Patxi's Pizza - Palo Alto
I tried Patxi's for the first time last week and IMO, their pizza rivals Zachary's.
There were two differences I noted: 1) The crust at Patxi's is more of a traditional cornmeal crust and not the flaky, buttery crust from Zachary's. 2) Patxi's sauce is smoother and more garlic flavored than the chunky sauce at Zachary's.
The pizzas were made with fresh, high quality ingredients which perhaps justify the high price ($16 for a small pizza which is more than enough for 2 but probably not quite enough for 3). I also really liked the selection of draft beers.
I respect that the menu has only pizza and salads - they're keeping their focus. However, given the upscale (relative to) pizza parlor decor, I'm surprised they chose such a limited menu.
All in all, for someone living on the peninsula, I have no reason to make the drive to Rockridge anymore.
I went to the SF location last week and again was not disappointed. It satistfies me perfectly when I get that craving, after being raised in Chicago and living there for many years.
I went to Paxti's a few weeks ago, and can only say "I don't see it". The crust is average, the sauce is pretty good, the toppings are OK.
None of this measures up to Zachary's - although perhaps we disagree on points of style.
I greatly prefer Zach's near-pastry crust. I can get a good cornmeal crust lots of places, but that pastry thing they do is near heaven. Non traditional? Sure! Unique and tasty, instead.
Again, I greatly prefer Zach's sauce. It's chunky so you can *taste* the tomatoes. The tomatoes just rise up and *SLAP*. You prefer smooth? Fine for you - really - because lots of places make a traditional sauce (Amici's isn't all bad, for example, although the one that sticks in my mind is Rustica in Oakland).
Not to derail this discussion - Paxti's makes a decent pie - but I didn't find it memorable enough to consider going back.
Perhaps I was also in a bad mood. I found the room cold and empty, and the pizza took forever (longer than even a deep dish should - well over an hour).