>> Monday, January 09, 2012
Right around the corner from the world famous market "Formaggio Kitchen" (where Julia Child loved to shop) and just across the street from one of my favorite upscale bakeries sits a simple, no-nonsense pizzeria that churns out delicious, hot, and inexpensive pies (yes, in Boston we call pizzas "pies").
I first heard about Armando's when one of Boston's most well-respected and famous chefs commented that it was one of his favorite places to eat.
After moving to my new hood and realizing it was only a 10-minute walk away, I told Bryan we had to try this local favorite.
Armando's is a family owned operation started by Armando Paolo, originally from Benevento, Italy, over thirty years ago. His daughter Rina now owns the place, and runs it with the help of her husband and her son Michael. The restaurant is very locally focused, supporting neighborhood sports teams and school activities. The walls of Armando's are adorned with framed pictures of little league teams from local schools. In fact, in 2010 the local residents requested the city name the corner of Huron and Concord in his name. Today, it is officially called Armando Paolo Square.
Armando's has both Sicilian style (thick, bready-crust) pizza as well as New York style pizza. We asked Michael what we should order. He personally loved pepperoni (or was it sausage?) and onions, but he also said that one of the most popular slices was the spinach, tomato, and garlic pizza.
We decided to try sausage and mushroom on the Sicilan and try the tomato, spinach, and garlic on the normal pizza.
We grabbed a simple booth seat and waited a few minutes for our pizzas. While waiting, a large crowd of high school students walked in and started ordering pizzas. I guess this place is popular with the local students!
Soon afterward, our pizzas arrived piping hot! I really, really liked the tomato, spinach, and garlic pizza! It was not that greasy at all, and was generously topped with fresh sautéed spinach, fat slices of tomatoes, and tons of garlic.
The crust was nice and crispy yet had a nice, hefty chew to it as well. Definitely enjoy these slices fresh. I can see the crispy bottom getting soggy pretty quickly if it sits around for too long.
Armando's has a pretty sizable takeout business, so I'm guessing the take-out pizzas are still pretty good. However, if you really want to experience their pizzas at their peak, definitely eat-in, order a few slices, and eat them as soon as possible! They are so much better hot, crispy, and fresh.
I was thrilled to discover such a delicious pizza place so close to home. The prices are quite reasonable, and the food is good. Sure, the decor looks like it hasn't changed since 1980, but hey, that's part of the charm.
Many think it's the best pizza in Cambridge, though part of that draw probably comes from the nostalgia it brings back for people who grew up eating it.
Hey, nostalgia or not, I'm stoked there's such a great Italian-owned neighborhood pizza joint so close by.
163 Huron Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138