The 20 Best Places to Eat Pizza Right Now

Monster ovens. Persnickety artisanal toppings. Painstaking dough-prep techniques. Boston suddenly has one of the fastest-moving pizza scenes in the country. If you’re not a pizza snob now, you will be by the time you finish reading this.

WOOD; SOLID BEER/WINE SELECTION; OFFERS DELIVERY

Coppa

253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com.

Not to be cynical about Coppa’s casual brilliance, but there are days we half-suspect Jamie Bissonnette doesn’t give a whit about pizza. That he simply woke up one morning with a yen to do small-plates Italian, figured a few wood-fired pies might not be bad for the mix, and then proceeded to casually knock them out of the effing park because…well, how else would you dabble? The gloriously char-pocked crust boasts a well-structured topography of air-­pocket-y undulations that any full-time pizzeria would be proud of. But it’s the layering of toppings—in another stratosphere entirely—that remind you: Oh yeah, Michael Jordan usually plays hoops, right?

OVEN DETAILS: Wood-fired stone (600º–700º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The bone marrow, a hauntingly rich tableau of creamy mozzarella topped with thin swaths of roasted beef tongue, a scattering of fresh horseradish, and salty blobs of its musky namesake.


best pizza in boston

Flatbread Company’s pepperoni-mushroom provides all the fuel you’ll need to knock out a Full Worcester. Photograph by Nina Gallant

WOOD; SOLID BEER/WINE SELECTION

Flatbread Company

45 Day St., Somerville, 617-776-0552, flatbreadcompany.com.

There are 10 Flatbread locations in New England, and the concept is the same across the board: oblong pies spun from all-natural everything and blasted in wood-fired ovens built on-site from granite, clay, straw, and ash. What sets the Somerville location apart—other than the local hot sauce available to every table—is that it’s set inside the old Sacco’s Bowl Haven. So while you munch on the long-cut slats—which aren’t particularly charred, but do boast springy chew, crackly edges, and smoky “hearth” flavor—you can try your luck at a few frames of classic New England candlepin.

OVEN DETAILS: Custom-built, with soapstone surface (800º–1,000º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Jay’s Heart, a classic tomato-­cheese with garlic oil and herbs. Punch it up with a splash of Alex’s Ugly Hot Sauce.

DEEPER DISH: The full bar is fashioned from old bowling lanes.


best pizza in boston

Go ahead: This square of Leone’s is for you. That’s right: We’re holding out for the corner. Photograph by Nina Gallant

GAS; OFFER DELIVERY; OFFERS PIZZA BY THE SLICE

Leone’s Sub & Pizza

292 Broadway, Somerville, 617-776-2511, leonessubandpizza.com.

With all due respect to Galleria Umberto, this Winter Hill dark horse currently puts out superior squares of Sicilian, a rarity in this round-pie town. It’s not the absence of 40-minute lines that gave Leone’s the edge, and it’s sure as hell not geographical convenience. But after multiple side-by-side comparisons, we found that the Somerville shop more consistently nailed the suite of textural contrasts so crucial to this style: the deeply burnished, pan-fried crisp of the undercarriage; the salty, savory frico tang of almost-burnt cheese around the edges. Both of which make the characteristic airy, cakey interior more than just, well, airy cake.

OVEN DETAILS: Blodgett gas with stone deck (550º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Cheese or pepperoni. Muster the chutzpah to demand a (two-edged) corner piece.

DEEPER DISH: The surprise on-air delivery during Chris Evans’s 2014 Good Morning America segment? You got it. C’mon, would Captain America steer you wrong?


GAS

Locale

352 Hanover St., Boston, 617-742-9600.

Like the minimalist, 18-seat space itself—with white subway tiles, Edison bulbs, and shelves of olive oil and canned Italian tomatoes—Locale’s focus is both modern and streamlined: enticingly charred Neapolitan pies, each bubbly and blanketed with imported Italian meats and as many local ingredients as possible. Hidden in plain sight of the hordes lined up outside Hanover Street’s red-sauce joints, Locale somehow continues to be one of the neighborhood’s better-kept secrets.

OVEN DETAILS: Marra Forni gas (kept at 675º–700º, but can reach 900º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Cacio e pepe (“cheese and pepper”) with fresh mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, and Parm.

DEEPER DISH: “You gravitate toward what you love, which for me is pizza,” says owner Jennifer Pittore. Which meant closing her beloved restaurant, Sage, in 2009 to follow her passion.


best pizzas in boston

Photograph by Bruce Peterson

GAS

Lynwood Café

320 Center St., Randolph, 781-963-3100, lynwoodcafe.com.

BAR PIE: A REGIONAL ORIGINAL When the lopsided metal plate hits the Formica of my table with a tinny cleck, I have to laugh out loud. It isn’t just the pizza: that glorious 10-inch-round masterpiece of butterfat and cheese so bubbling and hot, it should probably be served with a waiver form. No, it’s the improbable completeness of Lynwood Café’s throwback vibe. The wood paneling and pinball. The vintage Clydesdales festooning every last vacant surface—the dive-bar equivalent, it dawns on me only after five or six visits, of an over-cherubbed Back Bay Victorian.

Of course, the beloved Randolph institution has achieved legendary status less for décor than for its matchless rendition of “bar pizza,” an idiosyncratic style found throughout the region but especially prevalent in the South Shore suburbs. Despite the generic-sounding moniker, bar pie has pretty specific parameters, the most obvious being the deployment of tangy, high-fat cheddar in lieu of mozzarella. Then there’s the crust, which gets its trademark rich, biscuity consistency partly from the liberally oiled metal pans it’s cooked in, partly from all the exuded butterfat that soaks down past the layer of simple, unherbed tomato sauce and into the dough that’s practically frying in the pan. Oh, yeah: The cheese gets strewn so that it barrels up to—then beyond—the crust’s rim, subsuming it completely. In other words: a napkin’s worst nightmare. —Jolyon Helterman

OVEN DETAILS: Blodgett gas brick (approximately 600º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The plain cheese is flawless, but meatheads are handsomely rewarded with Fall River–sourced linguiça (smoked to order for the place) and house-ground “hamburg.”


CHARCOAL; SOLID BEER/WINE SELECTION

Max and Leo’s

325 Washington St., Newton, 617-244-7200, 82 Lansdowne St., Fenway, Boston, 617 351-7001, maxandleos.com.

Let the New Haven expats queue up for Pepe’s when it opens in Chestnut Hill this fall. Until the crowds die down, we’ll be holding court on a barstool at this cozy Newton Corner haunt, which has been quietly slinging superlative coal-fired pies since opening in 2011. Cooked at a blistering 900 degrees in about two and a half minutes, the appropriately charred, long-fermented dough has good crunch and chew. Signature pies come with everything from smoked gouda and barbecue pork (from nearby Blue Ribbon) to pear and prosciutto with ricotta, basil, caramelized onions, and a drizzle of organic honey.

OVEN DETAILS: A coal-fired Earthstone oven that runs 24/7 (900º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The Margarita, with its bright, fresh-tasting tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, and fragrant chiffonade of basil, was love at first bite.

DEEPER DISH: More coal-burnished pizza will be coming to the Hub, thanks to three planned Max and Leo’s outposts—two in Boston and one in Concord.


The List | Best in Crust | College Pizzas | Hall of Misfit Pies 

  • addiez

    Otto doesn’t even make the list? I’m shocked!

  • eshep

    Um…OTTO?

  • Bob Dob

    Pescatore Seafood in Ball Sq. Somerville makes a nice pizza. Pini’s down the road on Broadway also makes good, cheap pizza.

    I question whether the authors actually went to Armando’s – should not be on this list – downhill bigtime since it’s heyday – in my opinion.

    A much better option in the same area is the pizza at Gran Gusto.

  • Swingoil

    Surprised Oggi in Harvard Square didn’t make it.

  • Kaitlin

    There’s an awesome place in Beverly really close to the Depot stop on the train. It’s called Prides Piccola and I meet my mom there sometimes for amazing pizza. The oven is GORGEOUS, the setting is nice, there are 4ish tables if I’m remembering correctly, but this pizza is some of the best and isn’t too terribly far from Boston. Check it out. http://www.pridespiccola.com/

  • Jeremy Martin M

    Regina’s on the list but not Santarpio’s? Sacrilege.

  • Jay Morgenstern

    Thank goodness you skipped over my favorite pizza joint hidden in deepest, darkest Cambridge. I won’t have to deal with the riff raff trying to get a table. Meanwhile enjoy eating crap pizza from Regina’s (seriously?!?!?!) Boston Magazine staffers!

  • AntDef

    No santarpios..nonsense

  • B. D. Colen

    Sorry, no let of Best Pizza in Metro Boston is complete or correct with Oggi Holyoke. In fact, any such list that does not have Oggi at or very near the top isn’t work the pixels with which it is concocted.

  • Ralphie

    BABBO .MARIO must be doing a lot of advertiseing.MISTRAL,come on..
    A pizza truck?..We dont even have to kick them off the boot they could never be on.
    Pizza was originally made for poor people ,that would put tomatos on bread.You guys have made it into something else ,yuppy pies.
    Santarpios is a real pizza .Maybe your pizza list is for a different
    group .Real pizza lovers will find this list way off

  • UndraftU

    How how is Otto not on here? Seriously?

  • Miles Howard

    The absence of Emma’s pretty much nullifies this list for me.

  • Ronny

    Where is Mast on Province st? By far the the best in Boston.

  • Lisa

    No Mast’ restaurant and drinkery? How did you guys miss on this? Very unfortunate but better for us real lovers of pizza!!

  • Edward Freeman

    Upon reading other comments on here, I must agree, Mast’ restaurant and drinkery should be on this list for sure !! If you haven’t tried the pizza there make your way over to Province street and see for your self !! Authentic Italian Neapolitian like non other in the area ! check out the O’Mast pizza for meatlovers and La Dominica pizza for veggie fans ! I am a pizza fanatic and am so happy I found Mast’. (Ps not only is their pizza menu out of this world but their restaurant menu is killer too !!)

  • Skip

    Santarpios is the GODFATHER of PIZZA !!!!!!!! End Of Story !!!!!

    • AbbyandSadiesMom

      meh

  • Jolyon Helterman

    Hi, everyone—thanks for the feedback. As a matter of fact, Mast’, Santarpio’s, Otto, Gran Gusto, and Emma’s all made it through to the semifinalist short list but none of them made the Top 21 in the end. Some of those were big surprises, but the side-by-side taste tests were telling. (Personally, I’m a big fan of the wild-mushroom pizza at Mast’: delicious.)

  • AbbyandSadiesMom

    There’s a wonderful place in Quincy called Gennaro’s. They’ve got an open brick oven and the place just envelopes you with the wonderful aromas. The owner/chef trained in Sicily and his dishes are the best! The pizza is absolutely heavenly.

  • AbbyandSadiesMom

    Mistral? Seriously? Ick!

  • emoney

    what my favorite pizza place ________ didn’t make the list??? This list is BS!!!!!!

  • Jorge McMillan

    My wife and I are going to be traveling to Boston in October and we are beyond excited. We are mapping out where want to go and and what places we want to eat at. We are die hard pizza fans, so we plan on making stops at some of the places and trying out the different kinds of pizza. http://www.chucksnorthst.com