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.
Edited by Jolyon Helterman and Christopher Hughes
This list was last updated in July 2018 to reflect closures of a few spots, and additional restaurants from a couple pizza pros.
Five years ago, this would’ve been a much different story.
Back then, the old guard firmly ruled the roost, as it had for generations. You were either Team Santarpio’s or Team Regina. Galleria Umberto for Sicilian. The South Shore suburbs for bar-style. For fancy date-night ’za, you’d change it up with Emma’s or Figs—maybe Picco, if you’d heard of it. With a few notable exceptions, the rest fell under the neighborhood-pizzeria umbrella: bad, good, occasionally almost great. But nothing worth crossing the city for.
What a difference a half-decade makes. In five short years, Boston has spawned dozens of sophisticated new players—armed with powerhouse ovens, serious technical chops, extended dough-fermentation times, and lofty mission statements. In 2011, Posto became the first Boston-area restaurant to receive the prestigious Vera Pizza Napoletana certification—a finicky list of mandates governing everything from tomato provenance to mixer speed. And in 2013, Pastoral’s Todd Winer started down the same path by earning his VPN chef’s certification.
To survey the field properly, then, we’d have to reevaluate them all. So for six weeks we carb-loaded like marinara-seeking marathoners. We argued like siblings over minutiae such as sauce piquancy. One Saturday, we made a panicked dash to re-resample seven fallen cult favorites, an endeavor that resurrected one. To rate Boston’s finest crusts, we geeked out with the former pizza editor of Serious Eats, a commercial baker, and a Cook’s Illustrated dough nerd.
And wouldn’t you know it: A funny thing happens to an exclusive club when you revoke everyone’s membership and make them all reapply. Stripped of sentimental sanctities, a genre-busting meritocracy emerges—and some old favorites don’t make the cut. Turns out, Boston’s in the middle of a renaissance—an exhilarating, if bizarre, world where still-spry octogenarians play racquetball with four-month-old prodigies, and Leone’s rubs shoulders with Mistral during cocktail hour. Of the 20 spots in our New Pizza Pantheon, no fewer than 11 have opened since 2010.
Which leads us to believe: We finally have a serious pizzeria scene on our hands, folks. And frankly, it’s about damn time.