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Oct 1, 2001 02:33 PM

Best Pizza in the City

  • j

I recently had wonderful, wood fired, thin crust pizza at Via Vai on Union.

Upon finishing the last piece, I was awfully tempted to say it was the best I'd ever had in SF.

I wonder, what are the SF Chowhound opinions ?

Where's the best pizza in SF????

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  1. Pizzeta 211 on 23rd (?) Ave. and California is awesome. Thin crust, seasonal toppings, total charm.

    9 Replies
    1. re: diligent

      I think I've seen 'Pizzeta' discussed on this board.

      One of those neighborhood secrets folks are somewhat reluctant to divulge. Right?

      Well, thanks for sharing.


      1. re: JohnnyP
        Melanie Wong

        Here's a link to Rochelle's post.


        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I'm a tomato sauce fanatic when it comes to I have to recommend Paradise Pizza which is on West Portal and 14th. I grew up on Eagle Pizza on Taraval....

          1. re: Nicole

            I love Za's and Tomasso's. Had Tomasso's on Friday night--one of the best crusts around. But by far my favorite is L'OSTERIA on Columbus. Thin and crispy authentic Italian pizza--wonderful little place.

            1. re: Laiko
              Melanie Wong

              Tomasso's has that taste of wood-fired ovens. Here's a link for board newcomers to the last time we talked about some of these places.


              1. re: Melanie Wong

                If you are in the area, "The House of Pizza" in downtown San Jose is, I think, the best pizza, hands down, that I have sampled in the Bay Area. A classic joint, utilitarian the the core, it serves up no apology pizzas laden with full fat mozzarella, chewy and spicy linguisa and a heavenly low oregano quotient tomato sauce. They do not make
                anything resembling a noveau pizza so don't expect any worm laden salads to cool off the sizzle of this pie.

                1. re: Ken Hoffman

                  Wow, all that and no worms.

                  Sounds like a winning combination and, since the Grandfolks are in San Jose, I think you just gave me a good excuse to go visit!

                  By the way, have you ever been to Amatos in DT San Jose?

                  Supposed to have best cheesesteak & italian sausage sandwiches around.

                  1. re: JohnnyP

                    Sadly, no I haven't.

                    1. re: Ke Hoffman


                      1162 Saratoga Avenue,
                      San Jose, CA

                      Haven't been yet myself, but my folks go frequently and claim it is quite good (Mom is a serious cook and chowhound... I wouldn't dismiss her opinion).

                      Following are a couple quotes about the place from
                      "The Best Philly Cheesesteaks" webpage...

                      "I would like to inform you about a restaurant in San Jose, California that serves cheesteaks almost better that Philly's. They also serve hoagies that taste so fresh and delicious. There are so many types of sandwiches it would take me a month to try them all. They also have a "Pizza Twist" also known as a pansiradie. The toppings for that is sausage, cheese, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and meatballs(your choice). The name of the restaurant is "Amatos" which originated in Camden and Pennsauken. NJ. I think that the quality of the steaks, pizza, hoagies and fries are great and some of the best I have ever tried."

                      Submitted by Adam R. G. (


                      "I would like to tell you about a location in San Jose, CA. that is truly the best in the WORLD. This guy has got it down. When you go into this place you can close your eyes and you would would think that you're in any good-- and I mean good-- steakshop on the eastcoast. This place I'm talking about is AMATO'S in San Jose ,CA. First when you ask them for a Philly steak they say they don't sell Philly steaks but if it's a cheesesteak you want well you might have found the right place. First he asked me if, I ever had a real cheesesteak? I told him YES. So he asked where? I said Philly- Geno's and Pat's-- you know the best. Well this guy is from Pennsauken,N.J. The rough type. He tells me "Good, at least you have something to judge it by." I asked him if he flies in the rolls and meat like everyone else. This guy Bill (the owner) looked me in the eye and said, SON meat is meat the cows here aren't any different then the cows on the east coast, youjust have to know what part to use. So I asked about the rolls, and I'm going to tell you,this roll is one of the best I have ever had, and I have had many. I have tried every roll in Phila. and South Jersey and they are the best around everyone has his or her own favorite. But this guy tells me, "I don't use day old bread or frozen, so if someone tell you they fly it in, that's the way you get it . There are great Italian bakeries right here you just got to find someone who takes pride in their work. And he must have found one because his rolls are great. Well I ordered a cheesesteak and I'm going to tell you it was the best I have ever had THE WORLDS GREATEST. So if you're ever in San Jose the place for the best is AMATO'S.

                      I'll give you the # so you can call: (408) 246-4007.
                      Submitted by ("


    2. z
      Zach Georgopoulos

      I'm partial to the thin crusted pizzetas at Macaroni Express on Columbus (around Jackson, I think).

      1. I like Za on Hyde St in Russian Hill. If I can't be living in Brooklyn, I'll settle for their thin crust and fresh sauces.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowhoundX

          Ya, Za!

          There's a Za Spot on 11th @ Harrison, too. My favorite. I grew up in NY, so no "fru-fru" pizzas for me. But they make a MEAN mushroom pie.

        2. m

          For those thick crust lovers, the deep dish pizza at "The Front Room" is the best. They have a location on California and Hyde and I think 9th and Judah.

          For thin crust, North Beach Pizza cant be beat.

          1. Pizza is like a painting - one man's masterpiece is another's waste of canvas. I grew up in Chicago (Giordano's, Bacino's, Gino's, etc), so I love the huge stuffed pies. The only one that I can find out here that is decent is Zachary's (I like the one farther from Cal better). However, my wife was raised in New York and can't stand it. Actually, that's a little harsh - she likes it but says it's not real pizza, thus, she walks the bridge home. In SF, we've had good pizza at 211, Tommaso's, Pauline's, Giorgio's, but nothing has ever "blown me away". Not like Ray's in Chelsea (@ 17th) or St. Mark's Pizza. Tried North Beach and Vicolo - they're alright. Used to like the sauce at Pizza Pino on Lombard, but haven't been there for a couple of years. So it's a continuous search for "good za". Our current late night and delivery fave is Nizario's on Geary. The sauce and crust are excellent, just the right cheese, all in all, a good pizza. Add in the fact that delivery in our area (Lake st) is blisteringly fast and the low prices, and you have our choice. However, I have not tried a few places yet - Victor's on Polk, Golden Boy, Cheeseboard, Via Vai, so obviously this is my work in progress.

            P.S. Have tried the pizza at Arizmendi and IMO it has a good flavored crust, but has a greasy feeling that seems to linger a little too long - not my favorite, but tasty, nonetheless.

            2 Replies
            1. re: srf1

              I like Nizario's also, especially after a night at the bars (I think they are open until 3:00 am).

              The crust is nothing like the New York style I prefer but the pizza is infinitely better than Bella's and a step above Giorgio's.

              1. re: Mike W

                That's what I think as well. Not a gourmet pie by any means, just good and dependable.