Anyone who still says that San Francisco isn’t a good pizza town has clearly not been paying attention. The arrival of Pizzeria Delfina and Pizzeria Picco in 2005, and the subsequent onslaught of new, wood-fired pizzerias in the last three years — including the emigration of Neapolitan standard-bearer Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana from the East Coast to the West — have led to a seismic shift in pizza pickiness across the Bay Area. While it is true that we are still short on quick and easy slice places that don’t suck, there are actually a few of those, as well as a small army of Neapolitan devotees, and several astonishingly good truck/cart operations pressing into neighborhoods where good pizza used to be harder to find than parking.
As we compiled this list of the best, most reliable, and most delicious pizza destinations in the Bay Area, we realized just how few of these places existed five years ago. A list made in the middle of the last decade could not have been nearly this long, and by our count, 34 of these 50 restaurants (52 really, because we’ve made sister restaurants Pizzaiolo and Boot & Shoe Service, and Beretta and Delarosa share spots) have opened since 2008.
With the rise in standards for good pizza in San Francisco has come a subsequent blossoming elsewhere, with brand new wood-oven operations popping up in Oakland, Healdsburg, and Napa. You also have pizzaiolos learning to do the best with what they’ve got, like Pizza Hacker Jeff Krupman, who coaxes 1000-degree heat out of a hacked Weber Grill, and Keith Freilich of Berkeley’s Emilia’s Pizzeria who uses a gas-powered monster of a Wolf commercial oven that he knows gets way above 800 degrees, which is as high as his infrared thermometer goes.
But what unites all of the entries on our list, regardless of the temperature of their oven, is the quality of their product, and their Bay Area-style dedication to using excellent, seasonal produce and well sourced meat and cheese. No matter what, and as with the burger compendium we did last year — not to mention the national pizza roundup that Grub Street published last week — there will likely be detractors, and we’ve undoubtedly left off a place that someone out there holds near and dear. We hope you’ll at least hear us out. Like most of you, we are passionate about pizza, and we try to choose our carb feasts wisely — especially after working on this little project.
The slideshow is in alphabetical order, but in the interest of brevity, below is our personal top ten.
The Top Ten Best of the Best Pizza Spots
Links take you to specific slides in the slideshow.
3. Little Star
5. The Forge (Oakland)
6. Pizzetta 211
7. Boot & Shoe Service (Oakland)
8. Del Popolo
10. Zero Zero