Bobby G's Pizzeria - Berkeley
I checked this place out for lunch today. It just opened on University a few doors west of Shattuck.
I tried a couple slices and was generally impressed. It's good, above-average NY style pizza, maybe not quite as good (yet) as Gioia and Pie in the Sky but definitely much better than Arinell. The crust is nicely charred, light on the sauce, and the toppings I tried (pepperoni, sausage, garlic, olives) were all really good quality. Slices are $2.25 + 50 cents/topping. They're only serving pizza and salads right now but the website lists paninis, pasta, and desserts.
Good to have another entry into the Berkeley pizza wars.
kc72- the O.P. noted that Bobby G's is on University near Shattuck: 2072 University Avenue
Here's the website with menu:
Looks like they have a good array of toppings including soy cheese and smoked oysters! I'll check it out this week, as I still haven't found a favorite CA pizza place in my 3+ years here.
And organic dough and sauce. What do you think would be good with smoked oysters? I like the concept but not sure if they would pair well with cheese.
They did take the Hawaiian pizza to a new level adding mango puree
Paradise Pie – Fresh whole milk mozzarella, roasted ham, chopped pineapple, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a swirl of mango puree
PROS: Organic, vegan & vegetarian offerings
CONS: Restaurant website says pizzas are made with the "freshest possible ingredients." The vegetable pizza we ordered was not flavorful and tasted as if it had been frozen. Crust had a very flat, bland taste. Veggies were tasteless. The salad was average.
QUALITY: Below average. Not fresh tasting.
PRICE: High for what was received.
ENVIRONMENT: Casual. Clean. Busy. Big TVs with sports playing on the walls when we visited. There are couches, tables, and also a bar where customers may eat.
SERVICE: Attentive. A nice young man explained all the restaurant's offerings. Partial table service. Order at the counter and the waiters bring the food to your table.
We love making and eating pizzas, especially at Gioia, Cheeseboard, (Berkeley) and Flatbread shed (Mill Valley).
I read the Chronicle review, plus I read rave reviews and checked Bobby G's out with my husband at the end of Nov. The food we tasted did not live up to the high standards set on the Chronicle review and the restaurant website. Not "gourmet" as described on the website. Perhaps the rave reviews are outdated. If this is the case, I hope they improve their food and return the food to the high gourmet standards the place has set for itself.
The veggie pizza is one of their weaker pies. The Margherita is very good, as is the caeser salad. If you stick to the simple, classic stuff, their food is better than both Cheeseboard and Gioia. With the more adventerous or "cal-fusion" pizza they tend to slip. In terms of organic offerings, it's one of the best values in the East Bay. Nothing on the menu is mind blowing, but it's reliably tasty and affordable, and sometimes that's exactly what I'm looking for. Great draft beer and ice cream seals the deal for me.
I agree that the Pizza Margherita is good, and since nobody else has mentioned it, the Chicken Pesto Panino is really great (and a great deal too since it comes with a small salad for $8.50).
I went today and was disappointed.
First of all, I should say that my preference is for plain cheese NY style pizza. Frankly I don't see why Arinells gets so much criticism. Well, I wanted to try Gioia or Pie in the Sky (based on your comment as well as others') but they are both closed on Sunday. So I went to Bobby G's and ordered a slice of cheese. It was quite small, perhaps 2/3 of the size of a slice at Arinell's SF location. It was also rather mediocre. Not bad by any means, but nothing to make me want to go back. Also it had a faint flavor of olive oil. I don't mind olive oil but that made it less ny-like to me.
I was still hungry after one slice and I realized that Arinell's was just a couple of blocks away so I ordered a slice there; it was on the smaller side - the last slice left from a pizza, I hate it that pies are not cut evenly and there is always one sub-standard sized slice; at any rate, that was not a huge problem today since it was my second slice, but it was a little disappointing. Anyway, it seemed fine but not as good as Arinells in SF (I had never been to the berkeley location before). I wonder if they use different ingredients? Didn't seem to have as much cheese, the sauce was ok. (I'm not an "extra cheese" person usually, since too much cheese ruins the proportions, but it just didn't seem to have quite enough.) At any rate, I felt like I had two mediocre slices today. I don't make it to Berkeley often, but I will make an effort to visit sometime to try the other places.
Oh, and one place that I do like quite a bit is Giorgio's on Clement Street and 3rd. I never hear anyone talk about this place - maybe people don't realize you can get slices there since it looks more like a sit down and order a whole pie kind of place, but they will sell you a slice to go if you ask. (I don't know if you can order them if you eat in - it is a table service place, not a counter-style place where you order a slice to eat there.) I should qualify this by saying that the slices are a little bit crispier than NY pizza usually is but I think the flavor is great.
i also think when arinell's in on, it is pretty good, but as you also suggest, what hurts
them is their low quality control -> high variance. sometime too small a slice,
sometimes too little sauce, sometimes too little cheese etc. i can only assume the
problem would be solved if they had more consciencious "pizzaiolos" since i think
they have a good recipe..