Cheese, tomato sauce and dough: simple on their own but magically delicious when they come together.
With Brookline’s many pizza shops, the question is, which one reigns supreme? To settle this once and for all, we set out on a pizza tour and ranked some of the most popular slices of cheese pizza (or the closest alternative we could get) based on taste, texture, price and service.
Oath: 6th place
At $7.50 for a half-pizza, Oath takes the crown for last place. Although Oath offers a variety of specialty pizzas, including dessert and breakfast options, we opted for the traditional cheese. The flaky, buttery and chewy crust is reminiscent of fried dough, but the tomato sauce and cheese were underwhelming. Overall, it lacked any sort of satisfying crunch. As a whole, the pizza tasted more like a mozzarella stick than a traditional slice. While Oath was by far the largest store, it was nearly empty on a Friday night, and the service was very disappointing — we waited 40 minutes for our pizza.
Comella’s: 5th place
Comella’s square pepperoni pizza comes in second to last. At $3.48 per slice, this pizza was very thick. It had a crispy bottom but the middle dough was very soft and a little underdone. There were chunks in the tomato sauce and it was quite sweet, which worked well with the cheese and pepperoni. It was not greasy and overall, there was a good balance of cheese and sauce. The store is small and not very crowded. The service was timely, with the pizza only taking 10 minutes to come out.
Brookline SPA: 4th place
Out of all the pizza places tested, Brookline SPA was the cheapest at $2.68 a slice. It was the biggest slice of pizza and had a good ratio of cheese to sauce. The crust was thin but coarse, and it had crispy and crunchy edges. It had a vague oregano flavor but overall tasted like an ordinary slice of pizza. Although the store itself doesn’t have much room, the service is fast, making it a place for grab-and-go rather than a sit-down meal.
Upper Crust: 3rd place
In 3rd place is Upper Crust, at $4.25 per slice. Although on the more expensive side, the slice was big and overall tasted good. The pizza was very cheesy and had a nice thin crust. Although the crust was floppy and didn’t have a golden bottom, the combination of everything worked well together, and the flavors of the cheese and sauce were nicely balanced. The restaurant had very fast service as the pizza came out in minutes, and the environment was open, bright and relatively busy.
OTTO: 2nd place
Coming in at a close second, OTTO stands out with its more dim-lit interior, rustic design and a bustling, lively environment, even in the later hours. Their $3.21 slice deviated a bit more from the conventional cheese pizza with chunks of tomato all across the top layer of cheese. The tomato sauce was sweet, and the cornmeal texture of the crust made for a far more interesting bite. Out of all the places we visited, OTTO was the most crowded. With both a quick, by-the-slice counter and a restaurant-style option, OTTO offers the best of both worlds.
Pino’s: 1st place
Saving the best for last, Pino’s takes the prize for best slice in Brookline. With a homey, warm interior, the restaurant provides a welcoming atmosphere, and murals of pizza chefs plaster the painted walls. There was a long line, but the service was still incredibly efficient and fast. At $2.80 per slice, the pizza had more cheese than Comella’s but didn’t compromise a solid cheese to sauce ratio. The crust was thin, crispy and golden on the bottom and didn’t have any of the undercooked, doughy texture that we noticed at some of the other pizza spots. With rows of booths, Pino’s had the most seating, making for a perfect spot to dine with friends and family.
Note: We tried going to Stoked, but the wait was 30 minutes to get a table, even late at night.