BOOF on the Road: Galleria Umberto

On a recent trip to Beantown for business, I had an entire afternoon free to do whatever I pleased and after some recommendations from friends, I headed over to the North End to spend my afternoon overlooking the Harbor and taking in Boston’s “Little Italy”.

I had been to Boston a few times before, but I had never really ventured there on my lonesome and had as much time to wander around aimlessly and enjoy just being in a real city again (sorryimnotsorryscranton).  With a possible move to Boston on the horizon, I knew that it was important that I get my feet wet in all the top delicious eats that the city has to offer.  I am a New Yorker and a proud Yank and JET at that, therefore, many things from Boston/New England tend to upset me.  However, I was prepared to put that behind me and take a non-biased view of the city through its food.  Lets be serious, a key to a girl’s heart is also through her stomach.

Like any smart and savy foodie tourist, I quickly yelped “Best Pizza in North End” and was met by glowing reviews of Galleria Umberto.  This made my decision very easy.  If you are not looking for Galleria Umberto, you are sure to miss it but you will not miss the line that you are met with as soon as you open the door during lunch time.  As soon as you walk in, you feel the traditional old school Italian charm, something that even an upstate New Yorker like myself can appreciate in a Pizza place.  The older Italian gentlemen are really running the show and you can tell the restaurant has been in the family for multiple generations.  The eggshell white walls are covered in pictures from the old county except for the one covered in a wall-size colored painting of Italy itself.  There is nothing really spectacular about the interior, but then again there is nothing that is supposed to be spectacular about the interior.  It is all about the people and the food in Galleria Umberto.

It is a cash only lunch time spot that features Sicilian slices, Arancini (a fried breadcrumb rice ball usually filled with meat sauce, mozzarella and/or peas), calzones (spinach and cheese is very popular), and panzarotti (a smaller softer dough version of a calzone).  I am not going to lie, I was a little intimidated by all of these items that I had never seen before (Arancini and Panzarotti) and although they looked delicious in the oven, I had no idea what was in them and so I just opted for two slices of their beloved Sicilian pie.  The slices were big, the cheese was burnt and the dough was still thick and chewy.  There is a lot to be said when not only can the dough stand up to the weight of the cheese and the sauce, but also the cheese can be perfectly burnt without burning the underside of the crust. That is the sort of slice that Galleria Umberto serves up every time and a delicious slice it is.  I have said many a time that I largely judge a pizza place on their sauce because it can really make or break a slice of pizza and Galleria Umberto’s sauce is well seasoned and complements the other fresh ingredients of the pizza. I wish I would have had a bigger appetite to try the Arancini or Panzarotti but I unfortunately did not…I guess I will be going back.

Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to a North End legend, Galleria Umberto and they definitely live up to the hype.  This is even coming from a New Yorker who prefers her big pie slices folded in half.  I definitely recommend it if you want something local and authentic and SUPER DUPER CHEAP (1.35 for a slice!) during your next trip to Boston.

Grade: A-

Docked because they only serve lunch 😦

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