The 20 Best Places to Eat Pizza Right Now

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.

pizza lead

The salsiccia at Coppa: A sunny-side-up egg with pork sausage, roasted onion, fennel pollen, and creamy ricotta on a wood-fired crust isn’t just for breakfast anymore. / Photograph by Bruce Peterson

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.

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PLUS: Best in Crust | College Pizzas | Hall of Misfit Pies 

This list was last updated in July 2018 to reflect closures of a few spots, and additional restaurants from a couple pizza pros.


Area Four

500 Technology Sq., Cambridge, 617-758-4444, Troy Boston, 264 East Berkeley St., South End, 857-317-4805,

Leave it to the control fr—er, mavens, at these sibling pizzerias to helm not one but two of our top spots. Their winning recipe includes a 14-year-old “starter”—the living, breathing amalgam of flour, yeast, and water that serious bakers nurture lovingly (and guard fiercely) in the back of the fridge, doling out smidgens per batch to jump-start flavor. Made under one roof and used at both places, the Neapolitan-American dough hybrid bakes into a wider, puffier cornicione (a.k.a. the rim), shot through with voluminous, crunchy bubbles. Crust hounds, take note.

OVEN DETAILS: Area Four Cambridge: Wood Stone (630º–680º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The clam and bacon, with hot pepper, parsley, and pecorino. Hands down the best bivalve take around.

best pizza in boston

The New York–style thin crust at Armando’s in Huron Village? In a league of its own. / Photograph by Nina Gallant


Armando’s Pizza & Subs

163 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-8275.

If this charming Huron Village throwback looks like it hasn’t changed a lick since Campania natives Armando and Dorothy Paolo opened it in 1971, peek again. Yup, good eye: Their daughter Rina is running the show now. Otherwise, the walls are still sheathed in plywood paneling, and the sole nod to décor is a smattering of framed Little League photos and trophies above the faded-red Formica booths. Also timeless: the New York–style thin-crust pizzas, undergirded by a firm, toasty crust; brightened with a remarkably zingy house-made marinara; and finished with a gooey layer of blended cheeses bolstered by salty Romano.

OVEN DETAILS: Two-deck Baker’s Pride (550º–650º).

MUST-TRY PIE: It doesn’t get much more classic than the pepperoni-mushroom.

DEEPER DISH: In 2010, the corner of Huron and Concord was named Armando Paolo Square to honor the generous steward of the neighborhood.



11 Fan Pier Blvd., Boston, 617-421-4466,

As much as the notion of celebrity chef Mario Batali’s swooping into the provinces from New York City and depositing a brand extension at the Seaport gives us agita in principle, it’s hard to argue with the pies. Despite a few consistency problems out of the gate (doors opened in April), they’re already verging on superb. And they’re quick to the table, too: Thanks to the ferocious heat of the wood fire, Batali’s signature Neapolitan-Roman hybrids get the requisite crust char in less than two minutes.

OVEN DETAILS: Valoriani wood-fired (800º–1,000º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The meatball, a dreamy mash-up that pits bright tomato sauce and vinegary pickled chilies against rich, creamy fontina.

DEEPER DISH: Batali switched names midstream from Otto (his suite of pizzerias in Manhattan and Vegas) to avoid confusion with the Portland, Maine–based chain.


Basta Pasta

319 Western Ave., Cambridge, 617-576-6672,

At first glance, everything about this modest Cambridge storefront—tucked inelegantly between a bodega and a ­barbershop—looks like your standard-issue House of Pizza. Even the boilerplate-sounding menu doesn’t give away the game. But what Reno and Altin Hoxhallari’s modest “trattoria” lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in the consistency and execution of its Italian-style pizzas, which boast a sturdy, thin crust courtesy of the old-school stacked gas oven. The house-made sauce has a real piquancy, among the best we’ve had in Boston: an umami-laden blend of Alta Cucina tomatoes, fresh garlic, and basil. The cheese blend gets added complexity from provolone; the quality meats are sourced from Revere’s Bianco & Sons. Says Altin, “Sometimes the basic stuff just tastes way better than anything complicated.”

OVEN DETAILS: Blodgett stacked gas (550–650º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The Spicy Sausage Meat.

DEEPER DISH: Before opening Basta Pasta in 2005, Reno worked in high-profile kitchens including Bambara and Via Matta (RIP).


Bianchi’s Pizza

322 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere, 781-284-9472.

Revere Beach is known for its boardwalk, aggressive gulls, and gritty Bruins banter, but you rarely hear about the pizza. That’s a shame, because Bianchi’s, a walk-up window on the beach for more than 65 years, slings exactly the kind of big-ass slices you want with a cooler of beer and a sunburn. The crust, sturdy but not stiff, supports a bright, simple sauce and an extra-cheese lover’s portion of a proprietary blend—enough that it crowds your fingers and slumps lavishly off the edges for the first hot bites.

OVEN DETAILS: Baker’s Pride brick (approximately 700º).

MUST-TRY PIE: If pepperoni’s your game, go for it. The thin, triple-stacked coins are curled at the edges and pack the kind of good, greasy heat that heartburn is made of.

DEEPER DISH: Bring your own toppings, and they’ll toss them on before baking.

best pizza in boston

Photograph by Nina Gallant


Brewer’s Fork

7 Moulton St., Charlestown, 617-337-5703,

A ROOM WITH A FLUE The gaping oven at Brewer’s Fork—a wood-fired masterpiece, walled with French clay and surrounded by a corrosion-resistant steel drum—is the restaurant’s lone cooking vessel and the darling of co-owner and self-­proclaimed “pizza fanatic” John Paine. Thanks to the insulating qualities of the Terre Blanche stone, the flame never has to be extinguished. Paine’s American-­style pies are characterized by a tangy (albeit slightly salty) sourdough base that progresses from floppy at the tip to dry, crisp, and bubbly charred at the substantial cornicione. The strategically modest temperature (a mere 700 degrees) allows for a slightly longer cooking time, resulting in a less soupy texture than Neapolitan purists must contend with. The red sauce is clean, the mozzarella is fresh, and the meaty toppings—Paine is an alum of Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions—are better than they need to be. —Elizabeth Bomze

OVEN DETAILS: Maine Wood Heat custom-built Le Panyol (700º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The Pea-zza, a white pie with thin-sliced ham, mozzarella, Wisconsin Gruyère, and shallots brightened by plump, sweet English peas.

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

This list was last updated in July 2018 to reflect closures of a few spots, and additional restaurants from a couple pizza pros.



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

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


Flatbread Company

45 Day St., Somerville, 617-776-0552, 76 Guest St., Brighton, 617-903-4595,

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


Leone’s Sub & Pizza

292 Broadway, Somerville, 617-776-2511,

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?



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


Lynwood Café

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

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.”


Max and Leo’s

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

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 

This list was last updated in July 2018 to reflect closures of a few spots, and additional restaurants from a couple pizza pros.

best pizza in boston

Photograph by Nina Gallant



223 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-867-9300,

HAUTE OFF THE GRILL What the hell is a nearly two-decade-old French fine-dining bistro doing on our list of must-try pizzerias? Don’t panic. To be fair, an embarrassing span of time had passed since even our old-timers had given Jamie Mammano’s stellar grilled pizzas a whirl. The verdict: better than ever. Just shy of cracker-thin yet tender enough to sink your teeth into, the rectilinear beauties take on such an assertively smoky char you’d swear they get face time with someone’s rigged-up charcoal Weber. For staunch modernists, the white cheese, whipped ricotta, hot pepper, sea salt, and arugula (pictured) is probably the most of-the-moment choice. Otherwise, embrace the 2005 of it all with the truffle-oil-laced beef tenderloin, thin swaths of rare steak laid across pillowy mounds of mashed potato. Because if you’re going to scarf pizza in a place with a wine cellar this good, smart money’s on the pie that pairs well with a statement red.

OVEN DETAILS: Montague Legend broiler “grill” (550º–600º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Beef tenderloin.

DEEPER DISH: Sister eatery Teatro, over by Emerson, makes grilled pies using the same rec­ipe but with simpler toppings—a rock-star pretheater move.


Panelli’s Pizza & Parm

Closed in 2015.

David Iknaian’s enormous slices aren’t for the faint of appetite. Every one of the New York–style pies clocks in at 20 inches. Properly thin (if a tad tough, according to some testers), the Panelli’s crust takes a back seat to the impeccably sourced toppings—sausage and smoked pork shoulder from Moody’s and Ezzo pepperoni. But his real genius may lie in the sophistication of the topping combinations, often classics rocketed into transcendence with a just-right tweak or two. Case in point: the Texas Craig, an otherwise familiar margherita ramped up with spicy Calabrian chili oil and gently fruity Aleppo pepper flakes.

OVEN DETAILS: Marsal & Sons gas deck (650º–680º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The Honey Hot Meat, a combo of soppressata, spicy sausage, and Mike’s Hot Honey, a cult-fave condiment from Brooklyn.

DEEPER DISH: On the Parm side of the equation: The deep-fried breaded cutlets (eggplant or chicken) served on Iggy’s ciabatta with house-made marinara are a sandwich junkie’s sleeper hit.



345 Congress St., Boston, 617-345-0005,

VPN-certified pizzaiolo Todd Winer burns the pizza torch hot and bright in the red-tiled dome oven at this lively Fort Point restaurant, a pie-ous acolyte’s tribute to the City of the Sun (hint: Naples). True to the tenets of Neapolitan orthodoxy, the rounds of slightly sour, micro-blistered crust are rimmed with a pillowy lip that fades into a soft center—the soggy cross true believers must bear.

OVEN DETAILS: Marra Forni (900º).

MUST-TRY PIE: The one featuring tomato sauce laced with the creeper heat of spreadable ’nduja salami; the astringent brininess of Castelvetrano olives; slivered red onion; and dreamy, creamy burrata. (Oh, and it’s called the Diavolo, so eat it, don’t worship it.)

DEEPER DISH: The floor of Pastoral’s 3,600-pound imported Italian oven is made of volcanic rock and sand from Mount Vesuvius.



513 Tremont St., Boston, 617-927-0066,

Imagine, if you will, Natalie Portman as a pizza joint. There she’d be, holed up in some low-key yet upscale ’hood, striking an improbable balance of hip and cheery. In other words, she’d be Picco: the kind of place that’s retro pretty (Formica tables and leatherette banquettes) but substantive in craft. Which is where the beloved South End eatery’s crust comes in. Thanks to the mac-daddy gas oven, pies arrive with a few scrapes of burnished char on the blistered, cracker-ish outer edges, giving way to chewy, yeasty tenderness just before the tomato sauce rolls in. So what if there’s the occasional overdusting of flour on the undercarriage—even the most inspired performances have their foibles. (Three words: No Strings Attached.)

OVEN DETAILS: Woodstone gas (540º–700º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Ham, cherry pepper, roasted pineapple, and smoked mozzarella with a cilantro-enhanced tomato aioli.

DEEPER DISH: Picco stands for Pizza and Ice Cream Company. Skipping either is pure folly.



187 Elm St., Somerville, 617-625-0600,

Getting Neapolitan right means focusing on quality, simplicity, and precision—which Posto chef-owner Joe Cassinelli musters with panache. From hand-pulled mozzarella to balanced, infallible topping combinations, his stellar pies stay consistently true to the old-world spirit. While the milky pools of fior di latte and combos like fennel-roasted pork, fontina, asiago, red onion, and oregano (the Porchetta) are undeniable wins, it’s the pared-down marinara pie that best showcases the elemental beauty of this style: the campfire smokiness of the pliant, leopard-spotted crust; the vibrancy of the crushed San Marzanos. A judicious sprinkle of garlic slivers and a fluttering of floral oregano add just enough complexity to the lacy veil of salty Parmesan and asiago, without up-ending the deftly finessed balance of delicate flavors.

OVEN DETAILS: Valoriani (approximately 900º).

MUST-TRY PIE: If every marinara pie were this good, it might dethrone the margherita as standard-bearer.

DEEPER DISH: Posto makes close to 50 pounds of fresh mozzarella daily.


Regina Pizzeria

11½ Thacher St., Boston, 617-227-0765,

Ever since the Polcari family set up the original North End shop in 1926, relentless hordes have crammed its booths. Devotees still come to answer cravings for crisp-crusted slices jacked up with ⅛-inch-thick layers of shredded mozz over lightly sprinkled pecorino and a fruity, concentrated tomato sauce—fired by sweaty, multigenerational gents shouting orders and jokes to fellow staffers over the din. Not every pie’s perfect; not every server nails your exact order. But the ability to hit eights this consistently, for this many decades, is a playbook plenty of other teams in town could stand to take a page from.

OVEN DETAILS: A brick oven built in 1888—Boston’s oldest, in fact. Originally coal-fired, now gas (700º–900º).

MUST-TRY PIE: Go old-school: plain cheese.

DEEPER DISH: Rumor has it that actress Renee Russo loves the pies so much she has them shipped to her California home.

best pizza in boston

Photograph by Toan Trinh



Food truck, restaurant at 1632 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-982-FIRE,

KEEPING THEIR PIES ON THE ROAD Even if food trucks aren’t quite the radical statement they were a few years ago, it’s still pretty damn rare to experience a true curbside culinary epiphany—in this case, wood-fired pizzas that rival any in the city—to the tune of a purring generator. When they’re not slinging stellar pies from the cramped confines of their mobile pizzeria, Stoked owners Scott Riebling and Toirm Miller putter around in the rented commissary space they use as a lab, indulging Riebling’s “mad scientist” (Miller’s words) perfectionism, particularly on the ingredients front. Hunting for a not-too-acidic whole peeled tomato, Riebling finally discovered one he liked in Naples—and now imports it by the pallet. But Stoked’s biggest score may be the hard red spring wheat flour Riebling found in North Dakota: a key component of the magic behind Stoked’s trademark airy, bubbly crust. —Christopher Hughes Note: In 2016, Miller and Riebling opened the first Stoked brick-and-mortar restaurant.

OVEN DETAILS: A Pavesi wood-fired beauty from Modena (700º–950º). “The oven only comes in one color, Ferrari red, which is pretty much the same color as our truck,” Riebling says.

MUST-TRY PIE: Buffalo chicken, with a sauce modeled after the upstate New York original.

FUN FACT: Riebling was the bassist for popular ’90s alt-pop band Letters to Cleo.

Plus: Check out what goes on inside the Stoked truck.

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

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