Food & dining

quick bite

At A4 Pizza in Somerville, wood-fired pies and video games

A4 Pizza in Somerville.
Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe
A4 Pizza in Somerville.

Where to A4 Pizza, the Somerville pizza shop that is the little sibling of Cambridge restaurant Area Four. Emphasis on “little” — there are 36 indoor seats and a patio.

What for Those 36 seats are highly covetable. First, there is A4’s great pizza — wood-fired; crisp, charred crust made from 10-year-old sourdough starter; described accurately in press materials as somewhere between New Haven and Neapolitan in style. Also, there are video games. Play Tetris, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, and other classics from the comfort of your own table.

The scene A4 is just a sliver of a space, with the bar on one side and tables on another. With wood surfaces, exposed bulbs in wire cages, and framed album covers on the walls, it has an aesthetic that can be summed up as “hipster basement.” In one corner squats the pizza oven, with the profile of Jabba the Hutt. Women’s gymnastics play on the TV; on another screen, someone is failing spectacularly at Tetris. Servers wear red A4 T-shirts and Carhartt tool belts, accessories their own (large eyeglass frames a la Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie,” curled mustaches). A young woman with short blond hair makes the jean jacket and black miniskirt look fresh again. A group of tattooed men with shaved heads mix it up with a rainbow of sneakers. David Bowie, Johnny Cash, and the Talking Heads play; a waiter dances in the back of the restaurant. In the tiny women’s room, a deer head is mounted over the toilet.

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe
The Wellfleet Cherrystone Clam and Bacon Pizza at A4 Pizza.


What you’re eating Shaved zucchini salad and prosciutto with figs are fine preludes. But you’re here for the pizza. One topped with Wellfleet cherrystones and bacon is obviously going to be good. Even better are vegetarian pies — with mushrooms, lemony gremolata, and egg, or a version sweet with corn and roasted onions. For dessert: Hoodsies and Italian ices.

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Care for a drink? There are no cocktails here, just wine and beer, all you need at a pizza joint. You’ll find Basque and Macedonian whites, Corsican and Italian reds, and a Spanish rose. Bubbly Lambrusco makes a fine pairing with your pie. On tap are brews from near (Somerville’s Slumbrew) and far (German lager); there are plenty additional selections in cans and bottles. If none of this appeals, there is Fernet Branca and a whiskey of the month.

Overheard Video game-related cussing. One table offering tastes of Lambrusco to another. Conversations about new haircuts, getting your car windows smashed, stomach aches brought on by pizza overconsumption, and online life: “There came a point the other day where I thought, ‘I’ve reached the end of the Internet.’ ” “I hate LinkedIn. I hate it so much!” A customer geeking out about a newly purchased refrigerator. “It has French doors!” A Tetris-induced monologue: “I don’t know what I did just then. That was really bad. Oh no oh no oh no! . . . I shouldn’t have had so much Lambrusco.”

445 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-764-4190.

Devra First can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.