite the rivalry. I'm a Pino's guy myself

                                                  1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                                    I go to Presto's for plain cheese and Pino's for sausage. I used to only go to Presto's but they recently changed from sliced sausage to this terrible tasting sausage drops or something. So when in the mood for sausage I now head over to Pino's. But I really do enjoy them both.

                                                    1. re: hungryone

                                                      That's cool, I'm a firm believer in supporting all the worthy businesses in a neighborhood.

                                                      1. re: hungryone

                                                        I grew up a stones throw from cleveland circle, and we only ordered from Prestos (and there were nine of us, so it was always a big order). It was never explained why we ate from prestos not pinos, it was just a fact. So i will have to go back and compare a slice of each.

                                              2. re: BostonTparty

                                                Fern bar? Holy cow, I haven't heard that term since I was in short pants!

                                                I think this term refers to the kind of bar which would have live ferns in hanging planters, the implication being it's kind of effete and upscale (the sort favored by "yuppies", to use a newer but still antique term), as opposed to a manly-man bar, which has pickled eggs for sale and no leafy greens anywhere in sight.

                                                Did Durty Nellie's represent that much of a gentrification of Pete's? I haven't been in since the handover, but would find that development surprising.

                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  BostonBob would be the best person to answer the Pete's question, but I'll give it a shot since I was there this past weekend. For the most part the regular day-time old timers don't come around anymore. They seem to prefer the Point. On the weekends it's a mix of tourists, produce people from the market , and a few regulars. While they supposedly now offer food, it depends on who is working. That's ok though since you can still bring in a slice from Haymarket.

                                              3. You can battle Regina's versus Santarpio's all day......but not a bad backup is Highland Cafe in Malden.....

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: LDoll13

                                                  But the Highland is now HISTORY......RIP Highland!

                                                2. I sampled four major Boston pizzerias (slices of cheese pizza) last Tuesday (would have been five but got full) This is what I thought:

                                                  Galleria Umberto, North End: Waited more than 20 minutes in line for a small piece of cold pizza. The crust was soft and chewy, no crispiness to it in the slightest, kind of like thick bread, the sauce was very weak, barely noticeable. The cheese was a four cheese blend according to the people there, scab-like and crusty. Only good thing was the price, $1.35. Zagat's accolades are definitely not applicable, at least to the pizza. I have had similar pizza in my fifth grade lunch room, except that was at least hot.

                                                  Pizzeria Regina, North End: Crust was crispy with a minor chew, slight scorched taste. Cheese and sauce were thin and cohesive, very mild taste, not "gooey". Decent size slice, wasn't very hot, $3. It wasn't overwhelming, but would be interested to try a whole pie, because the ones I saw looked good fresh out of the oven.

                                                  Emma's, Cambridge: Thin, buttery crust that was chewy in the middle and crispy on the edges. Thick blanket of soft cheese was a cohesive covering, can barely note the sauce, but definitely was an herb-y, garlicky presence. Very reasonably priced at $2.00 and nice and hot. Quite good, and I am not really a fan of a thin crust, but thick covering of cheese and flavoring made it quite good. Added bonus, dining room is pleasant, unlike the institutional feel at Umberto Galleria and crowded, hectic place at Pizzeria Regina.

                                                  Cambridge 1, Cambridge: I liked the dining room itself, but was soon upset by the pizza. My first thought upon biting into it was "This is cold." My second thought was "This is quite salty". My third thought was "This crust isn't cooked." That was especially curious, given that it is advertised as being "charcoal grilled". The waitress said it can get cold if it waits around too long. She took it back, and I waited a long time for the "reheated" pizza, which came to me just as cold as the other one. Except now the crust was cooked, brown and cracker-like. And a slice was now missing. And the plate was smeared with dried tomato sauce. Anyway, this was a very terrible pizza. Cold, cracker-thin, brittle crust, way too salty, with sparse globs of cold fontina cheese and scattered gobs of tomato sauce, with way too much basil spread on top, like grass, this was not pizza, this was just poor. $7 for a "half" pizza.

                                                  19 Replies
                                                  1. re: observor

                                                    I actually lovue Cambridge 1. I've never been to the one on Boylston, but I've had nothing but good expereinces everytime I've gone to the one in Cambridge...Addictive breadtsicks at the bar waiting for a table too.

                                                    1. re: observor

                                                      I've had consistently good, though not great, results at the Cambridge1 in Harvard square. Was underwhelmed by the boylston one but only gave it one shot, so who knows if it go better.

                                                      1. re: observor

                                                        Cambridge 1 seemed to be the quintessential minimalist pizza...why get it when you can have a hefty slice?

                                                        1. re: observor

                                                          Oh, you have to have a fresh pie from Regina in order to understand it. A slice off a tepid pizza is not its proper measure.

                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            I didn't even know the North End PR served slices. Is this a new lunch thing?

                                                            1. re: Dax

                                                              Yep, they have them at lunch til they run out.. A great way for a quick Regina's fix is to sit at the bar and get a slice...And, IMHO, a slice of a large pizza is way better than a small pizza...

                                                              And I gottah say, karl S, I think those slices are just dandy...Maybe you need to get them really hot...(Something the pizza place on my corner automatically does for me...)

                                                              1. re: galleygirl

                                                                My only caution was to make sure that any judging of PR by the slice needs to compare to a hot whole pie. Tepid slices aren't the same.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  It's interesting, some places' slices seem to be better than their whole pies, or vice versa. My favorite pizza, Lorenzo's in Philly, is better by the slice. Something about the cooking and second heating. Others don't always work out so well when reheated, or even worse--lukewarm and not reheated at all.

                                                                  1. re: AHan

                                                                    I can add to the list...
                                                                    Haymarket Pizza, better by the slice...
                                                                    Andrea's in Framingham, better by the slice,
                                                                    Brookline Spa, better by the slice...
                                                                    Worthy to note is that the latter two places actually sytretch their "slice" pizzas to an extra large, as opposed to a large, so the dough is thinner...

                                                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                                                      True. Don't know Andrea's. Is that where New York Pizza used to be, downtown?

                                                                      1. re: AHan

                                                                        No, it's in Nobscot. Remember the Nobscot Shopping Center, that used to have a Star Market? In the strip around the corner, next to the liquor store...

                                                                        1. re: galleygirl

                                                                          Yup. Know which one you mean. Will have to check it out next time I'm on that side of town.

                                                                    2. re: AHan

                                                                      Pini's in Somerville is much better by the slice as well.

                                                              2. re: Karl S

                                                                I suspect this, but one would think that if the quality is good, then they would make sure slices are quality...and I would assume they pop them in the oven to heat them

                                                                1. re: observor

                                                                  Apparently, they are served just from the tray. Knowing RP, I doubt they'd go out of their way to interrupt their massive chain of pizzas cooking to throw slices back in the oven. The NE location does a huge amount of baking for delivery to area offices and then events. Fortunately, the only thing they make is pizza there - and beverages. Zip else is offered or made there.

                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                    Yeah, it's pretty small, I bet they are incredibly busy...will have to get a pizza sometime.

                                                              3. re: observor

                                                                Have had the pizza at Galleria Umberto several times and liked it very much. I've never had it be cold, but whether you get it piping hot depends on whether a sheet pan of just-cooked comes out front when you're at the head of the line or not. It's a crap shoot.

                                                                But I don't like pizza to be scorching hot anyway, as I'm not fond of having the roof of my mouth cave in on me after putting molten cheese on it.

                                                                1. re: bachslunch

                                                                  I can totally see being unimpressed with Umberto pizza if you're expecting something more along the lines of the big floppy foldy slice, but it's one of my favorite things to eat in the entire city of Boston, especially alongside the arancini and the spinach and sausage calzone. I'm just puzzled at how they could have gotten a cold slice, given that I've seen pans come out of the back and be emptied less than two minutes later!

                                                                  1. re: bachslunch

                                                                    I was surprised by this because the sheet pan was pretty much new...but the slice was not even tepid.

                                                                2. I rate the pizza at La Ronga, the commercial bakery w/ deli on Somerville Ave. in Somerville. It may not be the best, but it is very good.

                                                                  1. Can anyone explain to me why the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale never gets the respect it deserves whenever pizza comes up in here?!? It's a grand-slam: quality, price, service, and atmosphere. Loads of free parking.... I guess I'll continue to consider it a locals' hidden gem.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: cheesecakester

                                                                      Actually I really enjoy the pizza at Pleasant Cafe. Nice thin crust, good sauce, very comforting. I do think it's strange though that if you order food at the bar you pay for it separately. Maybe Jimmy doesn't like to deal with the food. Besides the pizza, I love that you can get veal parm with a side of ravioli.

                                                                      1. re: cheesecakester

                                                                        I am in full agreement that Pleasant Cafe has one of the best pizzas around. It sort of reminds me of an overgrown Town Spa pie. If no one wants to sing its accolades, that's OK. We'll keep it a secret!

                                                                      2. Cambridge 1 is a certain kind of thin crust that not everyone loves - not the classic NY style, but delicious. Upper Crust wins for me for a more quick-lunch-grab-a-slice type place. Its the most authentic chunky tomatoey sauce I've had at UC.

                                                                          1. re: Andymayo99

                                                                            Confirmed last night that the best pizza on earth is Pizzeria Regina on Thatcher St in the North End. Hands down! AND the Bruins WON!

                                                                            1. re: Andymayo99

                                                                              Yeah, Woody's is great, IMO. Off the beaten path a bit, too, so not every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows about it.

                                                                            2. Fig's - Consisently good, very thin w/rustic crust and interesting toppings. Classico di Buffeti, Oliver's and Bronx Bomber are the pies to try. Gas-fired brick oven.

                                                                              Flatbread (Bedford/Burlington) - Wood-fired oven, organic locally sourced ingredients. Great very thin crust pizza. Try the Jay's Heart. The sweet crumbled sausage pie is also good. For dessert, try the chocolate chip banana bread baked in the wood-fired stone hearth oven and served with two scoops of Shaw Farm vanilla ice cream and homemade fudge sauce!

                                                                              Upper Crust - Very thin crust and it's really a good crust pizza baked in a conventional pizza oven. Super wafer thin sliced sausage is awesome.

                                                                              Galleria Umberto - North end Sicilian pizza that has been around for decades (in a different location down the street) Long lines. It is very good when it comes out fresh. Buy slices by the box.

                                                                              Pizzeria Regina (Thatcher St.) - Very good pizza baked in a conventional oven with a cheese blend. The pepperoni is also excellent here.

                                                                              Country Pizza (Lincoln) - Excellent Greek-style pizza. An amazing crust that you will dream about. Try the pesto with fresh tomato pie. And atmosphere???? It's in a gas station in bucolic Lincoln.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: robertlf

                                                                                Where is the Flatbread in Burlington? I looked at their website and didn't see a Burlington location. I'd never heard of it, but it looks and sounds good. Thanks for the Country Pizza tip; I didn't know about that one either.

                                                                                1. re: pollystyrene

                                                                                  It's actually in Bedford on Burlington Rd. It's in the same complex as Bamboo and Melting Pot near Sun Microsystems.

                                                                                2. re: robertlf

                                                                                  The Pizzeria Regina Web site says they are cooked in brick ovens.

                                                                                3. I moved from Boston to Chicago 13 years ago and all i hear around here is that the chicago style pizza is the best anywhere...well i've tried it many times and sorry to say but there is nothing beats Santarpio's...hand down. that's the first stop we make upon landing at logan.