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Marina and SoMa
Late-night pizza spot with killer cocktails
A second Delarosa opened up in the Financial District last October, so now you don’t have to trek all the way to Chestnut St to get your Roman-style pizza fix. We love Delarosa because you can usually walk in and get a seat, the cocktails are on point, and the thin, crispy wood-fired pizza never fails to satisfy our late night pizza cravings. You can get all of the classic flavors you love (margherita with burrata), but the more elaborate options, like clams, marinara, chorizo, pecorino romano, garlic, chili flake, sofrito are hard to resist. And there’s even vegan cheese and sausage if, for some reason, that’s your thing. Best of all, the Downtown location is open ‘til midnight on the weekends, and the one in the Marina on Chestnut Street stays open until midnight during the week and 1am on the weekends.
Chicago-style deep dish and a great whiskey selection
Apparently Tony Gemignani felt the 13 pizza styles available at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana weren’t enough, because a few years ago he opened Capo’s, a nearby spot that specializes in authentic, Chicago-style pizza served on four types of crusts: deep dish, cast iron pan, stuffed, and cracker thin. Our favorite is the Italian Stallion (mozzarella, fontina, Italian beef, Chicago Italian sausage, horseradish cream sauce, chives, sweet peppers, and Romano), but we don’t know how to choose between the deep dish and cast iron pan versions, so please don’t make us. And while the pizza is enough to keep us coming back, it’s worth mentioning that the exposed brick walls, curved red vinyl booths (each of which pays tribute to a Chicago mobster), tin ceiling, and functioning (!) 1930s phone booth gives Capo’s a cool, old-school vibe that makes dining there a real experience. Oh, and one more thing you might be stoked on: there over 100 whiskies on the menu.
Lower Nob Hill
Neapolitan-inspired pizza with creative toppings (make a reservation)
We first fell in love with Del Popolo’s 20-foot, glass-enclosed shipping container truck that houses a wood-fired oven, and though that love will never fade, we’re pretty stoked that now we can get the Neapolitan-inspired pizza at the brick and mortar location almost any time we want (well, anytime after 5:30pm). The wood-fired oven still takes center stage, and the pies -- with their blistered crust and creative toppings -- might even be better than what we first fell for. Our favorites? We'd have to say the anchovy and the margherita and salami piccante. Just expect to wait… unless you planned ahead and made a reservation.
Thin-crust pizzas with toppings that can change daily
The fact that Flour + Water has been open since 2009 and it’s still impossible to get a reservation before 9:30pm pretty much says everything you need to know. This place serves up thin-crust pizzas that are wood-fired in under two minutes. The toppings are seasonal and change daily, but the funghi is one we go back to again and again.
Western Addition and Mission
Authentic deep-dish pies with gluten-free thin crust
We weren’t sure about putting two deep dish spots on this list, but Little Star’s cornmeal crust is just so satisfying, there was no way we could omit this Bay Area favorite. Order the Brass Monkey even though it’s not on the menu: it’s the Little Star (spinach blended with ricotta and feta, mushrooms, onion, and garlic) with the addition of sausage. We’re also big fans of the thin crust pizza; it’s just hard to make ourselves order it when we know we could devour a deep dish pie instead (FYI: gluten free options are only available in thin crust).
Creative Neapolitan pies cooked in a 5,000-pound oven
The Neapolitan pizzas at Mozzeria are all cooked in a 5,000lb Stefano Ferrara oven in the center of the restaurant, so you can watch as your pies being prepared and cooked. There are traditional pizzas, but you want to go for one of the creative options instead: our current favorites are the Hosui Pear with pancetta and brie, and the Peking Duck. Oh, and Mozzeria is one of the only deaf-owned and operated restaurants in the country. No worries if you don’t know sign language; you place your order using pen and paper.
Lower Pac Heights and Mission
Neapolitan-inspired pizza with long waits to try it
There’s always a crowd waiting for a table at both locations, but that’s because this Neapolitan-inspired pizza is some of the best in SF. We’re obsessed with the Clam Pie (yeah, that’s right, clam on pizza), so we like to get that and a Napoletana (tomato, anchovies, capers, hot peppers, olives, oregano) to share... and a cannoli (not to share) for dessert.
Crispy, thin-crust pizza. Only four tables. Cash only.
There are only four tables at this tiny pizza spot, so try going there for lunch or at off-peak hours to get your crispy, thin-crust pizza fix. If you must eat when the masses do, you’ll be offered blankets and drinks though, so the wait’s really not that bad. The tomato, mozzarella, basil, and pepperoni pizza is consistently delicious, but we’re really crazy about the rotating specials. Most recently, we had a pizza with farm egg, English peas, shiitake mushrooms, and truffled pecorino. That particular pie might not be available, but rest assured, everything that comes out of the kitchen is drool-worthy.
Home of the 12-time World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani. Thirteen styles of pie.
Tony’s is home of the 12-time World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani, which is probably all you really need to know. But since you made it this far, we’ll also let you in on the fact that many of the ingredients are imported from Napoli, and there are seven different ovens because there are 13 types of pizzas: Neapolitan, Californian, Classic American, Classic Italian, Coal-Fired, New York, Sicilian, Roman, Detroit, St. Louis, Stout-Infused, Grandma, and, yes, even Gluten-Free, since that’s a thing so many people are into these days. Obviously, you need to make it your life mission to eat every single type, but we suggest starting with the Coal Fired New Yorker (mozzarella, hand-crushed tomato sauce, natural-casing pepperoni, sliced Italian fennel sausage, Calabrese sausage, ricotta, chopped garlic, and oregano) and go from there.
Best pizza in SF. Five pie styles. Pricey.
Una Pizza Napoletana is very San Francisco in a way that can annoy a lot of people. You can’t make reservations. The hours are limited (Wednesday through Saturday only). When the dough is gone, the restaurant closes. And the only thing on the menu is pizza. No appetizers. No desserts. Just pizza. Not only do they only serve pizza, they only serve five kinds of pizza, none of which include meat (unless it’s Saturday, when they offer up the famous Apollonia, consisting of fresh eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, salami, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh garlic, sea salt, and black pepper), and all of which come exactly as listed. And at $25 a pop, the prices are sky-high. Yet even with all that, this is still the pizza we find ourselves craving over and over again. If only that wait weren’t so damn long.
Great slice spot for when you’ve been drinking in the Mission
When you’re craving a slice for a midday or late-night snack, Arinell is the place to go. Order it Neopolitan or Sicilian (deep dish) and choose from a limited but traditional list of toppings, like pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies, and green pepper. Basically, if you’ve been drinking in the Mission and are craving pizza, this is as close to a New York slice as you’re gonna get.
Go-to for breakfast pizza
The wait for thin-crust pies and creative cocktails is just as long now as it was when this industry favorite opened in 2008 (call ahead to put your name on the list), and for good reason. All 12 dinnertime pizzas are worth ordering (especially the hot salami), but the trick to Beretta is actually to go for brunch, when you probably won’t have to wait, and you can order a bunch of the dinner menu pizzas... but also the carbonara, which is bacon, two eggs, mozzarella, pecorino, and cracked black pepper.
Delicious margherita pie with amazing decor
This cozy Italian restaurant has a lot going for it, but we’d be lying if we said our two favorite things weren’t the following: 1) The wallpaper, which is called “Bay Area toile” and features local landmarks and legends, like Too Short, Joe Montana, Alice Waters, and E-40. And 2) the pizza, which is wood-fired in a gorgeous pizza oven from Italy. OK, we also love that there’s usually a pizza on the menu that raises money for local schools. And that the service is super-friendly. And that there’s a lovely back patio with heaters. But even if all of that other stuff didn’t exist, we’d still go all the way out to the Avenues for the margherita and the spicy salami pies. And that sexy-as-hell wallpaper, of course.
Neapolitan-style pizzas with seasonal ingredients
If you really love pizza, then you definitely won’t mind the trip “all the way” to Glen Park to get Gialina’s pies that some (ahem, Michael Bauer) say are the best in the Bay Area. We don’t know if we’d take it that far, but the handmade, thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas (baked in -- gasp! -- a gas oven, not a wood-fired one) are phenomenal. There are over 10 rotating pizzas to choose from with ingredients based on seasonality, but if the Wild Nettles with pancetta, mushrooms, red onions, and aged Italian provolone is on the menu, get it. You can also add a farm egg to any pizza and they’re all available with a gluten-free crust. Oh, and if Glen Park just feels way too far away, Ragazza in the Lower Haight is owned by the same person and serves a very similar style.
Potrero Hill, SoMa, West Portal
Classic pizza with an all-you-can-eat option on Monday nights
Goat Hill Pizza can get overlooked because it’s such a neighborhood spot, but if you haven’t had it recently, change that immediately because it has some of our favorite crust out of any pizza on this list. It’s not Neapolitan (how much Neapolitan pizza can one person eat?). And it’s not deep dish. It’s pizza like what you liked when you were a kid, only so much better because the sourdough crust is somehow crunchy and chewy all at the same time. And get this -- on Monday nights, the Potrero Hill location does an “all-you-can-eat” situation from 4pm to 10pm where waiters bring slivers of pies straight out of the oven around the restaurant, and you can eat as many as you want for just $12.95.
Neapolitan-style pizza in stylish setting
Zero Zero is less of a “pizza spot” and more of a slightly fancy restaurant, which makes it a perfect option when you want to dine with a group of friends or enjoy dinner with a date. And while there are lots of excellent small plates and salads on the menu, the shining star is the Neapolitan-style pizza, which always comes out of the oven with a crust that has a few blackened blisters, and the perfect ration of crunch (just enough) to chew. There are nine pizzas on the menu, a bunch of which are named after SF streets, but the margherita is the one that wins our hearts again and again. Zero Zero also has a great cocktail list and a “build-your-own” soft serve menu for dessert that you’ll tell yourself you’re not going to get, but you’re totally going to get.