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Best New York Pizza in SF/Oakland?

Anyone know of a real New York Pizza place in the San Fran Oakland area? HELP!!!

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    1. I thought Paxti's on Hayes was much better than Little Star...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mr_J

        Whichever is better, they're both Chicago-style.

      2. exactly. Im looking for real new york style. greasy, cheesey thin crust heaven...looks like its between Gioia, Lanespitter, PITS and Arinell....

        2 Replies
        1. re: Zion

          2d vote for Gioia...from a former New Yorker.

          1. re: Zion

            Rotten City Pizza in Emeryville is the best NY pizza I have found in years. Don't miss it. They have nailed the thin curst that isn't droopy with great quality ingredients. Better than Gioia.

            Rotten City Pizza
            6613 Hollis St, Emeryville, CA 94608

          2. I still say Haystack Pizza in Noe Valley. They have a pizza called The New Yorker that reminds me of Ray's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NoeMan

              I got so upset when Ray's moved from across the street where it sat for a hundred years, to another location that isn't really walking distance from my hotel anymore. Not so much that I loved their pizza, I loved their servers/owner/etc.

            2. I saw your posting and ordered a half-sausage half-pepperoni pie from Haystack to be delivered. Ugh. It's nothing like any of the NY pie I remember from my years in NY and NJ. It had a thick puffy crust and a completely different cheese combination and flavor than my memories. It was certainly not the fold-lengthwise wet consistency to which I'm used.

              The closest that I've been able to find in San Francisco is Village Pizza; one on Clement at Arguello, another on Van Ness near Bush. (There might be more locations.)

              Meh; what I really want is an all-night NY pie place - this posting has made me hungry.

              12 Replies
              1. re: mickeys

                There's a Village Pizza on Park St in Alameda. I wonder if it's a branch.

                1. re: DezzerSF

                  Village Pizza in Alameda is an independent, not part of th SF chain.

                  Is there still an branch in the Rincon Center? If you ask, they will add minced garlic to the pizza then warm it briefly in the oven. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

                  1. re: Miss Misha

                    The Village Pizzeria menu that came with my last delivery only references the Van Ness location, and one at Taraval between 21st & 22d -- no mention of Clement St. or Alameda.

                2. re: mickeys

                  You need to follow the instructions more carefully. The pizza I recommended is called The New Yorker and it is cheese only with a perfect New York style crust................... I did not recommend anything else.

                  1. re: NoeMan

                    It's true the New Yorker is different...thinner crust, scorched a little...

                      1. re: NoeMan

                        I get it unsliced so that I can reheat/crisp it on my pizza stone....

                    1. re: NoeMan

                      I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my original post about exactly what to order.

                      1. re: NoeMan

                        My better half is from the East Coast, and she had this craving for NY style pizza. After reading the recommendations about Haystack, we went and had the "New Yorker" pizza.

                        Nowhere near the real thing - is her verdict. My personal favourites are Delfina and Pizza Orgasmica, BTW.

                        1. re: osho

                          I like Pizzeria Delfina's pizza, but it's nothing like anything I've had in New York.

                          They call it "Neapolitan-inspired" but the crust is crisper, thicker, and not cooked in a wood pizza oven.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Agreed. Their pizza can also be quite "droopy" in the center of the pie. The pizzas are quite tasty, but not my all-around favorite, and don't strike me as all that NY-like really, either.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I should clarify that I simply like the pizza at Delfina and Pizza Orgasmica. I grew up in the UK, so this "NY-style" paradigm escapes me entirely.

                      2. Gioia's. Gioia's. Gioia's. But never on a Sunday. Try the mushroom. (The toppings are baked on, not applied after baking and heated so you get no raw 'shrooms.) My husband is from New York and we went on a taster and Gioia's it is.

                        Hopkins just east of Monterey in Berkeley. Few seats at a counter. Bench outside.

                          1. RE: Arinell's, here's a story to vouch for its appeal to a New Yorker -
                            On our way back to BART from a celebratory dinner at Chez Panisse, My husband stopped at Arinell's and bought a slice. After his first bite of folded-crust heaven, he bought another. We can't go anywhere else for pizza now (well, excpet New York, or course).

                            21 Replies
                            1. re: foodiegrl

                              I'm from N.Y. and Arinell's (the Berkeley location) is as close to N.Y style as I have found here. Pie in the Sky is good, but it has wheat flour in the crust. Gioia is just bad pizza even though the toppings are OK. The crust is soggy --and flavorless. A real disappointment.

                              1. re: leoj

                                I'm sorry. I can't let that comment go uncommented. Gioia, with the Cheeseboard, are the two best pies in Berkeley, if not the East Bay, if not the Bay Area. There's no way you can reasonably call Gioia "bad pizza."

                                1. re: peterme

                                  Obviously, "bad pizza" is a matter of opinion.

                                  I have two questions, though.

                                  1. For leoj, "it has wheat flour in the crust"... as opposed to what? I'm pretty sure I've only ever had pizza crust made from wheat flour.

                                  2. Since I've never been to New York, I don't know the true meaning of "New York style" pizza. Is it customary for them to pre-bake the pizzas, and then reheat them to order? If so, I will probably not be a fan of New York pizza, b/c I think there is nothing like a freshly baked pizza straight out of the oven! Reheating is ok for leftover pizza at home, but certainly not would I would want or expect from a good pizza place.

                                  1. re: chemchef

                                    The standard Ray's-style fast-food NY slice is cut from a whole cheese pizza that may be warm or cold depending on turnover. Any toppings are added, then it's reheated in a gas deck oven. Depending on turnover, you may be able to order a hot plain cheese slice that doesn't need to be reheated.

                                    That's pretty much what Arinell's does, except they often have pepperoni and combo slices as well. Again, they may be hot out of the oven, cold, or anywhere in between depending on turnover.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Famous Ray's or Ray's Famous?


                                      Many places will have a certain number of by the slice options with toppings baked on, but anything they don't already have they will add during the reheat. Depending on how cold the pizza looks, sometimes it tastes better, or comes across less oily if you take a slice without the reheat. I also like the East Coast style of having slices of Italian susage on the pizza instead of who knows what you can get out here.

                                    2. re: chemchef

                                      PITS uses a blend of whole wheat. Reheating is routine at NY places and imo doesn't detract from quality and can actually be beneficial if the crust of the fresh pie was not crisp enough.

                                      1. re: chemchef

                                        with new york pizza, the crust breaks a tiny bit when you fold it. i am from brooklyn heights, so i know

                                        1. re: adrouault

                                          I'm with you on this point (and also from NY). Try Arinell's if you haven't already.

                                          1. re: leoj

                                            is there anywhere in the north bay where you can get anything close to grimaldis?

                                    3. re: leoj

                                      The Arinell's in San Fran. has never produced either a good slice or whole pie when I have tried it....I have given up...unless there is a special time or pizziaola I should be looking for...

                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                        I agree. The SF location is not good.

                                      2. re: leoj

                                        Whether Arinell is "close to N.Y. style" depends on which of numerous NY styles you're referring to.

                                        It's a fair rendition of your average greasy Ray's-style fast-food slice.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Ray's is a big chain almost as numerous as starbucks and produces a very average pizza. I have never had a greasy slice at the Arinells in Berkeley and I think it is authentically NY in style though it can be inconsistent.

                                          1. re: leoj

                                            My Arinell's slices usually have a tablespoons or so of grease pooled on top and running off onto the plate. That's not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it's one of the things that homesick New Yorkers often cite among its desirable qualities.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Just had Arinell's for the first time today at lunch. Wow. That's damn good. Very Ray's-like. Loved the oils and good sausage was used too.

                                              1. re: NoeMan

                                                San francisco, or Berkeley Arinell's?

                                                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                    The two seem to me to make identical pizzas. Though to me it's second-rate junk food (just like Ray's) so I may be missing some fine points.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      Totally agree, and that's the beauty of it.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        There aren't "fine" points I think, it is more that you just have a taste for the style, which totally works for me. Some points missed at places throughout the land, but not in NYC- 1) sauce has taste but not too sweet. 2) Crust has some crisp and some chew, and also is not tasteless 3) Cheese gets browned and isn't super gooey and there isn't too much (reheating tends to ensure this) 4) toppings can be as meh as anytwhere else, but usually sausage is pretty good.

                                                        Also "Ray's" isn't a chain, that's part of my joke above- it has turned into kind of a "brand" where lots of places use some variation of "Famous" "Original" and "Ray's"

                                                        1. re: P. Punko

                                                          Please don't confuse Ray's for New York style...

                                        2. Why was Ray's even made famous to start? I had it from the original and it was just gloppy.
                                          But the best NY style in Oakland area is Gioia, and in SF, Pizza Orgasmica makes a killer cornmeal crust pizza with ulta super thin crust.

                                          1. I've been eating a lot of Lanesplitter lately. The three locations are not equal.
                                            The pizza is best at the Temescal restaurant. Which is also the most like an
                                            actual restaurant. Greasy and crispy. If they're playing, as they often are, that
                                            Greatest Hits album from AC/DC, it's possible that asking the waitperson to
                                            change it to something more pleasant will work. I've had varying success with

                                            The San Pablo x University branch is mostly a bar with some tables thrown in.
                                            The three big tables are disturbingly close to the bathroom. Personally, I like this
                                            location better but "bar with some tables thrown in" isn't everyone's idea of a good
                                            time. The pizza is never quite as good here. Cooler oven? Less-patient chef?
                                            But the beer selection is better: normally they've got the entire Moonlight Brewing
                                            catalog on tap. Last week their cask ale was Moonlight's Bombay by Boat IPA. Mmmm!
                                            If it's beer AND pizza you're looking for together, this is the place.

                                            The San Pablo x Marin location is take out / delivery only and the pizza is almost always
                                            undercooked. That's fine if you're eating it at home and can crisp it up a bit, not so
                                            good when we take it back to the office for lunch. But if you pick it up from this
                                            location, the giant-sized plain is only $10.

                                            1. Escape From New York

                                              There is one on Haight (in the Haight) and one on Polk (in Russian Hill)

                                              People who are actually from New York understand that New York pizza is not about gourmet anything -- it is the fast food, artery-clogging, thin crust goodness that seems nearly impossible to find outside the city, itself, let alone outside the tristate area. Escape From New York comes very close to what you can expect to find as you walk out of the subway in the Village, see two or three pizzarias, put your nose in each of them and chose where you're going to have lunch based upon which of those three smells the best.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: whiner

                                                Sorry Whiner..I have to disagree...the only thing "New York" about their pizza is the name!

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  The never-ending thread. Just had 2 slices at Victor's on Polk Street today for lunch, and this place is another good one very close to the real thing. Good to know these places are out there. I think Arinell's was a bit more authentic.

                                                  1. re: NoeMan

                                                    Not quite NY, but quite close, all the same. We love the plain cheese pizza at Victor's.

                                                    1. re: osho

                                                      agreed, highly underrated spot that produces one of the closest ny-style slices i've had.

                                                      and event hough it's a chain, i have never had a bad experience with amici's

                                                2. I like 'Za. Hyde Street, Russian Hill. Thin crust that is flexible enough for a fold but with the proper crunch on the bottom and no big pillowy edge. Good toppings, too. Sometimes there's a bit too much sauce. Maybe more Boston/Providence than New York, but it's the real deal, East-Side pizza-wise.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Sallie

                                                    No mention of Amici's? Pickings on the Peninsula are slim so if anyone has recommendations for NY style I would love to hear them. TIA!

                                                    1. re: dhoffman1421

                                                      DH decided to boycott Amici's when they put cheddar in the cheese mix on his pizza. The New York boy doesn't tolerate funny cheeses on his pie
                                                      Amici's bills itself as "Boston-style," if that makes any difference.

                                                      1. re: foodiegrl

                                                        I hope that was an aberration!!! I have NEVER had cheddar on any pizza I have had there... (but I usually order the "New York"...I'm from Brooklyn originally)
                                                        In S.F. so far,... this is the closest to a NY pizza that I have found...but always looking) in fact I just returned from a visit to Brooklyn today..and still remember my Grimaldi's pizza fondly...sadly couldn't make it to DiFaras or Totonnos, this trip...

                                                  2. Interesting thread (started in March, 2007).

                                                    Since the original post, I firmly believe that San Francisco has bowed to Naples and its tradition of wood-fired ovens and simple, yet high quality, ingredients. I like that.

                                                    Replicating a New York-style pizza in San Francisco doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Still, Tony Gemignani at Tony's Pizza Napoletana claims to have a New York-style pizza. Tony also bought out the shop next to his North Beach place. The new shop has a coal-fired oven just like Lombardi's and other NYC places. I'm a fan of what Tony has accomplished. I haven't tried the annex yet. I'll get around to it sometime down the road. New York-style pies are just not that high on my pizza radar.

                                                    Tony's Pizza Napoletana
                                                    1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                      I tried the New York-style pizza at Tony's, it's a take on Ray's-style pies. Have not had the coal-oven one yet.


                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        Keep me posted. Deb and I won't have enough time mid-October to check things out in North Beach.