Taking a quick break from the Israel postings for a bit here, you may recall that I’m always looking for write-ups from readers such as yourself. This blog is meant to be as comprehensive as possible and I love it when you folks are as enthusiastic as I am about traveling!
With that, one of my best friends was kind enough to share his thoughts on what are arguably the two best pizza joints in Boston. You can call him the “Boston Guide”. Having lived in Boston all his life, he certainly knows what he’s talking about (especially when it comes to food) and I fully support his reviews having been a patron at both pizza places myself as well. Buon Appetito and thank you again “Boston Guide”!
11 1/2 Thacher Street
Boston, MA 02113
Hours of operation:
Fri & Sat
111 Chelsea Street
East Boston, MA 02128
*** CASH ONLY
Hours of operation:
11:30am – 11pm
Fri & Sat
11:30am – 11:30pm
Noon – 11:00pm
Boston may not have a namesake pizza “style” like New York or Chicago, but if you’re looking for a pie that defines the local style on your next visit to Boston, check out Regina’s or Santarpio’s.
Regina’s and Santarpio’s specialize the same general type of pizza. Both serve up thin crust pies perfectly charred in wood ovens – crispy on the outside and fantastically doughy on the inside. The tomato sauce is light, tangy and sweet. Topped off with sharp, salty cheese.
Deciding which place you like more really comes down to the details. I’m not going to try to pick a winner here because both places are awesome. Instead, I’ll give you the information you need to decide which works best for your next trip to Boston. Of course, you can’t go wrong with both.
1. This is a review of the Regina’s in the North End – not the Regina’s branches. There are a bunch of Regina’s branches scattered around town (South Station, Prudential mall, etc.) that don’t hold a candle to the original. Skip the branches.
2. Don’t try to go to Regina’s during peak hours. Regina’s is a tourist attraction in a touristy section of the city. Don’t let that scare you away from Regina’s or the North End – you should check out the North End when you visit Boston – just understand that if you show up at Regina’s during meal times you will be standing in line out on the street for a while.
3. Both Regina’s and Santarpio’s have bars, so you can wash down your pizza with beer or wine.
4. Go to Santarpio’s if you’re looking for: a meal on your way in or out from Logan Airport (it’s just minutes away from the airport by car), the best sausage pizza in the city, a heartier slice, or local Boston flavor.
5. Go to Regina’s if you’re looking for: a meal in the North End, the best pepperoni pizza in the city, variety on the menu.
In overly simplified terms, Santarpio’s is the heavier, heartier pizza. The crust is heartier, more charred. Whereas Regina’s dusts their crust with a light flour, Santarpio’s trademark is a coarse cornmeal crunch. Check out the legendary, delicious sausages cooking over open fire by the entrance.
Similarly, the Santarpio’s experience is a bit rougher around the edges. Whereas Regina’s is packed with tourists, Santarpio’s is all local. Expect: servers with thick Boston accents and some Boston attitude, local youth hockey teams eating after practice, the guy in the booth next to you talking about the “top 5 coldest Pats games” he’s ever sat through.
Expert Order: Sausage pizza, bring cash (‘Tarp’s is cash only)
Regina’s plain cheese slice is just about perfect – light, crispy, salty and sweet. The menu also includes all the standard topings, as well as a variety of specialty pizzas. I prefer to keep it simple – I think that lots of toppings can take away from a great slice – but Regina’s provides more variety than Santarpio’s if that’s what you’re into.
As mentioned above, Regina’s is a popular tourist destination. Don’t expect anything fancy though. Regina’s is still a no-frills pizza joint.
Expert Order: Pepperoni pizza (well done), white pizza (this pizza doesn’t include Regina’s awesome red sauce so make sure you get the pepperoni as well).
If the line at Regina’s is too long, or if you’re just looking for a quick slice to carry out, Ernesto’s in the North End is a perfect alternative. Choose from a wide variety of pies and keep in mind that Ernesto’s slices are HUGE. For the full experience, carry out and eat in nearby Christopher Columbus Park with great views of Boston Harbor.