Best Pizza Place for Birthday
- anneliesz Jun 11, 2009 11:43 AM
In planning a 30th birthday dinner, I'm trying to find the perfect pizza joint in San Francisco. The criteria are as follows: group of 8, not over the top expensive, thin crust / wood-fired / cracker crust, good wine / beer list. Reservations are a plus and your help is deeply appreciated!
Pizzialo in Oakland is what you are looking for. If it is a nice evening ask for seating on the back patio.
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
I can't think of anyplace with that combination.
Amici's has wood ovens and the right crust but the atmosphere is sort of generic chain and I don't remember the beer or wine selections being very good.
Tommaso's has a wood oven and good wine (not sure about beer) but the crust isn't thin.
Pauline's is great for parties but no wood oven and the crust isn't thin.
re: Robert Lauriston
I'm going to dissent against Tommaso's. My memory of them from years-ago was quite good, but we re-visited it about a month ago and it was embarrassingly mediocre.
Tasteless, gummy cheese, sauce that tasted fresh from the jar, and too much garlic (and that's tough to make something too garlicky for me!)
A16, if you could get in?
I recently had quite good thin crust pizza at Pazzia on Third St. Although the crust was significantly better reheated.
Does it have to be in the city? You could sit outside at Pizzeria Picco and enjoy a warm summer night in Larkspur.
I like Pauline's much more than Tommasso, both in terms of food and atmosphere. Service at Pauline's can be a crapshoot though. And as noted, depends on how much of a purist you are for style.
I don't think the combination of in SF + wood oven + thin, cracker crust + good wine and beer list exists. Even three out of four is tough. That thin, cracker crust a la Rome or New York coal ovens isn't so much in fashion in SF, most places are going for more of a Neapolitan style.
Thanks everyone. I talked through the recs. with the birthday guy's mom who was wanting to host the dinner. She ended up getting us reservations at A16, but given that Msr. Birthday and I are on a mission to find the "best pizza" according to the criteria stipulated in the original post, we will definitely check out Tommasso, Flour + Water (which I've heard good things about from other foodie friends) and Pizzaiolo.
My friend Daveena had her birthday dinner at Pizzaiolo and swore she'd do it there every year from now on. Apparently the food for the group dinner was better than she's had at smaller-scale dinners. I wouldn't describe the pizza crust as cracker thin, but the pizzas were quite good, especially the Monterey squid with aioli. They had a set group menu and there was plenty of food. Not a private room, but a semi-private long table in a small back room.
Yeah, that dinner was off the charts good. I never got around to writing it up, but printed out the menu when I got home aftererwards.
I think there were 15 people in our party? We had no choice in the menu - they decided what to send out, after checking to make sure there were no vegetarians. Luckily, they sent out pretty much everything I would have ordered anyway.
Punterelle, sunchoke, treviso salad with anchovy, lemon and grana
Winter citrus salad with red onion, black olives and parsley
Umbrian lentils with lacinato kale, beets, prosciutto, and fresh ricotta
Crostini with chicken livers
Spaghetti with manila clams, green garlic, and housemade sausage
Pappardalle with black trumpet mushrooms
Broccoli rabe and sausage pizza
Wild nettle and pecorino pizza
Squid and aioli pizza
Black trumpet mushroom, leek and gremolata pizza
New potato, guanciale, rosemary and fontina pizza
Speck, arugula and prosciutto pizza
It was a *lot* of food, all beautifully done. I don't think the per person cost was that high either... at least, not before drinks and dessert. Maybe $35/pp? The only catch was that to score a weekend evening 8 pm table, I had to call exactly 1 month in advance, to the hour.