Five pizzas every San Franciscan should try

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Five pizzas every San Franciscan should try

A bi-weekly special pizza at Pizzetta 211 in the Richmond district, by Kian Nassre, Web Editor.

A bi-weekly special pizza at Pizzetta 211 in the Richmond district, by Kian Nassre, Web Editor.

Kian Nassre

A bi-weekly special pizza at Pizzetta 211 in the Richmond district, by Kian Nassre, Web Editor.

Kian Nassre

Kian Nassre

A bi-weekly special pizza at Pizzetta 211 in the Richmond district, by Kian Nassre, Web Editor.

Kian Nassre, Web Editor

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Whenever my mom travels for work, my dad and I embark on what we call our “Pizza Odyssey.” Basically, we have tried almost every good pizza place in San Francisco. Sorry deep dish or NY slice fans, but I have a bias toward Italian thin crust pizzas. And now, for the benefit of the Urban community, I am sharing the five best places I have tried. Now, these are not your run of the mill pizzas that you just grab when you need a bite to eat; these are some top-notch pizzas that you get when you want to sit down and eat something so good that you’ll want to order 40 more just for yourself.

Kian Nassre, Web Editor
A Margherita pizza at Mozzeria

5. Mozzeria

This one stands out for an unusual reason…

Address: 3228 16th St. (Mission Dolores)

Times: Open for dinner every day but Monday

Mozzeria is a modern pizza place in the Mission with a rather unique story: the restaurant is owned and operated by deaf employees. Ordering is actually quite easy—you can point at menu items and most of them can lip read.

The story of co-owners Melody and Russ Stein becoming deaf entrepreneurs makes the restaurant an interesting addition to my top five, but the food is not so outstanding that it makes it into the top four. The pizza with dipping sauces is great, the appetizers are scrumptious, the desserts are delectable, but there isn’t as much wow factor as the others on this list.

Personal recommendation: the Margherita with a crust dip and a bombolino (an Italian doughnut) for dessert.

Kian Nassre, Web Editor
A bianca pizza at Del Popolo

4: Del Popolo

So good that it had to run away from the crowds on wheels

Address: Restaurant at 855 Bush St. (Nob Hill), food truck at Off the Grid in the Presidio

Times: Restaurant open for dinner every day but Monday, food truck open every Sunday except during winter

I first saw the Del Popolo pizza truck when I went to the Off The Grid food truck event in the Presidio a few years ago. Since then, I have stood in line for that truck almost every Sunday during the summer. The food truck has one pizza: a Margherita. Why would I stand in line for one pizza almost every Sunday? Because Del Popolo’s pizza is THAT good. Eventually, Del Popolo also opened a restaurant downtown with more pizzas.

The pizza crust is puffy and pillowy, and their Bianca pizza (I like tomato sauce but I LOVE white pizzas) blurs the lines between cheese and crust when you are eating it; both are chewy, both have little distinctive flavor yet still taste scrummy, and both melt in the mouth. I loved the Bianca so much that I celebrated my 18th birthday there.

Personal recommendation: Margherita at the food truck, Bianca at the restaurant.

Kian Nassre, Web Editor
A bianca pizza without arugula at Ragazza

3: Ragazza

It’s a race to see if you’ll finish your pizza or correctly pronounce the name first

Address: 311 Divisadero St. (between Hayes Valley and Haight Ashbury)

Times: Open for dinner every day

Situated next to the car washes on Divisadero, Ragazza has some of the more unusual flavors on this list. The starters include dates filled with gorgonzola and meatballs with pistachio salsa. The flavors are a mix of classic Italian cuisine and slightly more atypical flavors, such as wild nettles + provolone, burrata + blood orange, or nduja + mushrooms.

The pizzas have a thin, crispy crust. The Bianca has onion creama and preserved lemon (the peak of the unusual flavor combos), giving it an unusually delicious tangy flavor.

Personal recommendation: Bianca without arugula (why do some places put a salad on top of the pizza?)

Kian Nassre, Web Editor
A Margherita pizza at Delfina

2: Delfina

If you haven’t been to ONE of them yet, what are you waiting for?

Address: 2406 California St. (Pacific Heights), 3611 18th St. (Mission), 688 Mission St. (Yerba Buena)

Times: Open for dinner every day and open for lunch every day but Tuesday

Delfina has grown into a busy Bay Area franchise of pizzerias. I myself go to the one on California, but there are two others in the city, as well as one in Burlingame and one in Palo Alto. The menu features not only great pizzas but also great Italian antipasti and entrees. Sometimes they have an arancini starter (a fried rice ball filled with cheese) that is to die for. My parents usually get their meatballs. Overall, Delfina is a pizzeria that has something delicious for everyone.

Even though the crust isn’t as billowing as Del Popolo’s, it is still quite puffy and is perfectly complemented by their simple-yet-effective flavors. Their tomato sauce has such a perfect balance of acidity that this is one of the few places where I prefer a red pizza to a white pizza. Plus, this is the kind of pizza where if all the cheese accidentally falls into your mouth, you can see the bubbly flavorsome top of the crust underneath the sauce and rub your finger to gather it, not that I have ever done that.

Personal recommendation: Margherita, and arancini if they have it.

Kian Nassre, Web Editor
A rosemary pizza at Pizzetta 211

1: Pizzetta 211

My absolute favoritest pizza of all time

Address: 211 23rd Ave. (Outer Richmond)

Times: Open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday

I am so obsessed with Pizzetta 211 that if my parents ask me where I want to go to dinner, all I have to say is “you know where,” and they do. By now half of the staff knows me by name and most of them know me as the kid who asks what the daily starter is before ordering the same pizza always.

211 is a rather small and quaint place in a mostly residential part of town, but don’t let its small size fool you: this pizza is GOOD. They have a couple pizzas that are always on the menu and three that change every two weeks. The three that change always include a pizza with a farm egg, a vegetarian pizza (usually corn or squash), and a sausage pizza. But my pizza modus-operandi is the rosemary. This white pizza features Fiore Sardo cheese, more cheese, more cheese, rosemary and pine nuts. There is no other way to describe it than to say that it melts in your mouth.

Personal recommendation: THE ROSEMARY!

Honorable Mentions

Gialina: Sister restaurant to Ragazza in Glen Park. (2842 Diamond St.)

Flour + Water: Famous Mission spot that is impossible to get a reservation at (2401 Harrison St.)

Goat Hill: Neighborhood pizzeria joint in Potrero Hill (300 Connecticut St.)

Piccino: Tasty foodie hideaway in Dogpatch (1001 Minnesota St.)

 

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