Ever since we learned that almost 95 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, we sort of assumed that every month was pizza month. Turns out, though, that National Pizza Month is an official thing and that it happens in October. We can’t let an excuse to eat pizza pass, so we thought, what better time than right now to share our picks for the best pizza in San Francisco?
There are 11 spots on the list, all of which have something every pizza fanatic will find to love. Yes, even though they don’t all serve Neapolitan-style pizzas.
(You guys: We get that San Francisco is obsessed with the blistered puffy crust and chewy texture of a Neapolitan-style pie, but for the love of cheese and tomato sauce, there are other kinds of pizzas out there! Good pizzas! Pizzas that feel left out! Please stop ignoring them. Forty-five slices of pizza per person in the U.S. are consumed each year; they don’t all have to be cooked in 90 seconds in a wood-fired oven.)
Anyway, all we’re saying is: give pizza a chance. All pizza. Especially the pizza from these places, because they’re the best of the best in San Francisco.
When Beretta opened in 2008, it was the first time a lot of people experienced the fancy pizza with fancy cocktails for dinner concept. It was a concept that proved to be very popular, and almost a decade later, this industry favorite is still packed every single night, thanks to the fact that the food and the drinks have stood the test of time. There are 12 thin crust pizzas on the menu, which means you can go as plain or “fancy” (asparagus with pancetta, béchamel, fontina, egg, and sage) as you’d like. There’s also an option to add vegan cheese and vegan chorizo, and non-vegans can add an egg to any pizza for two bucks. Oh, and Adriano Paganini, the guy who owns Beretta, is also the guy who owns Delarosa, which churns out pizzas that are equally as delicious.
Del Popolo’s mammoth shipping container food truck, with its glassed-in kitchen and pizza oven, is hugely popular with San Franciscans, so it only made sense for the guys behind it to open a brick-and-mortar so we don’t have to chase the truck around town just to get our Del Popolo fix.
The naturally leavened, Neapolitan-style pizza comes out of a wood-fired oven that’s the centerpiece of the space and arrives at the table with a perfectly blistered, chewy crust and traditional but delicious toppings. Our favorites are the margherita di bufala and the salami picante. All of which taste even better when paired with a glass of wine, which is something you won’t be able to get if you go to the truck.
Let us be very clear that we would only recommend a restaurant in the Outer Richmond if it were truly worth the trek to the Outer Richmond. In the case of Fiorella, we’d recommend it even if it were in Timbuktu. That’s because we’re so in love with sitting on the heated patio and enjoying a wood-fired pizza and a yummy dish of pasta. The New Haven Pie and the Burrata Pie are our favorites, though if you’re craving meat, the Spicy Salami Pie is exactly what you would want from a spicy salami pie. There are also five pizzas on the brunch menu, including Green Eggs and Ham, which has broccoli di ciccio on it, so it almost feels healthy. Or it would, if not for the egg, pancetta, fior de latte, and ricotta.
POTRERO HILL, SOMA, WEST PORTAL
In a city where Neapolitan-style pizza is all the rage, we have to say we’re super thankful for Goat Hill and its heavenly sourdough crust that is perfectly crunchy and chewy. The pizza is cooked in a traditional brick oven and made with fresh ingredients—even ham and pineapple, if Hawaiian pizzas are your jam. And every Monday night at the Potrero Hill location is “Neighborhood Night” when you can get all-you-can-eat pizza for just $12.95. Yes, even if you don’t live in the neighborhood.
WESTERN ADDITION and MISSION
If you’re looking for Chicago-style deep dish pizza OR gluten-free thin crust pizza, then Little Star is the place to go. The menus are slightly different depending on which location you go to (they used to be owned by the same two guys, and then they split them up, each taking one), but they both offer the deep dish margherita and the deep dish classic (sausage, mushroom, onion, green bell pepper), and as many times as you’ll go back, those are really the only two you ever need to order. In a good way.
When we first ate at Montesacro a few years ago, we fell instantly in love. Unfortunately, it’s in a tough location—down a seedy alley in SoMa—and we kind of ended up forgetting about it. DON’T BE LIKE US. Seriously, this pinseria-enoteca may be off the beaten path, but once you step inside the space, which still has many of the elements of the 100-year-old bakery that used to be there, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another place and time.
What’s a “pinseria” you ask? And why are we talking about it in when we’re supposed to be focused on pizzerias? Okay, yes, technically pinsa is not pizza. That’s because the dough is made from a non-gmo blend of rice, soy, and wheat flour imported directly from Rome, and then leavened for 72 hours before going into an electric oven for 90 seconds.
It’s a bit more like a flatbread, but also, allegedly, a lot easier to digest. It’s also low-fat and low-calorie. Or at least it is until you add mozzarella and all of the other delicious toppings. Call it flatbread. Call it pinsa. Call it pizza. Just don’t forget to call it for dinner.
We love to grab a seat at the marble bar at Mozzeria so we can watch the 12-inch Neapolitan pizzas going in and out of the gorgeous Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven. There’s something for everyone—whether you’re a traditionalist (margherita with fresh mozzarella, grana padano, pomodoro, and basil) or adventurous (Peking duck with hoisin, spring onion, sesame seed, cucumber). There are also several vegan options, and a 10-inch gluten free is also available.
Oh yeah, and the owners and employees don’t communicate by speaking aloud. That’s because Mozzeria is one of the few deaf-owned-and-operated restaurants in the United States. It’s an awesome win for the deaf community, and for hearing customers just means you’ll order using pen and paper. Maybe that feels like something we should have said upfront, but while we think it’s super cool, the pizza is really the story at this modern pizza joint.
LOWER PACIFIC HEIGHTS & MISSION
Delfina basically had no choice but to open an offshoot specializing in its gourmet Neapolitan-inspired pizza. That’s just how popular the pies are. There are now four locations (Burlingame and Palo Alto also lucked out), but that hasn’t lessened the wait. The menu has all of the classics, as well as a clam pie we can’t get enough of, and a vegan pie that we will probably never try. Oh, and even though we’re really just here to talk about pizza, we feel like we need to put in a plug for the meatballs. They’re served in a tomato sauce and they’re definitely worth ordering.
Much like Fiorella, it’s also worth a trip to the ocean to get pizza from this tiny spot. It only has four tables, but offers amazingly tasty pizzas that rotate weekly based on what’s in season, which means you’ll fall in love with a pizza, and then spend the rest of your life trying to go back there when they have it again. Due to the size, there’s almost always a wait on the weekends, but the kind folks there will give you blankets and drinks while you wait.
Forbes once named this spot “The Best Pizzeria in America.”
Founder Tony Gemignani is a 12-time World Pizza Champion.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has seven pizza ovens.
Do we need to tell you more?
FINE. Tony’s offers 12 different types of pizza, and the menu clarifies how each one is cooked, the crust size, and what type of sauce will be on it. In the mood for a rustic medium crust cooked in a domed gas brick oven? Head to the Classic Italian section. Looking for a pie cooked in a 900 degree wood-fired oven? We don’t even need to tell you which section that will be in.
The facts that there are so many choices and that all of the pizzas are so delish just speaks to the talent level we’re dealing with here. And it doesn’t hurt that Tony’s also offers excellent craft cocktails.
Looking for deep dish? Capo’s is right around the corner and specializes in authentic Chicago deep dish pizzas. Can’t make it to North Beach? There are Slice House by Tony Gemignani locations all over the bay, and they all live up to the hype.
Is this the best pizza in SF? We don’t like to play favorites, but we will say that a lot of people think so. Every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Anthony Mangieri uses his massive blue-tiled wood-fired brick oven to make the same five handmade Neapolitan pizzas he made the week before (all of which are vegetarian). On Saturdays, he gets a little wild and adds the Apollonia (fresh eggs, parmigiano reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, salami, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh garlic, sea salt, and black pepper) to the menu. It’s a routine that has garnered him a huge fan base; people line up out the door to pay $25 for a 12-inch pie.
The restaurant takes no-frills to the limits. Pizza is the only food on the menu and the high-ceilinged space is very sparse. But who cares about décor or dessert when you’re eating pizza that is simple, authentic, and truly spectacular? That is, as long as you get there before the dough runs out. ‘Cause when the dough’s gone, the show’s over. That’s just how it goes at this spot.