Where to Find the Best Pizza in Boston

Seven places, seven great pizzas

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••• Ernesto's Pizza. Photo courtesy Val D'Aquila via Flickr Creative Commons

There are no national debates about Boston pizza. No inter-city rivalries a la New York and Chicago. Instead, what Boston has is consistently great pizza that covers every preference, from New York style to Sicilian, thin crust to square pies.

Here are my seven favorite places to get pizza in Boston – one to try every day of the week. Check them out the next time you're in town!

1. Area Four

Area Four is so delicious.

With two locations— Kendall Square in Cambridge and Union Square in Somerville—the difficulty is choosing which pie to try. It's hard to go wrong with the traditional margherita, and the fennel sausage with pickled banana peppers is pretty stellar, too. The Kendall Square location has a larger menu and a café, whereas Union is a smaller operation. Whichever you choose, your taste buds are in for a treat.

2. Emma's Pizza

A fixture on the outskirts of Kendall Square, Emma's Pizza is a tiny joint that dishes up delectable thin crust pizza. There's usually a bit of wait to get in, but it's worth it: Try the #6 with Yukon potato, broccoli, and gorgonzola, or the #19 with Canadian bacon, caramelized onions, and rosemary sauce. (Of course, there are plenty of traditional favorites on the menu, too.) And if you're planning to see a movie afterward at the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema nearby, be sure to let the staff know – all dine-in patrons at Emma's get discounted $8 movie vouchers.

3. Ernesto's Pizza

The first time I went to Ernesto's in the North End, I ordered two slices and walked out with half a pie. For the uninitiated, each New York-style slice is double here – and mouth-wateringly good. And I'm excited to report that they're branching out to Assembly Square soon (official opening date TBD).

Expect a similarly sized space to the North End original, and the same menu.

4. Max and Leo's

This one's a little off the beaten path, but still worth the trip: The coal-fired pizzas at Max and Leo's in Newton Corner focus on thin-crust delights with the freshest toppings that together create incredibly flavorful pies. I especially like the Juliann, which features soppresata, jalapeno, and roasted red pepper – salty, savory, spicy, and sweet dance together against a perfectly cooked crispy crust.

5. Pizzeria Posto

For years, the Davis Square space housing Pizzeria Posto was a death knell for restaurants: The building was previously home to a bakery, a café, a burrito shop, and a vegetarian eatery, which all opened and closed in relatively quick succession. Then Posto arrived in 2009 and finally everything clicked. Why? The pizza is fantastic. With a menu focusing on wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas, Posto also serves up delectable pastas and desserts, as well as a beer and wine list that pairs exceptionally well with the menu. It's also the only pizzeria I know of that offers pig-roast parties. Five years in, Posto shows no sign of succumbing to the fate of its building's many predecessors – and (if I may be so bold) I'll claim it's here to stay.

6. Regina's Pizza

Whenever family visits from out of town, the first meal we share must always be from Regina's. (Given that I come from a long line of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans with exacting pizza standards, this is a high compliment.) There are more than 20 locations – the flagship North End location is a must-visit to try the original North End recipe made in the original Regina's oven – but truth be told, I've had outstanding Regina's pizza at any location I've visited.

7. Santarpio's

If you've flown into Logan Airport, you weren’t too far away from East Boston's famous Santarpio's restaurant. Next time you arrive or depart, take a detour to this local institution for a no-frills pizza that always satisfies. I go traditional here – Italian cheese pizza with mushrooms, peppers, and onions.

Take a few slices home or back to your hotel (they're even better the next day).

An update: Food & Wine magazine put Area Four and Santarpio's on their list of the 25 best pizza places in the entire country -- so if you have a meal at either of these two pizzerias, know that you're not just getting a great slice in Boston, you're getting a pie that's renowned from coast to coast.

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