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NY Style Pizza in San Diego??

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Hi everyone
Im a recent transplant to SD from NYC (Brooklyn actually,)...and have been craving a good thin-crust pizza. All the places I've tried so far have been dissapointing (Leucadia Pizza, Pizza Nova). the closest I've come has been the pizza in Whole Foods Market.
Any suggestions as to where a good pie might be found?
I would also love to know if there's any other 'non-NYC style' pizza places that folks recommend around San diego county.

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  1. "SD Pizza SUX! The immigrant population here is not of my preferred ethnicity, and things are different than I am used to. I don't like researching or trying things that I'm not used to and it makes me unhappy! :-( " Just kidding! I thought I'd get that out of the way so that everyone could try to offer some helpful suggestions other than chains...please proceed.

    1. Bronx.

      1. Lefty's in North Park is very good. Get there early, because seating fills up quick. Or avoid it entirely and order a pie to-go.

        There has been some good feedback about Sicilian Thing on 30th.


        6 Replies
        1. re: geekyfoodie

          I looked on the webpage from Sicilian Thing but it is still not clear for me if they have Sfincione (sicilian pizza).

          1. re: honkman

            Sorry, honkman, I can't help there... maybe give them a call?

            I like pizza, but I'm not a regional aficionado (i.e. NYC, etc.). If it tastes good and is well-made, I'll eat it.

            1. re: geekyfoodie

              Lefty's is Chicago style and not NY, so probably not what what the OP is looking for. I think they do a thin crust but I've never tried it.

              1. re: DougOLis

                Sorry, Doug, I should have clarified... last line in the OP: "I would also love to know if there's any other 'non-NYC style' pizza places that folks recommend around San diego county."

                I know Lefty's is Chicago-style, but I was responding to his query for non-NYC style pizza. :)

                1. re: geekyfoodie

                  Ahh, cool, didn't see that. Sorry.

            2. Luigi's Pizza in Golden Hills, Ciro's Downtown.
              A Sicilian Thing on 30th in North park is good. I really like their Sicilian crust, but I like the sauce at Luigi's and Ciro's more.
              City Pizza is hit or miss, and I have had more hits with the square than round.
              Knockout Pizza in Carlsbad got a good write up in one of the local papers (but I have not tried it)
              If you go to Pizza Port, get the beer.
              One thing I have not found is good garlic knots. (My favorite were at My Little Pizzaria on Court Street)

              1. I forgot to add the links...

                Pizzeria Luigi
                1137 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102

                Ciros Pizzaria
                536 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101

                City Pizzeria
                1125 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                2 Replies
                1. re: JRSD

                  Huge second to Pizzeria Luigi. I think it's a lot better than Bronx. I know some disagree, but for me the crust is the most important thing, and that's where Luigi wins.

                  Lefty's also makes a great deep dish pie.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Ditto here on Luigi's. No contest versus Bronx IMO.

                    Also like Sicilian Thing. They 2 types, Sicilian (thicker crust but surprisingly light and airy) and a thin NY-style crust, but also done in a big rectangle so you can't fold it in half like a slice from Bronx or Luigi's - and for me, that's part of the NY-style pizza experience.

                2. Bronx Pizza, or Fillppi on India St. (only that location), probably as close as your going to get but, don't get your expectations too high, it's nowhere near NYC.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: cstr

                    I can see Bronx, but not sure how Filippi's reminds you of NYC. Crust is way too thick and doughy.

                    1. re: Josh

                      It's just a basic, not fancy tomato pie, that I can order well done and I ask them to get it as thin as possible, fold over and eat. Like I said to 'ipsit' don't get your expectations too high, it's nowhere near and nothing in SD will ever be a Grimaldi's or Tontono's in NYC.

                      1. re: cstr

                        With all due respect, Cstr, San Diego isn't New York and it's unfair to expect that everything that's served here to be truly authentic. I think when you're looking for a regional specialty outside of the region, it's realistic to expect that it's not going to be exactly like home.

                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                          I totally agree, I'm just reading the original post from a person who is from NYC, the best of the best for pizza in the US, and other than Naples Italy. IMO, that's impossible to match but, I think a few places try to do their best here in SD. I do eat pizza in SD, I even make my own on occasion, I guess I am trying to post to another CH'er that we're not NYC but, that's OK, try what SD has to offer, it's not poison!

                    2. re: cstr

                      Fillipis pizza is a waste of calories

                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        KR, see my post above, I'd cut them a little slack, they do try. What are your favs for basic 'attempted' NY style, sans Silcian which is a whole different pie.

                    3. What's the story on the guy that was going to start making Neapolitan style pies with his wood fired oven up in North County? I remember reading something about it on this board.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Captain Jack

                        Were you thinking Caffe Calabria? Not North County, but it's the only place I remember hearing about Neapolitan style pizzas and a wood-fired oven. I heard they were having permit issues...

                        1. re: Captain Jack

                          I think you're thinking North Park, not North County. :-) I wonder what their issues are?

                          1. re: Alice Q

                            Hi Alice... this thread might be of help in answering that question:


                            1. re: geekyfoodie

                              That seems so strange considering how many wood burning ovens are in restaurants in the Bay Area and LA. The only place around here I know of that runs one is Napa Valley Grille at the top of Horton Plaza (which is pretty good, believe it or not) - maybe now we know why they're so rare around here! I always wondered but it never occurred to me that it could be a zoning issue.

                              1. re: Alice Q

                                I believe a number of Vigilucci’s restaurants have wood burning. Also isn't Sammy's Wood Burning Pizza, a woodburned pizza?. Also FWIW we had Knockout the other night. Godawful. One had slices of sausage that were thinner than shavings of truffles. The crust was horrendous.

                                1. re: The Old Man

                                  Sammy's is a chain (and part of a larger corporation that also owns Roppongi in La Jolla) and is usually situated in a strip mall. Pretty easy to get around the zoning rec's when the whole mall's about the same height.

                                  Come out to North Park! If you're out here, you'll see that Calabria's about 2 stories and they recently built a 6-7 story condo monstrosity next to it. Calabria has good coffee, Ritual Tavern and Hamilton's (South Park, but close) has great beer, Urban Solace and The Linkery have great food.

                        2. Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest is the closest thing San Diego has to New York Pizza (at least that I've found in 3 years of living here). Cash only with New York attitude besides, but Lombardi's rep remains safe.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: viadqua

                            yeah Bronx on Washington is the closest and its good. But BJ's makes a good deep dish if you want to venture to the other side of the zah.

                            1. re: viadqua

                              You need to eat at Pizzeria Luigi. It's closer than Bronx, IMO, because the crust isn't merely thin, but also chewy. Bronx's crust tends to be brittle and cracker-like.

                              1. re: Josh

                                Maybe I hit Luigi's on a bad night, but I thought their dough was too yeasty to match up to any pizza I've had from NYC (at least Manhatten), it was much stiffer and fluffier than any slice I've ever had in NYC (and certainly less authentic than Bronx based on that experience). Plus, every slice we ordered was burned to very burned. It's not someplace I'm going to make a point of going back to.

                                The place I've been going to most often lately is Bongiorno's on Mira Mesa.

                                1. re: mikec

                                  That definitely sounds like a bad night. I've never had fluffy or burned slices there. We're talking about the place in Golden Hill, right? I know there's a Luigi's in Mission Beach, but it's completely different.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    The one across from the Turf Club.

                            2. Bronx Pizza and Pizzeria Luigi are the two biggies in San Diego for NY style pizza. I prefer Bronx but I'd be interested in hearing what a recent transplant like you prefers. Quite a few people like Hoboken in PB as well; I've only had it once and it was a bad experience, but that was more on my friends who bought the pizza. They bought a bbq chicken type pizza which I absolutely detest, and it kind of turned me off Hoboken; but they might actually be good.

                              Knockout Pizza is a takeoff from Bronx located in Carlsbad and Mira Mesa. It's pretty good but I prefer Bronx.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: DougOLis

                                Bronx and Hoboken are both pretty good. I usually order the basic cheese pie. They are, in my opinion, on par with your average neighborhood NYC pizza place. They are not the calibre of heavy hitters like Grimaldi's, DiFara, or John's of Bleeker, all of which I love.

                              2. I've tried Bronx Pizza and thought they were pretty good. I've never actually had a NY pizza other than Bronx so I couldn't tell you if it's a good comparison. Let me know if it's the real thing if you ever eat there.

                                1. I am curious what you all think of Manhattan Giant in Encinitas on D Street. I like it, but I do not know if it is authentic New York style pizza or not.

                                  Also, I am starting to feel afraid to post that I like something someone else has not yet mentioned with this crazy new moon energy and all the yelling going on.

                                  1. For the best non-NY style pizza in San Diego, I would try Carino's (not to be confused with the Carino's Italian Grill chain) located on La Jolla Bld in downtown La Jolla. They have been around for at least 25 years. They make a special crust that is hard to explain, but is supremely delicious. The slices are small, very cheesy, and they may not use any mozzarella, but the taste is fantastic.

                                    As a bonus, any leftover slices put in the freezer reheat really well and are about 95% as good as when you originally purchase the pizza.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Encinitan

                                      Carino's has been around since the 60's...at the time the owner was the youngest restaurant owner in SD and a bit of a character. The pizza has always been a local's favorite in LJ. Why? I'm not sure...they use cheddar in the cheese mix and the quality has always been hit and miss but there's certain unctuouness to the pizza that appeals.

                                      However, I love the place and am irked that that stupid chain has rolled into town using the coopted name.

                                      It's a good, solid San Diego style pizza and, I'm sure, sneered at by our many NY and Chicago pizza snobs.

                                      1. re: deckape

                                        As an avowed NY pizza snob, I have to tell you I've never eaten at Carino's, so have no way to judge it. While I love NY style pizza, I also like many other kinds of pizza.

                                        However, the topic of this thread is "NY Style Pizza in San Diego". If Carino's isn't serving that style, why bring it up?

                                        1. re: Josh

                                          I was simply posting to Encinitan who brought up Carino's and thought I'd elaborate a little. If there ever was a pizza that lacked the tributes of a NY pizza, Carino's is it.

                                          The pizza snobbery comment was a lighthearted jab at the many transplants here...no malice intended.

                                          1. re: Josh

                                            josh, read the the op comments. ipsit was looking for a NY style pizza but other pies as well.

                                      2. I truly enjoy A Brookyln Pizzeria on Mission Gorge Road. It's the best NY-style in town IMHO. There's a really unique smokiness to the cheese they use and the crust is very nice, too.

                                        Lefty's has great deep dish Chicago, as noted, and the thin crust is also good. It's square and comes in about 12 slices.

                                        Luigi's is my neighborhood joint. I like it a lot, except that with toppings, the center of the pie gets soggy. I simply order a plain pie to avoid that.

                                        Finally, DiMille's in Normal Heights deserves some love. Both myself and my friends from Chicago rave about the deep dish. It's really a HEAVY, old-school, decadent pie. Like Lefty's, it'll stuff you for days.

                                        A Brooklyn Pizzeria
                                        6171 Mission Gorge Rd, San Diego, CA 92120

                                        Dimille's Italian Restaurant
                                        3492 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

                                        1. If you're ever in North County, East Coast Pizza in Cardiff is good. It reminds me of Bronx Pizza, actually, and they do accept credit and debit cards.

                                          There is also a new place in a little shopping center on El Camino Real in Encinitas. It's called Flippin' Pizza and isn't bad. I don't like it as much as East Coast Pizza and there aren't as many topping choices, but it does have the thin crust.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mercyteapot

                                            Flippin Pizza is an offshoot of Knockout pizza in Carlsbad. I am not sure if they are trying to franchise it or they maybe under the same ownership. I like knockout better, but flippin is so darn close to me I go there and I think once they settle in a bit more, the pies will be more consistent.

                                          2. Sicilian Thing

                                            The owners used to work at Bronx pizza and they're very nice and the pizza is pretty good (they also do the thin crust pies like Bronx).

                                            1. Wondering if anyone has tried the pizza in that new restaurant (sorry I don't know the name...they didn't even have a sign yet) that opened near MacGregor's (on San Diego Mission Road). They were brand new a few months back when I stopped in to look at the menu. They had a bunch of pizzas in their case to be reheated (a la Bronx Pizza style) that looked pretty tasty. I'm just never usually in that neck of the woods, so I haven't been back to try them out.

                                              Any CH's been there yet?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LisaSD

                                                I've had a couple of slices of a meatball pie from there. It was at a friend's place while watching a football game, so it was a little cold and it wasn't really getting my full attention. I'd have to try it again fresh to make any real comments about it. I'd say it's pretty decent and standard for what you can get around here. There were a couple of NY transplants and they thought it was ok.

                                                And just to add another option for those in the northern parts of SD, there's Bongiorno's (like Luigi's, started by an ex-Bronx Pizza employee), with 3 locations: Solana Beach, Miramar, and Poway.

                                                Are there any places here that use fresh mozzarella? I know Basic does, and I ordered it once, but I guess the server didn't catch it or someone in the kitchen messed up because we got regular mozzarella.

                                              2. At last, a topic where I have some expertise. My parents are from back East (New Jersey), and have been looking for pizza since I was two (when we moved out here).

                                                For NYC style pizza - thin, foldable crust - Bronx Pizza, Luigi's, Sicilian Thing and City Pizzeria tend to be the best. There was a place out in Poway that was really good (the owner was from Brooklyn, and they even served up garlic knots), but it has since closed.

                                                For Chicago style - I hear good things about Lefty's in North Park. Haven't tried it yet.

                                                For Detroit style (square, with sauce on top) - Solunto's in Little Italy serves a pretty good pie. Plus, the cookies and bread are great.

                                                For Trenton style (round, with sauce on top) - Sorry, the only place that serves this kind of pizza is my Mom's house.

                                                1. We like both Bronx Pizza on Washington and Brooklyn Pizza on Mission Gorge.

                                                  1. Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I tried Bronx pizza last night. Having tempered my expectations based on everyone's feedback, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not Grimaldi's or DiFara's but the sauce was good, the cheese was the right amount, and the crust was good too. I don't believe they use coal-fired ovens (the secret behind NY's best places I think), though I might be wrong .It definitely satisfied the NY-style pizza craving. Im looking forward to trying the other places recommended here.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: ipsit

                                                      I'm pretty sure coal-fired ovens are not allowed in California, due to air-quality concerns. Wood-fired is pretty common here, though.

                                                      1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                        DiFara's, while fantastic IMO, uses a conventional pizza oven. It proves it can be done.

                                                          1. re: Captain Jack

                                                            No, it's "San Diego" style: thick doughy crust, heavy on toppings. It used to be my go-to local pizzeria for delivery.