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Aug 11, 2008 12:51 PM

Pizza recs?

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?

                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:


                        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.