Thursday Three – Pizza

You know that universal appeal that pizza has for kids? I can say with some amount of confidence that I did not see it as a child. Amey, on the hand, is crazy about it, on all counts has been crazy about it even when all he had access to Smokin’ Joes in Bombay. For a guy who basically argues for a home-cooked meal over eating out every time, he is ready to compromise pretty quick if pizza is involved. Initially I was astounded by his ability to be this excited about it each time. But then, a few years ago, San Francisco started to outdo itself in the pizza department. Now I’m hooked.

There are some fantastic options for pizza in the city now. The following three are our favourites. We proclaim them the best pizza in the city. Based on what, you ask? Based on the fact that Amey can eat here several times in a row and it doesn’t cause death by pizza.
All three of these place feature great thin-crust pizzas. We aren’t fans of deep-dish pizza. What we also love about these three pizza joints is that they don’t load up that crust. They each have a superbly calibrated crust-to-toppings ratio.  They are certainly worth your while if you are looking for a good pie.

The small little joint of Pizzetta 211 packs a powerhouse punch of flavor in its pies
. Since we discovered it about six months ago, this is our default pizza place. They have absolutely stellar pizzas sized just right so you don’t feel like a glutton for eating a whole pie. It is small and unpretentious and can easily take on any of the glitzier, popular pizza places around.

I’m sad to say we’ve never actually eaten at the restaurant itself. It has maybe three small tables inside and two on the outside, with a few bar seats. Given that we live so close, we’ve always preferred to take a couple of pizzas home, especially since they are popular. They have a small menu of about six pizzas but at least three of those change either weekly or each fortnight with based on seasonal ingredients. With exceptional combinations like chard and currant, eggs and potatoes, they showcase a fabulous eagerness to constantly enhance their product. They aren’t the first people to put an egg on their pizza in this city, but they do it best. It’s not too set and not too runny.

There is no way you can get bored of their menu since there is something new for you to try each time. I know I’m flinging the superlatives around a fair amount today, but here’s another one for you. This place has the best tomato sauce on a pizza I have ever had. Their San Marzano and mascarpone pizza is something special. I know I could eat that pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if you knew just how little I liked pizza before, you would know that is a big statement to make. Their menu also has calzones, which I haven’t tried, and desserts which I have. They also have ever-changing soups or other little starters that are sometimes soup, sometimes a polenta. We’ve tried the polenta, which we loved.

This place is worth your time trekking out to Central Richmond district, it truly is. But they just aren’t able to accommodate large groups so check with them if there are more than four in your party. Perhaps you’ll be in luck and it will be a slow day, but it’s unlikely. The only other thing you need to remember is that they are cash only.

Ragazza is one of the best things to happen to Divisadero. Considering this street has all-stars like Nopa on it, that is saying something. Before Pizzetta, Amey had us fighting traffic and risking being run over by double-parking on this street to pick up their pizza. They do have more room than Pizzetta but they are always, always packed like crazy.
They have a decent sized menu with antipasti, pizzas, pasta and an extensive dessert menu. Currently, we have a crush on their Brussels sprouts pizza with caramelized onion. They use preserved lemon in fabulous combinations with other ingredients. Amey loves their potato and bacon version. A big plus for me is that you can add Calabrian chillies (I love this ingredient to pieces) as an add-on to pretty much any pie. They also make a stellar basic Margherita.

They always have a mushroom pizza on their menu which is rich and meaty without a single shred of meat. They also do a great butternut squash pizza that I remember but think I missed this year. The pizza is better right there than it is after we’ve driven it home. The crust will get soggy if you have it sitting for a bit because it is so thin. It is delicious though.

Pizzeria Delfina is one of the most popular and superb pizza places in the city. I doubt I can say anything about this place that hasn’t already been said. Beautiful, thin, blistered pies covered with the best ingredients found anywhere. They have a Salciccia pizza which is what convinced me that pizzas are good eats. And when they have their broccoli rabe and olive pizza, you have to go in and try it. (Which is now. Go now.) They have these amazing gooey arancini that are also a must-try. Some times, they roast a head of cauliflower with calabrian chillies and capers and it is some of the best roasted cauliflower you will eat anywhere. The experience at Pizzeria Delfina is great from the moment you enter and write your name down on the chalkboard to when they seat you at a table with long, skinny bread-sticks.

The affogato here will wake you up after your meal should you need it. They are crazy popular so it is also possible you may need it before they seat you. Be prepared to wait for some of the best pizza around.


    • Sharmila

      no attic/basement here but there is another room you are welcome to :). You will love all the vegetarian goodness that SF has to offer on the pizza front.

  1. Stacy

    Oh, my husband is right there with yours in the realm of pizza-love. And I am with you — a convert, when the pizza is truly great. Of your list, we’ve only been to Pizzeria Delfina, and it was SO GOOD. We will have to find our way to the other two sometime soon! (:

  2. Divya

    Sharmila, did you just write a post involving pizzas topped with Brussels sprouts, Broccoli raab, *and* then something about a whole head of roasted cauliflower? My brassica cravings are never far away, but this takes it to a whole new level. I don’t think I’m going to get any sleep tonight.

  3. Rachel

    so, i just have to say, that if you are enjoying Ragazza then you should make your way to its older sister Gialina in Glen Park. We eat here every few months, it is delicious. Rob is also a pizza fanatic and would not think that any of the places you listed classify as real pizza (he is a die hard foldable slice pizza twice the size as your head, New York street corner pizza aficionado). So while he admits these are all good, they are just don’t work for him. (See Arinell’s take out on Valencia if you want to know what he defines as pizza). so, having said all that. Try Gialinas! it is delicious.

    • Sharmila

      Rob cracks me up, Rach. He belongs to the set that die-hard pizza lover set I knew would take issue with these selections. I admit I’m not a fan of the kind of pizza he likes, I prefer Cali style thin crusts like these 🙂
      Definitely putting Gialinas on my list!