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California Pizza Kitchen? (Opening in San Francisco)

Looks like a bit of suburbia coming to downtown San Francisco with the imminent opening of a California Pizza Kitchen (at 3rd and Jessie, in the old International Food Court Space). Anything of distinction on this chain operation's menu? The CPK in Shanghai puts out some weird-lookng pizzas, but that might be just some local peculiarities.

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  1. pizza will come down to preference, but i've always enjoyed their appetizers and salads for the most part....

    1. Tricolore Salad (crust w/ or w/o the salad... you can add the crust to any salad)

      BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad (light on dressing, no tortilla strips)

      Margherita Pizza

      Key Lime Pie


      1. Pretty much all the salads are really good! My faves are:
        tricolore salad (salad on top of crispy flatbread)
        grilled vegetable salad (with or without grilled chicken)
        thai crunch salad

        As for the pizza, my favorites are:
        Wild mushroom Pizza with grilled Chicken
        Milan (thin crust)
        Sweet and Spicy Italian Sausage
        White Pizza (sans the bacon)

        1. There has been a CPK on Geary in the Theater District off Union Square for quite some years. There is a newer one for at least a year, maybe 2 on Van Ness near Opera Plaza.

          2 Replies
          1. re: coconutz

            Well, you are at least partly right. According to the CPK website, there's ONE in San Francisco, at 524 Van Ness. Shows you what I know.

            According to CPK's locations map, the Van Ness branch is in Northern California, and the new 3rd & Jessie branch is in Southern California. I guess we can finally place the dividing line between Northern and Southern California at Market St. Sounds good to me!

            1. re: Gary Soup

              Is the one on Geary gone? It was a good place to take a little kid after a play. (Though my son burst into tears when his pumpkin pie turned out to be pumpkin cheesecake.)

          2. Not the place for good pizza! A couple of nights ago, I thought I would try it again.
            A new creation called Greek pizza had to be one of the worst, that I ever had. The crust was dry, tough, and over baked, while the chicken was hard to find. But there was a lot of chopped cucumber and onions piled on it. Rather tasteless also. When I spoke to the Manager about the severe lack of chicken by showing him the TINY TINY cube on one slice and the two TINY TINY cubes on another slice, I was assured, that it was premeasured. So I asked how much chicken does that come to. After consulting the Manual he came back to tell me, that it amounted to 2.7 ounces! Isn't that less then a sixth of a pound? Or a timbalful before baking. When it was served the chicken pieces were merely very small specklike dry cubes! So overall, it was a lousy meal with a lot of marketing.
            When I mentioned to the waitress, that she did't ask if I wanted whole wheat crust, she casually said, that she didn't have to ask! For the $11.29 + tax and tip, a couple of frozen pizzas taste better and are a better deal with visible chicken on it.


            1 Reply
            1. re: nutrition

              i tend to stray away from any of their funky innovative pizzas, although the greek does sound like it would be intriguing. I tried the thai chicken pizza on a whim not too long ago and hated it. I prefer their pizzas that are a bit more classic! To be honest, im a little afraid to try the tandoori chicken pizza!

            2. I generally stay away from chains but CPK is an exception to the rule.

              Somehow, I just can't get enough of their Chinese Chicken Salad.

              1. I've gone to the one in Tyson's Corner Mall in McLean Virginia. The food was great, I had a pasta once with mushrooms and some kind of goat cheese pizza another time. Generous wine glasses as well. I liked it.

                1. Try the Thai Curry Noodles.......they are cooked al dente and have a delicious green curry sauce...w/ crisp vegetables...you can add chicken or shrimp.

                  1. Not a bad chain. I actually like the weird toppings. A good choice would be to get one funky one and one traditional and split between 2-4 people.

                    1. Last time I went I had the Steakhouse chopped salad and it was great. First time I went we got the Sweet and Spicy Italian Sausage pizza and it was good too. I have only been there twice but enjoyed it both times.

                      1. Agree that the salads are relably good, as well as the soups.

                        1. Okay, it's not my first choice restaurant but if my friends want to go, I will go with them for some drinks and pizza. I did not like a lot of their pizzas but there are a couple things I will go back to are BLT pizza and the goat cheese/sausage pizza. Just because you don't see it everywhere.

                          Did not care at all for any of their pastas nor appetizers.

                          Mr. Fatty

                          1. Worked there for about six months during college just to experience restaurant life. Learned some secrets...

                            There is a secret vegetable plate, to which you can add a blackened chicken breast (blackening seasoning available due to the Jamaican Jerk Pizza--better w/o the bacon)... You can add blackened chicken to anything actually.

                            The best chicken of the salads is that that comes w/ the Oriental Chicken Salad... less gristle. You can order this chicken as a sub for any chicken in another salad. Unless you like your salads drowning, get easy dressing or on the side.

                            The spinach-artichoke appetizer can be served w/ pita instead... much better choice.

                            They'll toast the bread, and it's much better.

                            You can sub veggies for pasta in any pasta dish.

                            Any salad can be served on the tricolore crust.

                            You can double up on turkey or salami on the chopped salad, if you cancel one... i.e. no salami, double turkey, no extra charge.

                            Portabello ravioli can be made w/ pink sauce, not just red or white.

                            Any pizza can be made w/ extra thin crust, neopolitan style.

                            That tandoori pizza... yeah, the chicken is flourescent pink... do with it what you will.

                            The "new" pastas generally aren't new; they're old dishes w/ mushrooms added, or onions taken out, or etc.

                            The pastas do not last over night; the sauces separate, esp. the cream based ones, and it's quite icky the next day.

                            The kids' mac'n'cheese... very tasty. The brownies (kids menu for 1.19) are really really good w/ or w/o vanilla ice cream.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Emme

                              Whoa Emme, that is awesome. Is it like In & Out where they have secret names or titles? Or do you just tell exactly what they want?

                              1. re: camarokyle

                                Just tell 'em... but be specific... if they don't enter your modifications properly into the computer, it can go awry... For example, if you ordered extra sauce for the mac'n'cheese w/ one of our chefs, you needed to clarify extra *cheese* sauce, or you got more bechamel and less cheesiness. The other stuff though above are all easy mods.

                            2. Their best dish is Portobello Mushroom Ravioli in cream sauce! Better than at most Italian restaurants. Tricolore Salad Pizza (it's a pizza rather than a salad) is also fantastic. We also love Tuscan Hummus. It's not authentic Arabic or Greek hummus, but it's damn good!
                              (I'm a hummus maniac.)

                              These three dishes are all we order every time we go there whether in CA, Dallas or FL.

                              1. Been to CPK's from Honolulu to Baltimore to here in South Tampa and a lot of places inbetween...

                                I also like the Portobello Mushroom Ravioli too-but with the red sauce (not a cream sauce fan.) Love the hummus. The split pea soup and the tortilla soup are also both really good!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: HeatherFL

                                  I have to agree with the Hummus rec. It is soo good. Not authentic, but a great midday shopping snack nonetheless.
                                  I was not impressed with their pizzas, but I have only tried two varieties and have yet to try a salad so I can't say for sure if I love CPK or not.

                                2. Most interesting, that the preferred dishes ordered are everything but the pizzas!

                                  1. They took the Peking Duck Pizza off the menu.....it was my favorite!
                                    It gave me the impetus to try something new........
                                    Love the noodle dishes and salads!

                                    1. I do like the Rosemary Potato pizza, but I haven't had it in years because I can't resist the Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad. I love the extra jicama crunch. We usually order takeout, so the dressing comes on the side.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                        i went to the sf cpk .. they are very nice .. =]

                                        my fav is jamaiican jerk chicken pizza ..


                                        it even tastes awesome when you purchase it from your local grocery store and bake it in the oven for that night in!

                                      2. They have great Salads, especially with Blue Cheese Dressing. I once scored a tub of it and have yet to figure out, without ordering a huge catering order, how to get another one... LOL! :)


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Dommy

                                          Call and ask your local CPK -- they'll most likely accommodate your request.

                                          I've actually bought a gallon of their sweet/sour sesame sauce for a school picnic once. So it can be done.

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              The gallon jar even came with a twist-on pump for easy dispensing ...

                                              It was like CPK and Smart & Final all rolled into one!


                                        2. I love their salads, though I often see little distinction between the half and full orders.

                                          The vanilla bean that drenches the tiramisu is heavenly.

                                          I like the spring roll appetizer, especialy the slaw that comes on the side.

                                          One thing I don't like...the bread that first comes to the table. It's very uninspiring.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chica

                                            Ask them to toast/heat the bread (which they'll do in the oven alongside the pizzas), and it makes it much better. Otherwise, for a buck, you can get a plate of warm pita slices instead (usually w/ hummus but a buck by itself), which is good w/ butter alone.

                                          2. In my limited experience, the simpler and more traditional the pizza, the better. I had a Chinese themed calzone there about 10 years ago and it wasn't good. Mozzarella + hoisin sauce = very wrong.

                                            Anything with goat cheese has been good, and I do like their honey wheat crust. It is particularly good with salad on it.

                                            My sister likes their steakhouse chopped salad, but be warned... She said the menu changed somewhat recently and you have to watch the descriptions. The steakhouse chopped salad used to be called something else and they renamed it. And it doesn't contain any steak. When my sister inquired about the name change, our waitress commented that several people had complained about the lack of steak given the name.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                                              My family likes it. I think its disgusting. McFancyPizza. Salads are barely edible, unless you prefer the chinese noodles, peanuts, or other doo dads they use in place of fresh lettuce.