Updated Apr 29, 2024 - News

The ultimate Boston-area pizza guide

A slice of pepperoni pizza from Armando's Pizza in Cambridge -- perhaps the best in the Boston area.

A slice of pepperoni from Armando's. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

For five years, I have traversed the Boston area in search of pizzerias that replicate the magic of a New York slice.

Who am I to question our institutions? Well, I'm a fatty from New Jersey with nearly three decades of pizza-eating under my belt.

  • I've identified a collection of pizzerias I would defend — at least as the best in the region.

What I did: Ate dozens of slices of pepperoni and the occasional Sicilian to compare the sauces and textures. I wrote it all down to tell you how they stack up.

A Sicilian cheese slice that looks like it had an extra glob of mozzarella from Armando's pizza in Cambridge.
Don't let the glob of mozzarella fool you. The Sicilian slice from Armando's was solid. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Armando's Pizza & Subs

The first time I visited Armando's in Cambridge, the owner was juggling back-to-back phone calls with to-go orders from regulars stopping in five minutes after opening.

  • I quickly learned why.

What I ordered: A slice of pepperoni and a Sicilian slice.

  • What I got: The closest thing to a New York slice in the Boston area — a slightly greasy thin crust that held together a proper ratio of well-seasoned sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
  • Also, a solid Sicilian slice — a crunchy, but airy crust with more sauce and a generous heap of cheese.

Price: $3.75 for the pepperoni slice; $4.50 for Sicilian. Cash only.

The bottom line: The best of the best.

A massive slice of pepperoni pizza -- two slices worth -- at Florina Pizzeria on Beacon Hill.
A slice of pepperoni (AKA two slices) from Florina. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Florina Pizzeria & Paninoteca

Depending on the day, the time and the way the wind blows, Florina on Beacon Hill serves either the best pizza in Boston or a greasy, flimsy mess.

What I ordered: A massive pepperoni slice and a Sicilian.

  • What I got: A thin crust that held its own, but the pepperoni could have used some extra sauce.
  • Also, a margherita pizza Sicilian slice (they didn't have regular cheese). No sauce, which was disappointing, but the crust was A+.

Price: $4.25 for the pepperoni; $4.75 for the Sicilian.

The bottom line: I've had excellent pizza from Florina on other visits, but you can't be the best around Boston when your pies are inconsistent.

A Sicilian slice from Galleria Umberto in the North End
A Sicilian slice from Galleria Umberto. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Galleria Umberto

Galleria Umberto doesn't fall into the New York-style pizza category, but the North End pizzeria's taste and price make it worth trying.

What I ordered: A Sicilian slice (that's the only pizza they sell).

  • What I got: A thin crust for Sicilian, but it held a generous helping of charred cheese and tomato sauce.

Price: $2.25. Cash only.

The bottom line: Galleria Umberto's slices are not only one of the best in the city, but the best (and perhaps only) ones at this price point.

  • My only gripe is the hours are limited: 10:45am-2:30pm Monday through Saturday.
A burnt pie of pepperoni pizza that appears to have one or two pepperonis on the pie from Santarpio's in East Boston. The pepperonis turned out to be hiding under the cheese.
Santarpio's pepperoni pizza looked angry and tasted sad. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Santarpio's Pizza

Santarpio's is an East Boston institution and a staple for many, including former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

  • The lamb skewers are mouth-watering. The pizza, not so much.

What I ordered: An Italian cheese and pepperoni pie and some lamb.

  • What I got: Some of the driest, most burnt pizza ever. I can't remember the last time eating the crust felt like work. I ate it for journalism.
  • At first, I thought Santarpio's forgot the pepperoni. Turns out it was hiding beneath the cheese, maybe to make up for the lack of sauce.

Caveat: I did pick up the pie 20 minutes late, but I've had two-day-old slices from elsewhere look and taste better.

  • I've also had Santarpio's slices loaded with toppings — mushrooms, pepper, pepperoni — that look and taste decent enough.
  • Still, I'd choose the lamb skewers over a slice here any day.

Price: $16.50 for a pepperoni pie.

A greasy, cheesy pepperoni pizza pie from Regina Pizzeria, the original location in Boston's North End.
Regina Pizzeria's pepperoni pie looks amazing, but left a little to be desired. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Regina Pizzeria

Locals insist the Regina Pizzeria spots outside of the North End give the chain a bad name, so I visited the original last month.

What I ordered: A pepperoni pizza pie.

  • What I got: A solid, but overhyped pie. The crust was chewy, and the portions of cheese and pepperoni were generous.
  • But the sauce lacked flavor. The grease was excessive.
  • Adding oregano helped (after I let some grease slide off).

Price: $15.25 for a pepperoni pie.

Two slices of pepperoni pizza.
According to Ernesto's this is one slice. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Ernesto's Pizza

Ernesto's is the closest you can get to a perfect slice in the North End, but it ain't cheap.

What I ordered: A pepperoni slice.

  • What I got: A double helping with lightly seasoned sauce, cheese and large pepperoni slices.

Price: $6.31 for the massive slice.

A slice of pepperoni pizza.
Pepperoni from Alfredo's. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Alfredo's Italian Kitchen

Alfredo's in East Cambridge should be the baseline for pizza aficionados.

  • Their slices are pretty decent, which makes them stellar by Boston standards.

What I ordered: A pepperoni slice.

  • What I got: Just that. No less, no more.
  • Alfredo's has some competition with Gufo across the street (their pizza's thicker and bougie). But it seems to have maintained a steady stream of regulars.

Price: $3.30 for pepperoni.

Caesar's pepperoni and Sicilian slices.
Caesar's pepperoni and Sicilian slices. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Caesar's Pizza & Subs

In a Boston-area pizza contest, I would be torn between Armando's in Cambridge and Caesar's Pizza & Subs in neighboring Somerville.

  • Caesar's has the added bonus of being stationed across the street from the Market Basket, so you can treat yourself as you run errands.

What I ordered: A pepperoni slice and a Sicilian.

  • What I got: A well-seasoned and crispy New York-style slice, albeit a little greasy.
  • The sauce's flavor came through better on the Sicilian, which had a crispy, but airy crust.

Price: $4.15 for a pepperoni slice.

A close up of a pepperoni pizza pie with a charred, wood-fired crust at Picco in Boston.
Pepperoni pizza from Picco in Boston. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios


Picco, AKA Pizza & Ice Cream Co., in the South End touts its cold-fermented sourdough, with local flour from Ground Up Grain, and charring as the secret behind its success.

What I ordered: A pepperoni pie.

  • What I got: Generous helping of mozzarella on a charred, but chewy crust.
  • It could have used some more pepperoni.
A pepperoni pie from Area4 in Cambridge.
Pepperoni pizza from Area Four. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Area Four

Area Four's flagship restaurant in Kendall Square has been considered one of Cambridge's best pizza makers for years.

What I ordered: A pepperoni pie.

  • What I got: A decent, albeit salty, pizza, even by pepperoni standards.
  • Like most wood-fired pizzas, this one had a charred, thin crust with lots of sauce and cheese.
A pepperoni pizza from Source in Cambridge.
Pepperoni pizza from Source. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios


Source in Harvard Square specializes in farm-to-table pizza and entrees, and, more importantly, it was voted the best pizza of 2023 by Boston Magazine.

What I ordered: A pepperoni pie.

  • What I got: A sea of pepperoni blanketing the cheese and sauce (albeit less than their usual helping of pepperoni).
  • It was too hefty for the crust, which was thin and soggy at times. Even then, it beat Picco and Area4.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more