I realize that this is well-covered territory here, but here it goes . ..
The results are in. My pizza-loving brother and I trekked around the Boston area in search of great pies. We restricted ourselves to cheese pizzas (or slices) with one exception, noted below. In the span of about eight hours, we ate a lot of pizza. When our rankings were combined, the results were as follows:
I was almost disturbed by how good the pizza was on a second visit. This place is within walking distance of my home. Whhere have I been?
On a cold evening with a wintry mix falling outside, we sat at the bar, sipped on Ipswich Ales, and gazed into the brick oven, hypnotized by the way the log-burning fire turned the discs of dough and cheese into masterpieces.
Not as good as my previous visit. The crust was not as bubbly as the first time, nor as yeasty, nor as crisp. Still, a good slice.
This was my brother's top choice, but came second to last for me. I should mention two things: First, we didn't have a bad slice all day, so "last" is purely relative, and is hardly a poor showing. Second, my brother is partial to crispy crusts, which won him over at Ernesto's. I thought there was something funny going on with the cheese here. It didn't taste quite right to me.
4. Pizzeria Regina
He liked it much more than I did. Definitely a respectable slice, but it didn't have me swooning. I think I need to get a whole pie here at some point to get a real idea of their greatness. In all previous visits, I have only had individual slices.
5. Cambridge 1,: Bolognese Pizza
It's really apples to oranges to compare Cambridge,1's grilled pies and their cracker-like crust to the more traditional pies we had the rest of the day. But, we perservered and tried to place it in our rankings. Slightly tastier than . . .
6. Cambridge 1,: Plain Pizza
Again, apples to oranges.
7. Galleria Umberto
This may be another case of apples to oranges. The rectangular slices are not quite as thick as your standard Sicilian but are very diffeent from most of the slices we had. I liked this much better than he did. He doesn't like this style. I like everything.
We couldn't resist an Arancini as well. Damn, those are good.
8. Haymarket Pizza
I think this is the first slice on the list that is not destination pizza. Great when you're in the area, but not worth a major detour. Also, it can be oddly inconsistent. Yesterday's slice was particularly uninspired.
9. Little Steve's
Again, not a masterpiece. But, this can REALLY hit the spot when you're in the area and craving a New-York style slice. Although, now that I know what's around the corner from it (Woody's), Little Steve's will be strictly slice-on-the-run material.
There you have it.
One more thing. Although I am a huge pizza fan, and not a dessert freak, the best thing I had all day was the sfiogiatelle at Napoli Bakery. I can't get enough of those. The panna cotta gelato was promising, too.