Pizza suggestions Inner Sunset and beyond
- Mil Mascaras Jun 17, 2004 01:11 PM
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.
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
211 23rd Avenue (near California St.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
re: Melanie Wong
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.
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