When two James Beard award-winning chefs have a restaurant centered on a wood-fired pizza oven, you know only amazing pies are coming out of it. The fire at Coppa blazes 700 degrees while the dough is twice-stretched, yielding an excellent iteration of the classic pizza Margherita, perfectly dotted with mozzarella and fresh basil. (Keep an eye on social media for special gluten-free nights, too.) As the name implies, this South End enoteca also showcases Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s affinity for cured meat, like in the case of the red-sauced Soppressata with spicy dry-aged salami, honey, and chili.
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True Neapolitan pizza is steeped in tradition. Originating in Naples, Italy, the ingredients and recipe are simple yet specific. A classic pizza Margherita calls for silky, refined 00 flour and a particular dough recipe, tomatoes from a certain region in Italy, and creamy mozzarella. It cooks quickly in a wood-fired oven, and is finished with fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. (Is your mouth watering? Saaaame.) Sure, it'd be ideal to hop a flight to where this pizza originated, but Bostonians don’t need to travel far to satisfy cravings for authentic Neapolitan pizza. The city is in the midst of a big pizza moment, so let us guide you toward the best Neapolitan-style pizzas in Boston.
Area Four put Technology Square on the Cambridge restaurant map with its blistered sourdough pizza. A high-heat, wood-fired oven at the MIT-adjacent place leaves a flavorful, crispy char on the chewy crust. Topping combos make good things better: Longtime Area Four menu staples include the Not Pepperoni, topped with soppressata, mozzarella, and pecorino cheeses; and the Wellfleet Cherrystone Clam & Bacon pizza with pecorino, hot pepper, and parsley.
Ciao! Pizza & Pasta
Ciao! Pizza & Pasta takes us out of Boston proper and into Chelsea for wood-fired pizza, and it’s always worth the trip (and maybe a little traffic). Right off of the Tobin Bridge, it may as well be Naples: The 11-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas at Ciao are topped with premium ingredients. Try the Salsiccia with house-made fennel sausage, cherry peppers, pecorino, and oregano; or the Prosciutto di Parma with port and fig jam, gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and balsamic.
Brewer’s Fork is everything we want for our neighborhood pizza spot. The Charlestown mainstay brings in people from all over for its wood-fired pizza and impressive 30-tap beer selection. Pizzas are built atop long-fermented sourdough, charred at upwards of 1,000 degrees. The Marge pays homage to the classic Neapolitan trio of toppings—tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil—while the Killa B is a grown-up riff on pepperoni pizza with Genoa salami and a drizzle of local hot honey; and the Spicy Clam features chopped local shellfish and an herbaceous gremolata.
An all-occasion destination, South End pizza parlor Picco is for family dinner, date night, and everything in between. To achieve its ultra-desirable crust, Picco’s sourdough goes through 24 hours of cold fermentation and then into a 600-degree oven. Classic pies like Pepperoni and Margherita are always a good call, but be sure to try the less traditional Alsatian, topped with sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraîche, bacon, and Gruyère. And while we are here to talk pizza, make sure to room for Picco’s made-from-scratch ice cream.
Just 20 minutes outside of Boston in Newton Centre, chef Lydia Reichert and her partners from nearby favorites Sycamore and Little Big Diner also bring us Jinny’s Pizzeria. Centered on a beautifully blue-tiled Valoriani pizza oven from Tuscany, the spot serves up pies with classic Italian flavor combos like the red-sauced Alla Norma with eggplant, basil, ricotta, smoked mozzarella, and chili flakes; as well as seasonal white pies. Slow-fermented dough is thrown in a 700-degree fire which blisters it up perfectly. It’s all about that crispy, soft-chewy edge, so do not—do not—skip on the North End Oil Dippin’ Sauce for that pillowy crust.
Si Cara fires up the gas in Central Square, but we’d be remiss to exclude it from this Neapolitan-ish list. The Cambridge pizza bar is serving a style called canotto, specific to the softer and more puffed-up crust than a typical wood-fired pie. According to chef Michael Lombardi, it’s one way next-generation pizzaiolo are challenging the rules of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Love a good rebel story! Si Cara’s signature crust starts with a higher water-to-flour ratio than true Neapolitan pizza, then it ferments for two days with a homegrown sourdough starter. The can’t-miss Margherita tops that swoon-worthy crust with crushed Piennolo tomatoes from the hillsides of Mount Vesuvius, fior di latte from Connecticut, and fresh basil.
The 825-degree pizza oven crackling away in the center of restaurant Posto crisps up pies quickly. This Davis Square spot stays close to tradition with the highest quality ingredients. Think San Marzano tomatoes, imported 00 flour, and Posto’s very own fiore di latte, a fresh mozzarella cheese made in-house every day. Try the Meatball Pizza with a blend of beef, pork, veal along with mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, oregano, and garlic.
Stoked Pizza Company
Stoked Pizza Co. makes it easy to wax nostalgic for old-school pizza parties with its groovy, retro vibes and familiar yet ingenious New York-Neapolitan-style pizzas. What really separates Stoked from other pizzerias, though, is its fully vegan menu, offering meat-free alternatives to nearly everything, including the cult-favorite Cheeseburger Pizza. Originally a food truck and still a takeout fav, Stoked opened its first brick-and-mortar in Brookline’s Washington Square before following it up with a mid century-chic cocktail bar in Harvard Square, Cambridge.
Da LaPosta might be a newcomer to the Newtonville neighborhood, but chef-owner Mario LaPosta is not new to slinging pies. He’s been tossing dough from 15 years old, later working in some of the best Neapolitan pizzerias in Italy. In Newton, his naturally leavened dough starts with organic, whole wheat flour the chef blends himself. Bianco di Napoli tomatoes comprise the fresh tomato sauce, and toppings are the finest available. Keep it simple with a house Margherita, or give the super savory Bagna Cauda pizza a go with house-made sausage, escarole, mozzarella, garlic, and anchovy. A few lucky diners may even land the coveted seat in front of the pizza oven where all the action happens.
From Naples, Italy to Fort Point, Boston, Pastoral takes pizza seriously. Before opening, owner Todd Winer completed a pizzaiolo training course through the US branch of the global governing board of true Neapolitan pizza. It starts with the oven—at Pastoral, a gorgeous, red-tiled, wood-fired hearth straight from Napoli. Next, the freshest ingredients, from hand-torn, DOC mozzarella bufala to crushed tomatoes and fennel sausage. Gluten-free crust is always available for any pizza.