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Pizza recs?

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Just returned from your lovely city where we had some great meals (I think Mayflower was my favorite). We got some great tips from you all for that trip. I'll be returning this weekend and am hoping for some great pizza pointers. Daughter is a new student at USF, so maybe something close by, but I will have a car and am willing to drive. Please no Tommaso's -- we made an attempt last time but the environs gave us the willies (San Diego suburbanites that we are). Thanks all! P.S. Anyone know anything about Bella's (restaurant, not pizzeria) on Geary west of USF? The storefront looks very inviting. Thanks again!

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  1. There really isn't too much in the way of good pizza immediately around USF, but if you take a 10-15 minute stroll to the Haight, you can get good, NY-style fast-food Pizza at Escape From New York on Haith, I think near Stanyan.

    I'm not familiar with Bella's, but if you want great, moderately priced food, just off Geary about 18 blocks west of USF, try Troya. Turkish and not very expensive. Farther down Geary there is Aziza, which has great Moroccan food, and Ton Kiang which has great dim sum. One block north there is Chapeau! and Clementine, but I've not been to either since the owner of Chapeau! bought Clementine.

    My favorite pizza in the city is at L'Osteria del Forno in North Beach.

    13 Replies
    1. re: whiner

      If the area around Tomasso's trips them out, won't the Haight be worse?

      1. re: Husky

        Whiner, thanks for all those good suggestions. We went to North Beach last week and saw that L'Osteria was closed. I was sad because it was on my list. Is it just temporary? I'd really like to try it. Husky, I actually expected your question (I asked myself the same thing). We walked the Haight with our kids before dropping the older one at USF and we thought it was cool -- a real piece of living history. Maybe that's the difference, I don't know.

        1. re: SDgirl

          Oy! I ate at L'Osteria twice last month (I live 7 blocks away). I'll walk by today to see what the story is, but hopefully it isn't closed. It may be my favorite reasonably priced restaurant in the city! (I just don't usually eat there too much on account of the calories.)

          As for the Haight versus the strip clubs... I feel fine in both locations, to be honest; but while USF students don't necessarily hang out on Broadway, they hang out in the Haight ALL THE TIME... at least if the undergrads are aything like the law students. So there is the added incentive of your daughter familiarizing herself with the area.

          1. re: whiner

            L'Osteria del Forno is DEFFINITELY open for business!

            1. re: whiner

              Good news! Just spoke with the daughter who is wanting Italian this weekend, so maybe we'll pay L'Osteria a visit. She and some of her new friends have already discovered the shopping in the Haight (took less than a week), so some good places to eat will come in handy. Thanks!

      2. re: whiner

        Two old-time SF favorites near USF are Gaspare's and Giorgio's, more info in the Places links.

        -----
        Giorgio's Pizzeria
        151 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

        Gaspare Pizza House
        5546 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks, Melanie. I greatly enjoy reading your posts and have learned a lot about SF's Asian food scene from them. Cheers!

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Gaspare's is very East Coast old-school in style, surprisingly so given that it dates back only to 1985 and chef-owner Gaspare Indelicato is from Sicily.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I have been to Giorgio's many times over the past 30 years. Unfortunately, the last two times I have been there within the past year or so, I found the pizza to be rather flavorless.

              I had a similar impression of the pizza at Gaspare's about 6 months ago.

              Maybe I am just getting old and my taste buds are failing!

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Do you remember if anyone has tried Giorgio's Ischian-style pizzas?
                http://www.giorgiospizza.com/Ischian-...

                Reading the website it seems the crust is thinner than the regular pizza with the toppings lighter. The original Giorgio was from Istria, an Island off Naples.

                Love the name of one of their regular pizzas ... the carnalicious ... meatballs, ham, sausage, red onion and fresh garlic.

                The Pico de Hawaii actually makes me want to try it though I despise Hawaiin pizzas. Adding jalepeno just seems right ... like it would balance the flavors more and cut that jarring-to-me pineapple flavor. The Ischian version of this is called the Yucateco.

                1. re: rworange

                  Can't say, but I don't remember Ischian-pizza on the website when I was still hanging out in the neighborhood a couple years ago.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Back a short while after they opened and Giorgio was actually making pizza, I believe that that is what he made for my father who had a long discussion with him about what he hated about pizza. It was much thinner than the neighborhood standard and somewhat crisper. Father was pleased and they gave him the coffee with milk he wanted. All was well.

                  2. re: rworange

                    The Ischian-style pizzas are very good. We go to Giorgio's quite a bit and that is our go to - specifically the Corsican (feta, red bell peppers, sausage, garlic, basil). They started offering this menu about 6 months ago. The crust is thinner than their normal pizza, but not too thin as to be cracker like. There is still some chew left, which I like. The sauce and the mozzarella are used somewhat sparingly. My husband and I split a small salad and a small Ischian and leave satisfied. Definitely recommend.

              2. a16 in the marina is very good. the place is always busy so a reservation is a good idea.

                2 Replies
                1. re: steve h.

                  I love the pizzas at A16 as well and should have mentioned it in the post above. The one caveat to A16 pizzas is that I think of them as their own entity... the dough is a little different than what a 'traditional' pizza might be like. As are the ingredients. But absolutely love them. Also, your daughter would like A16 as it is a very 'young' restaurant.

                  1. re: whiner

                    reminds me of the pizza i get in rome. still, another 30 seconds or so in the wood-fired oven wouldn't hurt.
                    i'm with you, whiner. a16 is a keeper.

                2. As for pizza places near USF (yes, there may be better pizza options around the city, but if you want something within walking distance, here are some options) - there's Village Pizzeria that's filled with college kids since they have beer specials. It's on Arguello and Clement. There's another pizza place - Giorgio's on Clement and 2nd or 3rd. I like Giorgio's a lot more than Village, but then again it's been years since I was at USF and went to either. Perhaps other hounds could comment on the two. There's also North Beach Pizzeria on Haight - I liked their thick crust and their sausage. All three of these options are within walking distance of USF.

                  1. Bella's is quite charming. The owners are very friendly, food is tasty and it's a nice place to go for a family dinner. My parents really like it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lanersg

                      Thank you, thank you everyone! I'm really looking forward to returning this weekend and adding to my small but expanding storehouse of SF food knowledge.

                    2. Anyone have feedback on Villa Romana, on Irving around 6th Avenue? It is an old-school Ital-American pizzeria that has been in business for decades.

                      Park Chow (on 6th Avenue between Lincoln & Irving) is a good all-purpose dining option. They make a decent pizza there as well.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: DavidT

                        Recent SF Chronicle article reviewing 6 Bay Area pizzerias:

                        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                        1. re: DavidT

                          Thanks for the article, David. It's true what it says about "real" pizza being that which we grew up with. We went to Rome a couple of years ago and absolutely loved the Roman version of the pie. The kids, however, wouldn't eat it, insisting that it wasn't "real" pizza. Imagine, Italians not knowing how to make real pizza! These were rectangular, very little sauce, usually little or no cheese. Clearly the emphasis was on the quality of the crust (elastic, chewy, yeasty, neither thick nor thin) and freshness of the toppings. Pizza di funghi Roman style -- heaven on earth!

                          1. re: SDgirl

                            The Italians will be the first to admit the 'real pizza' comes from Napoli...

                        2. re: DavidT

                          Never had pizza at Villa Romana, but the food is decent if you're in a mood for old-school Italian. If you're on Irving, additional places for pizza are Pasquales (on Irving and 7th?) and Milano on 9th x Irving. The latter is one of my favorites in the neighborhood.

                        3. I'd recommend Zante for the 'Only in SF' factor - Indian food and Pizza - Gotta love it..

                          1. The most recent "best pizza" topic:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/541520

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              This is great! The list is huge! For years, hubby and I have been toying with the idea of seeking out the "best" pizza in San Diego. Alas, the idea has never taken flight because there's really no such thing as "good" pizza here, much less the "best." Perhaps we will transfer our efforts to SF. Imagine the consternation it would cause if we were spotted in a local pizza place by the daughter and/or her classmates when there were no plans for us to be visiting! Just a bit of twisted parental humor :-).

                              1. re: SDgirl

                                I don't know ... maybe you should revive that 'best' pizza in San Diego idea. A few ideas in your neck of the woods.
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/508770
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/496872

                                1. re: rworange

                                  I followed those threads when they came up. Problem was/is 95% of the places mentioned are chains whose pizzas have all the personality of a wet sponge, while the 5% that might actually have a good pie are all at least 30 miles from where we live. Unlike SF, which you could crisscross several times in one day in search of great eats, San Diego is very spread out -- it's possible to drive 40 miles and still be in city limits. But that's okay, now I can crisscross your place, eating as I go --kind of like a large, chomping John Deere mower.

                            2. Last night, I didn't have Chinese food . . . surprise! After the marmalade tasting at Bi-Rite, we ended up at Pizzeria Delfina, taking the two seats at the counter all the way in the back, right in front of the ovens. Amazing that they can crank out so much delicious food in such a cramped and tiny space! This was actually my first time to have the pizza on site, not as take-out. I'd not been a fan of the red sauce here, so we picked the day's special topped with cherry tomatoes and ricotta salata to split. I loved the simplicity of the toppings on the charry crust. I liked the crust better eating-in, although the second and third slice were soggy from the tomato juices and the edges got tough when they cooled down.

                              Also had the tri-color salad and tried the cannoli. The cannolo's crust was crackly and fresh and the ricotta had a lot of character, but the whole thing didn't grab me. Don't know why, maybe not sweet enough, can't put my finger on it.

                              -----
                              Pizzeria Delfina
                              3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                I think Pizzeria Delfina's "red sauce" is just pureed San Marzano tomatoes.

                                Their cannoli are Sicilian-style, barely sweet, all about the fresh sheep's-milk ricotta. If you're expecting a very sweet New York-style cannolo, it might seem odd.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Delfina does not use imported San Marzano tomatoes and uses California canned tomatoes instead which are much sweeter.

                                  1. re: Amy G

                                    Ah. But just tomatoes, not an American-style cooked sauce, right?

                                    1. re: Amy G

                                      Yes, as RL posted here. (g)
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3894...

                                      I did a mini tasting of canned tomatoes, as shown here,
                                      http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3175/2...
                                      When I tried the 6 in 1 brand, I thought it tasted identical to P. Delfina's sauce base.

                                2. This isn't near USF but Pazzia on 3rd near Folsom is supposed to be great, pizza just like in Italy.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: walker

                                    Less so since the original Roman owner sold it. They tend to underbake. Very friendly.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Thank you everyone for such wonderful suggestions! Now, armed with a list as long as my arm and a hundred dollars worth of parking meter food, I come to your fair city to see how much eating I can do in two days. Clear the streets, I'm going in. Wish me luck. Cheers!

                                      1. re: SDgirl

                                        Careful, expired meters just went up to $50. Sometimes, it's better to park in lots. Or valet parking.