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Jun 17, 2004 01:11 PM

Pizza suggestions Inner Sunset and beyond

  • m

I am organizing a casual group dinner in the Sunset with some old college friends; I am thinking of pizza, but I wanted to get some suggestions first from you guys. I may consider another area too, but I really want to stay in the Inner Sunset. My options are Milano, Cybelle's front room, and the controversial Villa Romana.

Milano: I saw someone eating one of their pizzas on the street one day and it looked and smelled good, but I would still like some more feedback.
Villa Romana: I hear this place is old and overrated, and overpriced.

Cybelle's: Is this chain any good? I've heard
Mixed things about it.

Gracias ...Mil


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  1. w

    Hey, nice picture of Aaron Rodriguez (aka "Man of a Thousand Masks"). Is he still associated with either Santo or the Blue Demon?

    Milano's is OK, if you happen to like thick crust, but the toppings have a way of sliding off the slices when held at any angle, and their crust is kind of doughy. Not always the freshest tasting pizza.

    Cybelle's Front Room is very similar to Milano's in terms of toppings and crust, and is alot noisier, in my opinion. It is great for large groups, but the pizza is quite average, IMHO.

    Villa Romano is smaller, has better lighting, somewhat more intimate, but still good for large groups. Pizza is about the best of the three you mentioned.

    If you insist on this area, how about Pasquale's on Irving near 8th? They are great for large groups and their pizza is better (I think) than any you mentioned. At least the toppings are fresh, not too heavy on the tomato sauce and the dough is thick, yet thin enough to have some crunch underneath instead of a soggy mess. Their sausage, olive, and bell peppers has yet to disappoint.

    If you're willing to go outside the Inner Sunset, say to the Richmond District, there's Gaspare's which is great for large groups, and has fantastic thin-crust NY style pizza.

    Also for thin-crust, there's Amici's over on Union St. and their new-ish location on King St. near SBC Park. Try the garlic, sun-dried tomato and clam.

    The best place for thin-crust NY Style pizza, of course, is Pizzetta 211 -- but this place is definitely NOT suitable for a group your size due to very limited seating. File away for a future personal visit or with a smaller group of 4 people or less.

    5546 Geary Blvd (between 19-20th Avenues)
    SF (415) 387-5025

    Pizzetta 211
    211 23rd Avenue (near California St.)
    (415) 379-9880

    8 Replies
    1. re: wedgeheadjunkie

      if you are considering inner richmond vs. sunset, how about giorgios on clement, around 2nd?

      1. re: wedgeheadjunkie

        I second Pasquale's.

        Had Cybelle's front room (on 9th) the other night and it was nasty. I had to pull thick globs of cheese off the top before eating.

        1. re: tedm

          third Pasquales, and the owners are nice and accomodating

        2. re: wedgeheadjunkie

          I haven't tried the places in the Sunset that you name, but I have been to the Amici's on Union St. (driving there all the way from my home in Rockridge) because it's so good. Their margherita pizza rocks. And it's a fairly large restaurant and can hold your group.

          I thought Gaspare's was overly oily when I was there, but the place was charming and seemed to have potential.

          1. re: katya

            Never say anything bad about Gaspare's. It's where pizza was born, groomed and perfected. It's where grape clusters festoon the rafters. In fact, it's the only place in the world that makes and sells pizza.

            1. re: katya
              Robert Lauriston

              You drove past Tommaso's to go to Amici's!?!?!?

              For future reference, there's a branch in Dublin, and another in SF by the ballpark.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I went to Tommaso's a few months ago and (gasp) thought it was just OK. I could see it had potential (crust was perfect) though and plan to go again and order differently.

            2. re: wedgeheadjunkie

              I completely agree with the Gaspare's recommendation. Arizmendi has good pizza, but it doesn't sound like it fits the bill for Mil Mascara's stated purpose. If you leave the westside altogether, there are many, many more options, but I confess there are times when only Gaspare's Bruce's Special pizza will do. A little oily and heavy on the garlic, but terrifically yummy.

            3. I had dinner at Pizzeta the other night after the review in the Chron,it was terrible and the service was down right rude.

              3 Replies
              1. re: leroy

                Pizzette 211, I assume? I've had nothing but positive experiences there. Though that was before the Chron article.

                However, it is a miniscule restaurant. I would hesitate to go there with a group larger than 4.

                1. re: leroy

                  I found the pizza to be underwhelming and way overpriced. I won't be back, and I'm within walking distance of Pizzetta 211.

                  1. re: kresge86

                    Leroy and Mil Mascaras posted in June of 2004. Perhaps you could start a new topic such as current pizza choices in the Sunset.

                2. I actually like Villa Romana's plain cheese pizzas; I'm not a toppings guy, so I can't speak to those, but the sauce is generally OK (by SF standards) and the cheese is pretty good. Also, they usually have a nice char on the crust.

                  I haven't tried Cybelle's, but I didn't like Milano or Pasquale's- both remind me of Domino's.

                  The other one I'd mention since others are piling on the Richond is Giorgios on Clement near 4th or so. Decent.

                  And as a caveat, these are all graded relative to other San Francisco pizza places, not NY. All pizza out here is pretty lackluster.

                  1. If you're willing to eat a little early, and take your dinner to an apartment, the best Inner Sunset pizza is Arizmendi's. Not NY pizza, but so good that after trying it, I felt badly about having roundly condemned SF pizza.

                    You could also buy a half-baked one to put in your oven later.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: AppleSister

                      Thanks for the suggestion! Have yet to try this place, but their gourmet pizza-making schedule sounds interesting. Will give it a try soon.


                      1. re: wedgeheadjunkie

                        I usually tend to ask for the pizza without oil topping, as their tendency is to put quite a bit of olive oil on the top of the pizza. The end result is a bit too oily for me. Just an FYI if you are sensitive to that.

                        1. re: jen maiser

                          I know Arzemendi makes the best pastries around; so I would assume their pizza would be good.

                          1. re: Mil Mascaras

                            To my taste, the Sunset location's pizza is not as good as the original Cheeseboard's or the Oakland Arizmendi. Heavier, thicker and wetter the two times I've tried it. Haven't been to Emeryville.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I felt the same way the first time I tried it, around 2 years ago, but had it again about a month ago, on a mushroom day, and it had an awesome cornmeal crusty texture.
                              I do feel like Arizmendi's goods can vary. Their provolone-olive bread, for example, seems to be much chewier and moister in a small roll, rather than a large loaf. But their corn-cherry scones are consistently wonderful, though I might be biased b/c I like anything made out of corn :)

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                Michael Alderete

                                Yeah, I agree, Arizmendi can be inconsistent. I like other places better.

                                Not quite in the Sunset, but we like Bambino's. They deliver to us (in the Lower Haight), dunno about your area. But it always arrives in good shape, delicious, hot, and fresh. It's the best pizza delivery (and better pizza overall, except Tomaso's) I know of in SF.


                      2. For a general assessment, I'd say:

                        Milano's is my favorite, both in terms of food & dining experience
                        Cybelle's is fair food and dining experience
                        Villa Romana also fair, and expensive