Food & Drink

The Best Pizza Spots in San Francisco

The thing about pizza is that even when it’s bad, it’s still really, really good. But while the people of San Francisco had to pseudo-suffer many years of truly mediocre pizza, that is absolutely not the case anymore. Maybe no one thinks of SF as a pizza town, but we're actually home to a lot of pizza joints that are totally dominating these days.

All of the places that nabbed a spot on this list are dedicated to serving up some of the tastiest pies we’ve ever eaten... including in New York.

Delarosa
Aubrie Pick

Delarosa

Marina and SoMa
Late-night pizza spot with killer cocktails

There are two Delarosa’s about three miles from each other, which means wherever you are in this 7x7 town, you won’t have to trek too far to get your Roman-style pizza fix.  We love this pizzeria 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 that’s your thing. Best of all, both locations are open ‘til midnight on the weekends for your late night dining needs.

Capo's

North Beach
Chicago-style deep dish and a great whiskey selection

If you want to experience almost all of 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani’s styles of pizza, you can do so at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana where there are 12 different styles of pizza on the menu. But if you want authentic, Chicago-style pizza served on five types of crusts (deep dish, 8” deep dish, cast iron pan, cracker thin, and stuffed), you’ll have to go two blocks away to Capo’s, a neighborhood joint that caters to tourists and locals alike and feels like it was always meant to be a part of the North Beach food landscape. Each style is made with Ceresota Flour from one of the oldest mills in Chicago and our favorite is the Italian Stallion (mozzarella, fontina, Italian beef, Chicago Italian sausage, horseradish cream sauce, chives, sweet peppers, and Romano). If it’s still available, you should also order the Quattro Forni pizza, which is a spin on Gemignani’s World Pizza Championship winning dish, the Tre Forni, and is cooked four different times as opposed to three. There are only 10 made every day though, because of all of the special preparations it requires. 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. And one more thing you might be stoked about: there over 100 whiskies on the menu.

Del Popolo
Eric Zepeda

Del Popolo

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 elated that we can also get the beloved Neapolitan-inspired pizza at the brick and mortar location almost any time we want (well, anytime after 5pm on weekends and 5:30pm on weekdays). The wood-fired oven still takes center stage, and the pies -- with their blistered crust and creative toppings -- might even be better than the originals. Our favorites? We'd have to say the anchovy, margherita, and the salami piccante. Just expect to wait… unless you planned ahead and made a reservation.

Flour + Water
Flour + Water

Flour + Water

Mission
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 Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas that are wood-fired in under two minutes. The toppings are seasonal and change daily, but, when it’s available, the funghi is one we’ll go back to again and again. And, yes, we’re here to talk about pizza, but we’d be bad at our job if we didn’t also mention that the house-made pasta is some of the best in the city.

Little Star

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).

Mozzeria
Dyan Sue Photography

Mozzeria

Mission
Creative Neapolitan pies cooked in a 5,000-pound oven

The Neapolitan pizzas at Mozzeria are all cooked in a 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara 900 degree wood-fired oven in the center of the restaurant, so you can watch as your pies being prepared and cooked (it never gets old). There are traditional pizzas, like a margherita and a quattro formaggi, but you want to go for one of the creative options instead: our favorites are the Hosui Pear with pancetta and brie, and the Peking Duck. Mozzeria is also one of the only deaf owned-and-operated restaurants in the country, with owners who are determined to change the narrative about the damaging stereotypes about hiring deaf people in high-stakes jobs. No worries if you don’t know sign language; you place your order using pen and paper. And that smile on your face when you finish? That’s way better than a verbal “thank you”. (As long as it comes with a good tip, of course.)

pizzeria delfina
Eric Wolfinger

Pizzeria Delfina

Lower Pac Heights, Mission, SoMa
Neapolitan-inspired pizza with long (but worthwhile) waits

You’ll always find a crowd waiting for a table at any of Pizzeria Delfina’s locations, a pizza concept “inspired by the best pizzas of New York City and Naples, Italy” from the team behind popular Italina restaurant Delfina. But that’s because this Neapolitan-inspired pizza is wildly addicting. 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 -- and sadly only available in the Mission for dessert.

Pizzetta 211

Outer Richmond
Crispy, thin-crust pizza. Only four tables. Cash only. 

There are only four tables here, 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, 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, especially any pie with a farm egg. Really everything that comes out of the kitchen is drool-worthy, so you’re in for a treat no matter what.

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Courtesy of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

North Beach
Home of the 13-time World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani. Twelve styles of pie.

Tony’s is the home of the 13-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. There are also seven different ovens because there are 12 types of pizzas: Napoletana, Californian, Classic American, Classic Italian, Coal-Fired, New York, Sicilian, Pizza Romana, Detroit, St. Louis, Grandma, and Gluten-Free, all of which easily compete for some of the best pizza you’ll eat in SF. Obviously, you need to make it your mission to eat every single type, but we suggest starting with the Margherita Napoletana, the World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy (only 73 are made each day), and the Don Giovanni, which is coal-fired in a 1,000-degree oven topped with vodka tomato cream sauce. There are also some excellent appetizers -- like the meatball gigante, which is probably a pound of veal, pork, and beef (get the one topped with a farm egg and calabrese). Of course there’s great cocktails, and a fantastic selection of wine. Tony’s just received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for outstanding wine program for the fifth year in a row.

Arinell Pizza

Mission
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.

beretta
Aubrie Pick

Beretta

Mission
Go-to for breakfast pizza

The wait for thin-crust pies and creative cocktails is 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 10 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.

fiorella
Grace Sager

Fiorella

Russian Hill and Outer Richmond
Neighborhood Italian spot with wood-fired pizza and Instagram-worthy wallpaper

This Italian restaurant with two locations has a lot going for it, but we’d be lying if we said our 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. We also love that there’s usually a pizza on the menu that raises money for local schools. And the fact the service is super-friendly. And that, at the Outer Richmond location, there’s a lovely back patio with heaters. We also swoon over the “Green, Egg & Ham” brunch pizza, the Margherita pie, and the Spicy Salami dinner pizza. Oh, and the burger. The one with house spicy sauce, which is only available on Tuesday nights. Yeah, we love that. And that sexy-as-hell wallpaper, of course.

Gialina Pizzeria

Glen Park
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.

Goat Hill Pizza

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.

Zero Zero

SoMa
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.

Che Fico
Che Fico | Ed Anderson

Che Fico

NoPa
This popular hotspot serves the best pineapple pizza in town

The good news is that this crowd-pleasing Italian restaurant serves pineapple pizza (with red onion and fermented chili) which should end the “Is it a cardinal sin to put pineapple on pizza?” debate once and for all. The bad news is that it’s hard as hell to get a reservation. This can be attributed to the fact that all of the pizzas are incredible. They’re made using a sourdough yeast starter and whole grains grown and milled on the West Coast. This gives them a lightly charred-on-purpose crust that’s covered with Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, if you show up right when it opens, there’s a good chance you can snag a seat at the bar. And should you get that seat, be sure to also order any of the pastas and save room for noteworthy desserts.

Flour + Water Pizzeria

Mission
Feast on red and white pies to share or grab a “big slice” to-go at this Flour + Water spinoff

It’s still hard to get a reservation at the original Flour + Water, even 10 years after it opened its doors, but if you’re okay skipping the pasta, you can feast on a slightly different version of chef Thomas McNaughton’s popular pies at this joint that’s less than a mile away. What’s so different? Well, the dough is still fermented over three days, but the recipe has been modified and is baked in a deck oven to give it the char of a Neapolitan pizza, but with a crunch and chew that can stand up to delivery. Though pizza (red and white) is the reason you’re going here, there are other tasty things on the menu, including mozzarella sticks that are well-seasoned, gooey, and just crispy enough on the outside; a couple of salads; and soft serve for which you definitely need to save room. Everything is meant to be shared, but if that’s not your style, hit up the to-go window where you can get the daily $8 “Big Slice,” which is equivalent to one-half (yes, you read that right) of an entire pie and served on a paper plate.

Square Pie Guys

SoMa
Damn good Detroit-style pizza (and a great burger as well)

When it comes to pizza, we are equal opportunity eaters, but after years of thin crust Neapolitan-style pies ruling the scene in SF, we’re very excited about the pan-baked deep-dish newbie that is the Detroit-style pizza at Square Pie Guys. The dough on these crave-worthy pizzas is somehow crispy, crunch, and chewy, and when it comes to toppings, you can choose from more playful options like a buffalo chicken pie and “Don’t go bacon my heart,” a version with marinated kale, cherry tomatoes, and smoky bacon. Though our favorite is the classic pepperoni. You’re also going to want to order the house Szechauan dry fried wings (trust), and, even though you’re really at Square Pie Guys for the pizza, it’s important that you know that the burger (double grass-fed patty, American cheese, grilled white onion, pickles, shredded romaine, special sauce, and mayo on a brioche bun) is not to be overlooked. FYI/PSA: All of the pies can be made with gluten-free dough and/or vegan cheese.

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Daisy Barringer is a writer from San Francisco; her elementary school cafeteria served slices from Village Pizzeria every Tuesday, which totally made up for the bagel and cream cheese they called "lunch" on Mondays. Follow her on Twitter @daisy.