Everyone loves pizza -- from little brats at birthday parties, to old folks with no teeth, to humanoid turtle martial arts enthusiasts -- but what they all love even more than pizza is really great pizza. With that in mind, we've taken the liberty of directing you to the very best of SD's leaders in the pizza-making arts so you can impress everyone at your next party, dude.
8. Sicilian Thing
What you’re getting: Almost Lasagna
They do pizza two ways: round and thin or square and thick. You won't want to miss Almost Lasagna with ricotta and meatballs, which, as the name suggests, pretty much tastes like someone piled lasagna on top of pizza crust, ensuring that soon enough no one will be able to miss you.
7. Bronx Pizza
What you’re getting: 2 slices and a drink for $6
There’s a reason Bronx Pizza usually has a line out the door: if you love authentic NY-style pizza, this is the place to get it. The pies are on display, so just tell them which slice you want, they’ll throw it in their brick oven to warm it to perfection, and then you listen for the guy to yell out your number. Be sure to bring some dough -- the green kind -- because this is a cash-only joint.
6. Zia Gourmet Pizza
What you’re getting: Banana Split Pizza
Zia may be known for doing a healthier version of ‘za, but you can’t miss the Banana Split Pizza. It starts with a thick layer of chocolate topped with bananas, light cream cheese, chocolate chips, and then a drizzle of chocolate syrup over the top, because you needed some dessert pizza in your life.
5. Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria
What you’re getting: The Great Sausage Pie
The stuffed pizza at Lefty’s is 14in of mozzarella cheese-filled Chicago-style pie; it takes an hour to make and weighs several pounds. Order the Great Sausage Pie stuffed or deep-dish-style, and you’ll find a layer of their delicious homemade Italian sausage baked right in.
What you’re getting: The Mashed Potato
NY- and Chicago-style pizzas are everywhere, but Urbn is doing theirs New Haven-style, with coal-fired pies like the Mashed Potato: a white pie with a perfectly crisp paper-thin crust, a layer of buttery mashed potatoes, mozzarella, bacon, and Parmesan.
3. Blind Lady Ale House
What you’re getting: House Chorizo
They have a killer rotating craft brew list, so have a beer while you get up close and personal sitting with the other pizza fiends at the long communal tables. Despite the acronym, the pizza is anything but BLAH. You have to order the House Chorizo pizza -- it's got a spicy kick with poblano chiles, Fontina, epazote, tomato sauce, and Cotija cheese, and it's covered in their own chorizo made in-house from local meats.
2. Buona Forchetta
What you’re getting: The Nicola
Their pies are fired up in a giant gold-tiled wood-burning oven named Sophia (spoiler alert: she's hot!), and have Italian names like the Nicola: topped with mozzarella, mushrooms, a layer of thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, truffle oil, and their house San Marzano sauce.
1. Project Pie
What you’re getting: Anything you want!
At Project Pie, you can create a custom personal-sized pizza made on a perfectly crisped, secret-recipe crust made with the help of a modified tortilla press, choose any combination of the 26 toppings that you want (from pepperoni and sausage to rosemary and sea salt), or go with one of the nine pre-designed pies from their menu if you have no imagination.
1. Project Pie3888 4th Ave, Hillcrest
2. Buona Forchetta3001 Beech St, San Diego
3. Blind Lady Ale House3416 Adams Ave, Normal Heights
4. URBN3085 University Ave, San Diego
5. Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria4030 Goldfinch St, San Diego
6. Zia Gourmet Pizza3311 Adams Ave, San Diego
7. Bronx Pizza111 Washington St, San Diego
8. Sicilian Thing Pizza4046 30th St, San Diego
Hillcrest is one competitive restaurant neighborhood, but Project Pie has earned an edge over the fast-casual pizza chain competition by holding it down for over three years. Here, you can build a pizza with whatever you want on it (or everything!) for one reasonable price. Don’t feel like making decisions? There’s also a menu of pre-designed pies that are reliably tasty.
Buona Forchetta is cozy with a patio ideal for enjoying a glass of wine. The secret to its irresistible Neapolitan-style pizza is Sophia, a gleaming, golden, wood-fired oven designed by Stefano Ferrara in Naples, and named for the owner’s daughter. This South Park favorite has 35 pies at the ready and you really can’t make a bad call, whether you go simple with the margherita or opt for more substantial toppings. Pro tip: hold on to the olive oil and balsamic from bread service; you’ll want a puddle of it to drag your crusts through.
Normal Heights' Blind Lady Ale House scores with its thin crust pies and great beer selection from local and nationally renowed craft brewers. Stop in for a beer flight or an insanely cheap and insanely good $10 Margherita pie. For something a little bit fancier, cheese-heaped quattro formaggi and meat lovers' pies topped with house-made sausage and chorizo hit the spot.
The kitchen at URBN's 5,000 square-foot spot churns out coal-fired pizza as fast as the patrons can scarf it down, and that's saying something. Each of the craft pizzas on the menu bring their own unique flavor to the table (get it?), and you can even choose from a galaxy of sauces, toppings and cheeses, ensuring that the pizza you get is exactly the pizza you want. There's also a killer collection of craft and imported beers, as well as a number of craft cocktails and a fine wine list.
A Windy City-inspired 'za place that dishes out not only the deep and cheesy/saucy type of pie that is wayyy better than the Cubs, but also sammies and Chicago-style dogs.
A healthy and gourmet-but-still-purty-cheap 'za spot, with goodness like the The New Yorker (lean turkey pastrami combined with scallions, pepperoncinis, light cream cheese, fresh basil and topped with mozzarella) and the Banana Split Pizza (!).
This Hillcrest slice shop is known (and loved) for classic NYC-style pies and calzones with so much variety that it may take several visits to find your favorite. The no-frills seating area is fine for a quick bite, but if you want a full pie, it’s better to call ahead for a fresh one to-go. There’s no delivery, and the parking situation is a permanent pain in the butt, but pies this good are worth the trouble.
Sicilian-style pizza is a rare breed in San Diego, and nobody does it better than this longstanding shop in North Park. Don’t be fooled by the modest digs: aside from perfecting the namesake style, it also does a bang-up job on New York-style pies. Not sure what to order? The Sicilian-style Almost Lasagna, named one of the eight best pizzas in the city, is a great pick. Daily specials encourage mid-week pizza consumption, while everyday prices are so reasonable that it makes sense to order one pie of each style and plan on lots of leftovers.