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Has anyone tried Otto Pizza yet (Harvard Sq)?

digga Feb 3, 2011 05:19 PM

The Cambridge branch of this Portland, ME mainstay is supposed to now be open. Has anyone tried it yet? Does it compare favorably to the original?


  1. MichaelB Feb 24, 2011 08:06 PM

    I tried a slice of tomato-basil last week and it was excellent. I was running between meetings so I kind of gobbled it without really being chow-focused, but the crust was notable - chewy yet light, with good flavor. Definitely requires further research. (I've never been to the one in Portland so I can't compare.)

    1. j
      Jenny Ondioline Feb 24, 2011 08:35 PM

      It was packed at about 10 p.m. Tuesday night as we walked past on our way to the Coop cabstand after seeing Stephen Fry speak at Memorial Church: of course, it's such a tiny little storefront that "packed" means there were about three people in there. My go-to when a pizza craving hits in Harvard Square is a slice of spinach or pepperoni at Pinocchio, but I'll make a point of trying this the next time I'm in the square.

      1. b
        bear Feb 25, 2011 04:40 AM

        A group of five of us tried three pies last week: a Salami, Tomato and Scallion; a Four-Cheese White Pizza; and a Three Cheese Tortellini. We really liked the the flavor and texture of the crust, which was especially good on the hot slice that we shared while waiting for the order. We all agreed that the sauce had a nice sweetness, not cloying at all, and that the quality of the ingredients was top notch. Two in the group thought that all but the four-cheese would benefit from the addition of a saltier parm/romano/asiago in the cheese. Other than that, which is really just a matter of personal taste, everyone agreed that they were very solid pies.

        A welcome addition to the local pizza options, and definitely worth returning to try more on the menu orto grab a slice while in the square. Oh, and they were really, really nice and clearly interested in providing a quality product.

        1. Boston_Otter Feb 25, 2011 07:27 AM

          I had a slice of chicken/caramelized onion/cranberry pizza after the Stephen Fry talk, and was really surprised by how nice the crust and toppings were. Kinda greasy (dripping onto my fingers while eating it), but for a $3 slice, it was excellent. Weird that their pizzas on display aren't labeled at all, though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Boston_Otter
            bear Feb 25, 2011 07:35 AM

            Yes, that is a bit strange about the labeling. Trying to choose a slice definitely takes longer without the labels.

          2. l
            lindy Feb 25, 2011 08:29 AM

            I went there about a week ago. They were really nice and went over all the options since they weren't labeled as someone else already mentioned. We shared a slice of the margherita and a slice of one with potatoes and bacon (I think). Definitely greasy but really tasy. And 3 dollars seems a bargain (compared to what Upper Crust charges).

            2 Replies
            1. re: lindy
              hckybg Feb 25, 2011 09:10 AM

              "compared to what Upper Crust charges"
              And Otto provides the peace of mind that UC cannot!

              1. re: hckybg
                Sugar04 Feb 25, 2011 12:21 PM

                I second all these Otto emotions: regarding ambiance, sauce, quality of ingredient and surprising tastiness, yet lightness of crust.

                I took out two slices--cranberry/butteernut/ricotta and spinach/chicken/asiago. (Needed to ask for the run-down of types of slices of course.) It was nice that the chicken seemed to have come from a real, roasted bird as opposed to some pre-formed "cutlet" type pieces. The butternut squash slice really benefited from better warming in home toaster oven and got more flavorful, as the squash portion was dollops of a relatively spicy squash puree, which wouldn't have tasted fully flavored cold or at room temp.

                Only two personal quibbles are:
                1: Agree that a pinch of salt could help everything
                2: Some of the more creative slices, to my tastes, seem best as a $3.00 slice as the tastes might get kind of "out there" for a whole pizza.

            2. g
              Gabatta Mar 4, 2011 04:11 AM

              I thought the pizza was good, but nothing special and certainly not worth a special trip for anyone not in the area. The full made to order pepperoni pie (my benchmark) was pretty average, the roni wasn't cooked at all and their tomato sauce was pretty bland. My wife tried a slice of butternut squash, cranberry and ricotta that was good. I am not into designer pies though.

              This might be a good place for a slice when in the square, however it is not something I am lining up to try again. Too bad, another mediocre pizza place in the square to join Cambridge1, Upper Crust and the others.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gabatta
                Boston_Otter Mar 4, 2011 04:33 AM

                Anything is a "designer pie" if it's made well.

                1. re: Boston_Otter
                  Gabatta Mar 4, 2011 05:49 AM

                  Semantics...however we have different views on this. To me a designer pie is something with non traditional preparation and toppings (e.g. the Butternut, Ricotta & Cranberry pie mentioned above).

                  The pizza at Regina's NE location are made well with quality ingredients. However when I get my large pepperoni stretched and well done I consider that a traditional pizza and not a designer pie by any means. The 'roni from Otto (and some of their other offerings) was traditional to me as well, unfortunately it just wasn't very good.

              2. yumyum Oct 26, 2011 08:24 AM

                Bumping an old thread to RAVE about the pizza at Otto in Harvard Square. I've been dabbling with slices but last night picked up two pies to take home for girl's night in. We had the margarita and a chicken, mushroom, fontina (white) pie. Both were outstanding. I also had a slice of mushroom and ricotta while I waited for the pies to be cooked. Perfect with the addition of red chile flakes.

                I think this is my favorite pizza in Boston at the moment, although I am a Regina fangrrl from way back. The crust is a thing of beauty and the toppings are top notch. It reheats very well in a hot oven. I've enjoyed Picco, Posto, and Gran Gusto in the past and there is still room for all of them, but for right now Otto has my heart.

                Gran Gusto
                90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                8 Replies
                1. re: yumyum
                  gourmaniac Oct 26, 2011 09:00 AM

                  Agree completely. A slice of the potato bacon has become a Sunday morning guilty pleasure during a drawing open studio that I attend. Other than the Boston Canon (Reginas-Santarpios), I think it's my current favorite (much better than Upper Crust).

                  1. re: gourmaniac
                    Chef Bwana Oct 27, 2011 06:28 AM

                    My wife and I tried OTTO a few months back, and the potato bacon gave us both almost instant heartburn, so we haven't been back. I did like the crust, so I keep meaning to give it another try.

                  2. re: yumyum
                    GretchenS Oct 26, 2011 12:31 PM

                    Yes, I have tried 5 or 6 different slices and each one has been rave-worthy. They laugh when I specify that I want it hot enough to burn the $#!& out of the roof of my mouth. And they do it. Glad to hear that it reheats well, something to remember.

                    1. re: yumyum
                      digga Oct 26, 2011 08:22 PM

                      Everytime I walk by Otto Cambridge, I can't help to think about this....


                      ...Otto's cramped and lovely wine bar right next door in Portland. I love pizza straight out of the oven (high roof-of-mouth-burning quotient) and the Otto space in Cambridge does not welcome eating in, especially without a rough glass of house red.

                      yumyum's description just might lure me in for a slice, though.

                      1. re: digga
                        yumyum Oct 26, 2011 08:49 PM

                        Agree that the Cambridge space isn't as great as it would be with tables and a glug of wine. But I will say I enjoyed standing there eating my slice and watching the people go by. It reheats very well as I noted so you could take a pie home and enjoy with your plonk as we did.

                        1. re: yumyum
                          hckybg Oct 26, 2011 09:21 PM

                          If you are a fast walker you can also get it to go and take it to the seats in the arcade in the Holyoke Center. Not ideal, but you can sink your teeth into the slice before it has cooled too much. And just think, with those three dollars you are contributing to the hope that they will be able to expand someday.

                          1. re: yumyum
                            opinionatedchef Oct 26, 2011 10:38 PM

                            I agree that Otto's is top notch, but have you tried Stonehearth yet? 2 wks ago we did a back to back Otto's/Stonehearth Belmont , and Cambridge One tasting and while we really like otto's crust and Cambridge One's crispness and non--oilyness, stonehearth wins out for us flavorwise. hope more CHs will try it.

                        2. re: yumyum
                          Trumpetguy Oct 26, 2011 10:47 PM

                          yumyum-you hooked me up with Posto and I loved it! i went and tried Otto once a while back & had a simple slice(cheese?) and was highly nonplused. It was reheated there and was dried out with little flavor to speak of.

                          Have been to Picco & Gran Gusto too so your praise speaks highly to me! So I will have to recheck out Otto, probably for a whole pie:)

                          When I was there, I found the view to be quite funky.

                        3. r
                          robertlf Oct 26, 2011 11:45 PM

                          I tried a few slices a few months back. It's good but not great pizza. It's not worth a special trip.

                          1. s
                            scotty27 Oct 27, 2011 05:43 AM

                            I don't know the original, but the one in Harvard Square is pretty good. Certainly better than any other place in Cambridge except Pinocchio's and the take out slices from Iggy's. Too bad there's no delivery, only three stools, and no parking. I wish they delivered!!!

                            1. yumyum Mar 6, 2012 04:26 PM

                              Tried Cambridge One again today after a long hiatus (dining in). The Italian sausage (ground not link style as I prefer) was tasty and the combination of ricotta and fontina were good. Little bit of scallion on top to punch it up a bit. I liked it fine, but the crust is nowhere near as good as Otto's. The obvious upside is the sit-down space (quite cozy but dark) and the option to get a glass of cheap chianti if you want. Wine list by the glass is quite reasonable. Chianti is $7 and totally serviceable, I hear (cough cough). Next time I have a craving for pizza in the Square I'll hit up Otto again.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: yumyum
                                CookieLee Mar 6, 2012 05:10 PM

                                Pretty soon, Otto is opening a 60 seat restaurant in Coolidge Corner.

                                1. re: CookieLee
                                  T.Clark Mar 6, 2012 05:22 PM

                                  Should be similar to their second location in Portland Just south from the original on Congress. I like it better than the original, it has a very fun vibe.

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