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Oct 31, 2008 11:56 AM

Pizza Margherita/Pizzaiolo--where else?

We had the pizza Margherita at Pizzaiolo last night and have decided it is the best pizza I've ever had. We also shared a Blue Heron Little Gem Caesar and a side of cranberry beans, all incredibly tasty.

We sat at the bar and had excellent service, wonderful bartender. I had heard about their home-made tonic so had 2 gin and tonics, again, wonderful. Amazing depth of flavor. I asked how they made it and she said they use powdered quinine (it's a bark), sweet lemon verbena, clove, cardomon, and a couple of other things I can't remember. Incredible.

The pizza itself had that beautiful blistery crust and had a really good taste. I think there were crushed tomatoes which had a hint of sweetness.

Coincidentally, I had a nettle pizza last week at the Cafe at Chez Panisse (my first time upstairs) which also had a nice crust but it was kind of bland, the nettles were a little dry, but a good taste. Still, Pizzaiolo was head and shoulders above.

I've been living in Napa for 6 years after spending most of my life in the Bay Area (SF, Oak, Berk). My favorite food is pizza and my favorite pizza is the Margherita, when done correctly (no tomato sauce!! fresh basil!). Because it's such a simple pizza, the crust has be to really well done. Around here, Azzuro Pizzeria used to be my favorite, although I don't like their Margherita. I've had one pizza with purple potatoes and another with corn, smoked mozzarella and carmelized red onion. I also used to like Bistro Don Giovanni's version. I'm in love with the Caesar Piadine at Tra Vigne Pizzeria, but that's it.

So I'm now sold on the idea of only having wood fired oven pizzas. I liked Pizzeria Picco and have tried Pizza Antica. I'm going to be leaving the area in January, possibly for good, so what three places should I have Pizza Margherita? A16? Pizzetta 211? Delfina?

Or should I just go back to Pizzaiolo three more times??? Hop a plane to Pizzeria Blanco?

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    1. OK now I really have to check out Pizzaiolo.

      If you're in Mill Valley check out Small Shed which is pizza like flat breads. Just went there the other day and really enjoyed it.

      I'm still beholden to the Cheese Board though.

      1. I agree that I have never had a better Margherita than Pizzaiolo's. Pizzeria Delfina is equally good imho. Never been to A16. The tomatos are so good right now, the last hurrah before the winter...

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I'm a big fan of Delfina but their Margherita isn't all that, pretty much flavorless and bland...I would recommend their Panna with sausage if you do try it out.

            A16's is also okay...I think their oven cook time is around 3 minutes per pie, the same as Delfina

            If you're ever in NY check out Luzzos and Lucali

            3 Replies
            1. re: EnderWiggin

              IMHO Gialina in San Francisco has pretty good Margherita . Better than Delfina, A16..

              1. re:

                I've been meaning to try Gialina. It is neopolitan correct? do you know their bake times and their ingredients in the Marg? Type of mozz and do they use san marzanos for their sauce? thanks

                1. re: EnderWiggin

                  I had a margherita at Gialina about 2 weeks ago. It was not correct in that the mozzarella cheese was diced into 3/4" cubes and placed on the pizza after it came out of the oven. The cheese was cold, so it didn't melt. There was a recent thread about Gialina, where some folks love it and others not so much. I find it inconsistent. If you like neapolitan style, A16 has authentic (from Naples) neapolitan style pizza, cooked quickly in a very hot wood burning oven. Their margherita is fantastic.