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Feb 19, 2012 10:17 AM

First time at Santarpio's - Quick Report....and Toscanini's

Went to Santarpio's for the first time yesterday - we arrived at 6:00 and had to wait about 20 mins for a table. Once inside, our table was large and service was pretty friendly. Menu is simple, so ordering wasn't too difficult.

We had two pizzas - one olive, and one garlic/sausage. Both were excellent. I forgot to order them 'well-done' but they ended up coming out pretty well-done anyway. Crust was very crispy on the edge, and didn't get soggy in the middle. I remember reading that the crust here is kind of crumbly, and this is a good description. One of my dining companions commented that it was really unlike any pizza she's had before, anywhere, in terms of crust. The tomato sauce was somewhat heavy handed (especially compared to, say, places in New Haven), but I liked the flavor. Garlic and sausage pizza was my favorite, but the olive one was good too.

We also had an order of lamb and an order of sausage. Both were great, and were served with large slices of bread and some hot peppers. Like others have noted, the bread is unsalted, and also had a somewhat crumbly texture, but I really liked it. The lamb tasted like something my dad would grill (in a good way), and the sausage was nice and peppery.

Santarpio's is some of the best pizza I've in the Boston area. It's not the same (or as good, in my opinion) as pizza in New Haven, although the interior of the place reminded me of Modern A Pizza in New Haven - that old-school feeling. I do think a trip to Santarpio's is great for a quintessential Boston experience - definitely gives you a taste of Eastie, and provides a unique dining experience that can't be had elsewhere in the world.

All of us were happy with the meal, and thought it was worth the trip and worth the wait. So, a good night had by all!

Dave MP

P.S. After dinner, we headed to Central Sq to Toscanini's. Sampled lots of flavors. Things I loved: Earl Grey, White Coffee. Things I liked OK: Wort, Goat Cheese Brownie. Things I didn't really like: Coconut sorbet (didn't have much flavor somehow), Blackberry (something about it tasted too lemony, even though I realize it may not have contained lemon), Brown Butter-Burnt Sugar-Brownie (it was way too sweet, although one bite was okay)

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  1. Santarpio's is a decent bar pie, but not even on the same planet at Sally's, Pepe's, or Modern. Santarp's would be a great unheralded neighborhood bar, but as a destination in baffles me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj

      Why do you call Santarpio's a bar pie? I don't believe that is a correct description. It's a Neapolitan-style pizza, but I don't think its anything other than a close cousin of the New Haven Style. In both cases it seems like you are comparing it against a different category.

      1. re: hckybg

        Just to clarify - I felt that the attitude, feel, and interior design of the restaurant was similar at Modern Pizza in New Haven and Santarpio's in East Boston. The actual pizza, however, was quite different.

        I also agree with FlyChow's comment below - they clearly are not trying to re-invent the wheel, and this is a good thing!

        1. re: hckybg

          I wouldn't consider Santarpio's "bar pie"..couldn't be further. Their pizza is great, especially if you ask for a little extra cheese. I think FlyChow is right on the money. Santarpio's keeps is simple and does a few things very well.

      2. Inspired by (of all people) Zimmern, I stopped by on my way to pick up Mrs. MC at Logan, had the BBQ combo and a tumbler of draft red. Still really very good, and the crowd is peerless.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          i know of no other place where guys named cookie and lucky work. at least not places open to the public, lol. i love that joint.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            The guys at my end of the bar were awesome: Eastie old-timers. We talked about bygone local Italian places and high-end old-school espresso machines. Good times.


          2. I love Santarpio's, but not only because of the food but their outlook on being a restaurant. Dont try to re-invent the freakin wheel. Serve a small menu of simple, good quality food. They dont try to serve everything under the sun like many places, or get fancy with wacky pizza sauces and crust types. Keep it up!

            6 Replies
            1. re: FlyChow

              Careful. I think they now offer chicken and broccoli as toppings.

              Fortunately, you need the signs to learn this, as none of the patrons seem to be interested.

              1. re: emannths

                According to the sign out front, they now offer shrimp as a topping, too!

                1. re: Dave MP

                  I like to do the "make your own" sausage pie - you order the combo plate, eat the lamb & one of the cherry peppers, then cut up the grilled sausage & the other cherry pepper & add it on top of the cheese pizza. That way, you get the grilled sausage taste, the spice of the pepper, & the pizza isn't too soggy from too much toppings.

            2. How is Santarpio's not a bar pie? It's a pie served in a bar. It's a thin, smallish, pizza with a crisp crust. I like it. I'm just saying it's not really destination pizza, and I always seem to get soggy middles as well.

              4 Replies
              1. re: tamerlanenj

                Bar pie is a specific type of pizza that is popular on the South Shore, it's a smaller pizza than what Santarpio's offers up, think a personal pizza, and is cooked in a cast iron pizza pan, cheese all the way to the edge, usually involving chedder in the cheese blend. Hope that helps clarify the distinction for you!

                1. re: devilham

                  Ah, good point about the cast iron pan. A bar pie where I grew up is slightly different than what you describe, but does involve an iron pan (i.e. Star Tavern, Orange NJ).

                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                    Fair enough, for a good example of the species, try Poopsies in Marshfield, quite good, if you ask me.

                2. re: tamerlanenj

                  I've lived in New England most of my life, and I didn't become aware of the bar pie as its own unique category until rather recently (like, ten years ago). The Hidden Boston blog is a great one to read for many examples of it.