New York, this ain’t. That’s immediately apparent to any tri-state area San Francisco transplant, present company included, who’s ever found themselves hunting for the perfect street slice. But being the nation’s foodie capital means there is some world-class pizza to be had in the City by the Bay. There’s outstanding authentic Italian style, heavenly deep dish, and yes, even some passable New York(ish) pie. Here are the top 10 pizza joints in San Francisco, listed countdown-style for your reading suspense. Enjoy!
10. Zero Zero
Not only does this Soma pizzeria serve up first-rate thin-crust Italian-style pies, it’s also a see-and-be-seen spot that positively pulsates with energy. Good luck finding a table, or even a spot at the full bar, on a Friday or Saturday evening. Call ahead!
9. Pizza Orgasmica
They never fake it, and you’ll never forget the first time you try their sinfully scrumptious pies. Try the Honeymoon, a decadent veggie bacchanal featuring cheddar garlic sauce, broccoli, sliced tomatoes, green onions, zucchini, provolone ,and parmesan. Or the Menage a Trois — pure cheesy bliss. For every 10 deliveries, you get a free pie. Five Bay Area locations.
Perfectly prepared pure Italian deliciousness. The Marina — a simple, cheese-free pie featuring tomato, oregano, garlic, and olive oil — is a favorite. The Romana, which is essentially the Marina plus anchovies, black olives, and Calabrian chiles, packs a salty, savory punch. The margherita with mozzarella di buffalo adds delicious decadence to an old favorite.
This lesser-known Soma spot is owned and operated by Italian restaurateur Massimo Ballerini, one of the most charming hosts you’ll ever meet. He’s got a full Italian menu — classic trattoria fare plus pizzas that deserve to make this Top 10 list but somehow get overlooked by the foodie powers that be. Try it — you’ll like it.
6. Flour + Water
For the adventurous, the bone marrow pizza — marrow, rapini, lightly charred brassica, and fresh horseradish — is a one-of-a kind treat. The maiale (pork belly) pizza is also outstanding, as are all of their thin-crust, wood-fired authentic Italian pies.
5. Pizzeria Delfina
A foodie favorite for its authentic Italian-style pies. Some of the lightest crusts you’ll ever eat.
4. Little Star
Bring a deep appetite to this deep-dish institution, now with three locations. You can’t go wrong with The Classic — sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers — or the Little Star — spinach blended with ricotta and feta, mushrooms, onions, garlic.
3. Arinell Pizza
The closest thing to a New York slice you’ll find on these shores. Keep it simple — plain cheese, please. The only big bummer is that they don’t deliver. But for a late-night slice in the Mission (or at their original Berkeley location), nothing beats Arinell.
This place is now something of a chain, with nine Bay Area and two Denver locations. But that’s just a testament to how great their pies are. Although they’re known for deep-dish pizza, many claim their custom thin-crust variants are even better. Meat-lovers must try the Tre Porcellini — Zoe’s spicy salami and all-natural pepperoni, garlic-fennel sausage, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. The Spinaci Nuovi — fresh spinach, crushed garlic, mozzarella, tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt — is a delectable veggie option.
1. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
This venerable North Beach institution is so good that their margherita (limit 73 per day) won the World Pizza Cup — in Naples, Italy. But many regulars insist that’s not even the best pie they’ve got on offer. Being a Jersey native, I always go for the Original Tomato Pie de Lorenzo style with sausage. They’ve also got great California, Detroit, St. Louis, and Sicilian style, and there’s a slice shop just outside for when you don’t feel like waiting two hours for a table. Their pasta ranks among the best in town, too. No reservations!