Pizza is one of the most beloved foods out there—and one of the most debated. Luckily, Boston is on somewhat neutral ground. Although the city has no signature pizza style of its own, it’s not hard to find Chicago-style deep dish and New York–style thin crust, as well as brick-oven, classic Italian, and innovative gourmet pies scattered across town. Here are a few of the restaurants that define Boston’s pizza scene: For Traditional Pies and Boston Flavor: Santarpio’s Pizza Santarpio’s Pizza (111 Chelsea St.) is located in East Boston, affectionately known as Eastie, and has been slinging crisp-crust pizza since 1903. In true Boston spirit, the restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s brimming with Boston accents and attitudes but also incredible pizzas and house-barbecued sausages and lamb. The pizzas have a satisfying crunch and tremendous flavor, and locals know the crust only gets better when you request it “well done.” The toppings are not fancy, but they include simple, Old-World classics like garlic, onions, or pepperoni. For Brick-Oven Perfection: Regina Pizzeria Regina Pizzeria is not to be overshadowed, though, especially the original North End location (11 1/2 Thatcher St.). Regina’s opened in 1926, when Italian immigrants were starting to establish their presence in the area. Its founders brought their traditional brick ovens over from the old country. These ovens fire each pie until it has a chewy crust rich with flavor; the pizzas are also piled with tangy tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and satisfying toppings. Imported meats and fresh veggies are in supply at Regina’s multiple restaurants, ensuring every person in your party gets exactly what they want. Lines can get long at the original location, but the experience is well worth it. For a Simple Slice: Ernesto’s Pizza The North End is also home to Ernesto’s Pizza (69 Salem St.). Since 1984, Ernesto’s has embraced the classic tradition of pizza, hand-making its dough and sauce. Its gigantic slices—cut from 18-inch pies—are delightfully chewy, with a clean-pure tasting crust and freshly grated cheese. Everything on these pies melds in harmony, making it the best vehicle for my favorite topping, spicy and tangy banana peppers. For a Modern 'Za: Otto Of course, no roundup of pizza spots in Boston would be complete without mentioning Otto. Otto has embraced the “new” style of pizza that emphasizes fancier toppings adorning a thin crust. Native to Portland, Maine, Otto has taken the Boston area by storm, opening three locations in just a couple of years. Its crunchy crust (also available in a gluten-free version) is the backdrop for red sauce or no sauce at all, assorted meat and vegetarian toppings, and melted goat’s-milk or cow’s-milk cheese. My favorite combination here is butternut squash, ricotta cheese, and cranberry, which creates an unconventional masterpiece of sweet, tangy, creamy, and acidic flavors. Otto specializes in creating topping combinations such as these, and each is done to perfection. Photos by Fiona CoxeRead More
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We are lucky in Boston to have so many amazing green spaces to choose from, whether right in the city or quite nearby. One of my favorite places to get a dose of greenery is the Charles River Esplanade. In between Storrow Drive and the Charles River, the Esplanade extends for 3 miles between the Museum of Science and the Boston University Bridge and is connected to Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, and the West End by a series of footbridges. Huge crowds gather on the Esplanade on July Fourth for the fireworks and Boston Pops concert, but there are lots of reasons to spend time on the Esplanade all summer long. Here are a few of Boston’s coolest things to do on the riverbanks. Catch a Show at the Hatch Shell The Hatch Shell hosts free live concerts and movie screenings each week. The Landmark Orchestra will kick off their summer season on July 16 with a performance of Carmina Burana, continuing with a fresh concert each Wednesday evening through August 27. The WBZ Free Friday Flicks movie nights focus on family-friendly films like Despicable Me 2, The Goonies, and Frozen. Check out the full schedule of Hatch Shell events. Work Up a Sweat The Esplanade’s fields, bike paths, and tennis courts welcome athletes of all ages, and an exercise course stocked with outdoor gym equipment makes it easy to design your own fitness plan. For a more organized workout, check out the free group exercise classes available all summer long, including yoga, Zumba, and tai chi. Kids have plenty of space to burn off extra energy, too: the Esplanade’s three playgrounds include a state-of-the-art playspace that opened in 2011. Get Out on the Water Don’t forget that the Esplanade is a gateway to the river itself. Summer is the perfect time to explore the waterway, and Community Boating makes learning to sail easy and accessible. A fixture on the Esplanade since 1941, Common Boating offers sailing memberships for adults and kids, as well as one-day sailboat and kayak rentals. Plan a Picnic Beacon Hill Bistro on Charles Street will pack up a picnic for you with one hour’s notice, including a rustic basket and blanket to borrow. Across the footbridge in Beacon Hill, Savenor’s Market would also be a good place to stock up on a few picnic essentials. Now, where to take your meal? I’d recommend my favorite place on the Esplanade: the docks that extend into the water along the shore. They are an amazing place to rest, catch a cool breeze on a hot day, and let the world pass by—especially while enjoying a cold treat from nearby J.P. Licks. Check out our favorite Boston picnic spots for more suggestions. Photo by Laura ChassaigneRead More
The MBTA is constructing its first new T station in more than 25 years, set to open on the Orange Line this fall. The reason? To grant Bostonians easy access to Assembly Row, Somerville’s brand-new one-stop shop for outlet shopping, dining, and entertainment. Of course, the main draw here is the outlets. In total, there will be almost 10 football fields of shopping, featuring heavy hitters like Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike, Loft, and J.Crew. Pendleton has even opened its first Massachusetts shop at Assembly Row. But there’s much more to this urban destination than some of the best shopping around Boston. Here are a few highlights: 1. Sweat What better way to loosen up for a round of hardcore shopping than a free outdoor yoga class? Instructors from O2 Yoga host classes in Baxter Riverfront Park on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. If yoga is not your speed, take a free boot-camp class instead. Evolve Bootcamp will whip you into shape Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. Find the class in its meet-up spot under the metal trusses. 2. Redecorate Who doesn't love a craft fair? Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through September 13, Assembled: The Handmade Arts Market showcases arts and crafts by Somerville artists, Etsy artists, and New England’s top creative gurus. 3. Do dinner and a movie The AMC Assembly Row theater helps you knock out the dinner-and-a-movie date in one fell swoop, offering a number of onsite dining options (including a wine a cocktail bar) and waiter service during screenings. You can even take in an IMAX film as you relax in the theater’s reclining seats. Outside the theater, there will soon be a number of restaurants to suit any palate. Right now, the main attraction is Papagayo is a trendy Mexican kitchen and tequila bar (be sure to try the made-to-order guacamole!). A handful of other restaurants are set to open, including Earls Kitchen + Bar. Hailing from Canada, this casual grill will serve up comfort food like burgers and pizza. Be sure to check out the other eateries opening soon. 4. Go block wild with the kids The Legoland Discovery Center is a premier spot for children and families. This indoor fun center gets imaginations whirring with Lego recreations of Boston’s buildings, two Lego rides, a 4D cinema, a large, soft play area, and building tips from the experts. 5. Have fun (for free!) Assembly Row was built with the outdoors in mind, so it features parks and trails along the gorgeous waterfront that are free and open to the general public. Outdoor lounge seating invites picnics and impromptu gatherings with family and friends. Photos by Sarah McManusRead More
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