retrofabulousity's Profile

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Best ice cream in Boston is..

Well, for ice cream it's pretty obvious that it's Toscanini and Cristina's to a lesser extent but for gelato the options are pretty limited in the area (the North End has several mediocre options with "glow in the dark" powders and food coloring).

Giulia however makes some really good gelato, far better than the others available in town up to now. Dolce Freddo in Methuen and Newburyport was the only other decent option but I am curious to see how Amorino does here; has anyone been?

about 4 hours ago
retrofabulousity in Greater Boston Area


I'll say this for probably the 100th time...Iggy's slices are a huge standout here in Boston.

Only available at lunch they closely resemble high quality Roman-style pizza by the slice and even when lukewarm they are extremely well-made and not just another slice and simply on a different level from anything else made here. They would do very well in Rome, the capital of pizza al taglio.

Aside from that, Scissors and Pie on Newbury is worth a mention as an explicit Roman pizzeria al taglio...though I prefer Iggy's, Scissors is open normal hours and has the widest variety of quality pizza toppings in Boston.

As for the best of the rest, there is Pepe Bocca in Davis and obviously Umberto has its charms. For those saying Umberto is Sicilian style, it really isn't; it's again more somewhere between the height and make up of Roman pizza by the slice or some sort of hybrid of that and what many here call Sicilian and enjoyable when it's hot (I like the pizzaioli there too).

I like some things about the Otto slices but they probably make too many toppings for what walk in demand they have so it hurts their product.

Armando's seems to vary a bit but is probably about as good a "NY" style slice as I have had around here.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

So just a note to mention that, as promised above, a few of us will meet up tomorrow evening for pizza and of course more discussion!

If anyone is interested, feel free to email at chowhoundpizzameet@gmail.com

Fenway/Kenmore: Good, cheap restaurants?

"Any chance these friends are New Yorkers? If that's the case, nope, there's no good pizza in Boston and they should stop trying. "


What exactly is this supposed to mean? There's plenty of good pizza in Boston even if you come from Rome, much less NY. See the recent Neapolitan thread for many suggestions, in both Neapolitan and other styles.

Frank Pepe's coming to Chestnut Hill

I have to say that it could mean something entirely different.

People make a fetish out of certain things and comfort foods are a great modern example of this.

I for one don't think good Italian pizza is as rare as you make it sound. It sounds to me like you are a serious fan of one place in particular (Una Pizza Nap. which is a good spot no doubt but it is one of many) and it has played a big role in shaping your expectations and you compare every place to it implicitly.

It's starting to remind me of that poster who always discusses restaurants in Boston by first making reference to Jean George in NYC.

In part this general topic was discussed in the other recent Neapolitan pizza thread so I won't rehash it here beyond this.

A wine bar focused on US and (and non old world in general) production?

That's true but it's the closest thing there is in terms of ambiance to my sense of what he was seeking. Wine bars tend to skew old world and there aren't many wine bars here in the first place.

Other wine bars would include Bin 26, Les Zygomates, Belly, Sip, maybe the Butcher Shop and not much else unless you include the restaurants with bigger wine selections like Prezza, Meritage, and Le Troquet etc.

One could always try the restaurants and those 3 have big lists. As for actual wine bars, maybe Les Zygomates has more of the actual wines you want. I haven't been in Sip since early on but they also have a fair number of new world wines (though I wasn't crazy about the place in general at the time but perhaps it would appeal more to the poster for this purpose).

A wine bar focused on US and (and non old world in general) production?

I'd say check out Spoke in Davis Square in Somerville.

Is this the worst restaurant in Boston?

That place is pretty legendary. I came across it because it is one of the few places open very late in Boston. Since I read the reviews first (unlike most of those reviewers) I never did actually order and always wondered how they stay in business.

Frank Pepe's coming to Chestnut Hill

Not the place for this but I prefer Max and Leo's to Regina. I will be curious to try Pepe all the same of course.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

So I set up an email chowhoundpizzameet@gmail.com so we can coordinate a pizza meet-up as mentioned above...

We can discuss the logistics off-site that way if anyone is interested


Great Boston restaurants with my kids

Definitely Giulia and Ribelle would be tops on my list of Italian places in the area and both would be fine with kids (I have seen plenty in both).

Question about the bar at Sarma

They have a little lot and it's not the worst area for parking anyway.

Great restaurant and I like the bar area too.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

I have had those at Il Casale (love the location actually) and I thought they were pretty decent the first time I had them years ago and not so great after that (I had some pretty forgettable meals there too in general).

I would still say that the suppli at Prides were my favorite but they are way out of my area so..

What other pizza places do arancini or especially suppli well?

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

Pasta Beach has come up here and I know a few of us have been (the Italian consulate people go there often too). I liked the pizza well enough but I haven't been there for a long time. I think I prefer Gran Gusto and Prides in the same general category but all have some variation so I should probably try them all again back to back.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

The pizza at Umberto has its charms if you get it at the right moment though I will never understand why it's mentioned so much as compared to the pizza by the slice at Iggy's (the tourist appeal helps Umberto).

You are definitely on target about those arancini which are not something I would ever eat again.

I think the best arancini/suppli I have had around here were at Pride's in Beverley.

I prefer a Roman style suppli (no surprise to anyone who read my other comments in this thread :) but I am always looking for a good arancino; anyone have any favorites?

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

Ciao Wmute

I think we are not too far off after all on what we are saying actually and it's nice that we could have a constructive conversation on one of the most passion inducing foods!

Pappabuona and I wanted to suggest that for any chowhounders interested, we might arrange some pizza-centric meetings to discuss amiably and eat some more pizza at some of the places mentioned if anyone is interested.

Italian speakers welcome but no Italian is required by any means :)

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...


I referred to both kinds of Roman pizza but primarily the round classic Roman pie. I only referenced pizza al taglio to recommend the pizza by the slice at Iggy's which most people here ignore and which I think people who love pizza should check out.

There has been for decades a general concept of pizzas originating from Rome and Naples but this desire to make a forensic science and judge this place by that place's pie is odd to me.

Regarding the 'cornicione' there are hundreds of pizza places in Naples. I have been probably to 30 places there and while on average they share a lot of things in common they are not as standard as you suggest even for the 'cornicione'. And I recall things were different in some of the places you mentioned when I first started eating there in the 1980s too. Was it less real then or now?

This super specific concept of Naples style seems to me to be a desire for hyper-standardization of what was always an artisanal product

Lastly, as for mimicking the Roman style around Italy yes sure you could say this but...

that is far, far, more imprecise than you just were with your desire for hyper-standardization of Naples pizza. You could say places outside Rome and Naples mimic a Roman style in some quite general sense but the reality of it is that many places in Italy make what appears to many Romans to be a sort of hybrid of Roman and Naples styles in terms of thickness, crust etc.

I have never had a pizza outside Lazio in Italy which I thought was very much like anything I had in Rome and part of this has to do with immigration patterns within Italy (few Romans travelled to become pizzaioli)and also because no association markets it as some pizza model as has been done with the Naples pizza style.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

Thanks...I think what Pappabuona is referring to is a certain kind of pizzeria which is aiming at that market especially up North and Pappabuona is coming from a Italian city which doesn't have a strong native pizza tradition so it depends more on who immigrated to that city what they end up having.

I can say that in Rome for example, it's comparatively rare to find a pizzeria with this Naples style and a lot of people don't like it to begin with so it isn't this big draw.

By volume, most pizza sold in Italy is either prefabricated to some degree actually or simply wouldn't fall into one or another category quite so neatly.

Again, the main point I want to highlight is how artificial this concept of the "one true pizza" is, be it from Naples or anywhere else.

Even the historic pizza places in Naples show considerable variation. Just remember, they don't even clean their ovens so what do you think THAT does to the pizza over time?

This whole area is a textbook marketing move and it astounds me how well it has worked even (or especially) with chowhound types.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

How many pizzas did you eat in Naples? I have had a few hundred though the decades there. I am not nearly as confident as you that Gran Gusto is so different from what I used to eat. I know the guys at Gran Gusto, who also grew up in Naples and no offense but I find these definitive pronouncements about what pizza from Naples is to be laughable as if it were a science project with one answer. This is part of the "true" Naples pizza myth.

Take a look at the video I sent and get back to me.

To wmute, who said 80% of the pizza in Italy is Naples style or Roman style?

That's just not the case in either instance actually. In each of those 2 respective cities and their orbits each style dominates but it's only recently that there is this marketing operation for the so-called true Naples pizza anywhere outside of that and this thread is a good example of how wide its reach is.

Most pizza by sheer volume in Italy is not artisanal, be it Roman or Naples style etc and a quick look at the video I sent will disabuse one of most romantic notions about this.

You will rarely find "Roman" pizza whether by the slice or the whole pie sold as such in the rest of Italy and I know because I actively looked for it during a period when I moved from Rome to a few other cities in Italy.

You could live your whole life in Torino without ever having eaten a Roman pizza quite easily and the same used to be true where pizza from Naples was concerned.

Neapolitan style pizza in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/...

Yes it's pretty ludicrous to say Gran Gusto isn't Napoli style pizza. It definitely is that. I have been to Michele et al many times and there is a lot of variation even within one pizza place in Naples much less across a group of 10 of them where they really are not even close to scientific about what they do.

And for those of you who speak Italian and really want to know about a lot of the myths behind pizza, sometimes mislabeled or substituted ingredients, dirty ovens which never get cleaned of carcinogenic dust and the "true" Naples pizza marketing, watch this show:


I grew up in Rome and prefer that style of pizza actually and it's more often abroad that I find people make this fetish of Naples pizza to the exclusion of all other kinds.

On that topic, Iggy's Bakery makes wonderful pizza by the slice which comes out at lunch and which resembles the classic Roman pizza by the slice.

I actually often like A4 and Max and Leo more than the so called true Naples pizza as well but they are probably best seen as hybrids not conforming exactly to one particular style.

Salty lox?

It's not something typical of Russian fish eating so it would greatly surprise me if you found it there.

It's pretty rare these days and was much more popular in NY etc back in the day and can still be found at the classic spots like Russ and Barney Greengrass etc.

Salty lox?

I love belly lox too...not many places have that anywhere these days. I seem to recall people on the LA board lamenting its total disappearance there for example.

Any other spots for it besides Barry's?

Polenta or Cornmeal from Local Organic Corn?

All these local recommendations appear to be for conventional corn and I assume this means GMO corn, as corn is one of the very worst crops where that is concerned. Anson Mills' website is a little opaque on the topic as well for that matter but is everything they make organic?

I have to say it's odd how the topic of GMOs and such seems to be relatively unimportant to most people on here.

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I like that eggplant sandwich at Dominic's a lot too...right up there for me. Other than that, Dave's is probably the most useful all-purpose place for me. I like Taqueria el Amigo for a beef cheek taco if that qualifies and the usual suspects for pastrami and corned beef. I agree about Craigie's burger but I am guessing that wasn't the aim on this thread.

I am a little surprised Savenor's sandwiches didn't get mentioned at all.

I suppose it would be useful to talk about places which make a variety of sandwiches (Dominic's, Dave's or Cutty's etc) and are real sandwich places vs places like Strip T's (though I guess they focus more on this now) or Coppa where they might have one or two.

Cacio e pepe in Boston

Ah gotcha thanks...

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I have to admit I laughed reading that Zaftigs was a Jewish deli :)

And Archie's and Inna's? Just no.

There are not many places which would qualify in the Boston area as a Jewish deli and you certainly didn't name them and that is without even discussing the quality of their offerings.

You mentioned places that have some deli items but they are not Jewish delis and I wouldn't want people reading this to be misled.

Cacio e pepe in Boston

Yea; I lived in Rome much of my life...so what's your point?

North End: The Best

Prezza would be the spot for me if in that neighborhood. Mamma Maria would be my only other choice.

Cacio e pepe in Boston

Cinquecento serves almost nothing Roman at all actually. Why they choose to call themselves a Roman trattoria is a mystery to me beyond some odd sense of marketing.

As for the question, the chef/owner of L'Impasto is from Rome (which is rare in Boston) so give them a call.

Italian restaurants that would impress an Italian in Boston and/or Central MA

The expats (the consulate is nearby) go to Pasta Beach for the pizza primarily (though now there are more places doing this type of pizza whereas before it was pretty much Pasta Beach or Gran Gusto) which in my experience they execute pretty well.

It's definitely not expensive by Boston standards and a lot more solid than some of the places mentioned here though I wouldn't make a special trip for it.