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Pizza, not the precious Californian kind

The planning continues for my family's mass descent upon SF.

My husband and I are planning to introduce our suburban and foreign visitors to a lot of the more interesting cuisines SF has to offer, but we've decided they'll need at least one night's respite.

We'll be winding down one day in the North Beach area, so I wondered where we should go for pizza? We'll be a large group (10) so waiting at Tomasso's doesn't sound particularly appealing. The criteria of this particular meal are really just for it to be a family place with big tables and good cheap pizza that tastes better than takeout while not being a challenge for anyone's palates. Should I just be heading to North Beach Pizza?

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  1. Maybe Gaspare's in the Richmond on Geary?

    1. God ... no ... NOT North Beach Pizza ... unless you hate these people.

      What about the new Tony's Pizza

      Note I haven't been there yet but I'm reading a lot of positives about it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        Thanks for the rec. And the first sentence; it totally made me snort my water.

      2. I wouldn't write off Tomasso's. If you're winding down the day in North Beach you could show up right when they open at 5PM (4 on Sundays, closed Mondays) or soon thereafter. No wait, and they have a long table that runs down the middle of the room that's great for a large group. Fun place to end of a day in NB.

        But I have not tried Tony's Pizza yet...looking forward to it.

        1. Personally, I really like North Beach Pizza, for what it is, which is basic, good pizza. It's not, as you so aptly put it, the precious California kind, but it's tasty.

          That said, the new location is much less dive-y than the previous one, but the pizza isn't quite as good. (Personally, I think the old one had yeast in the air from decades of pizza, and the new location just hasn't built up the same stuff.) But it's more comfortable, and if you're really just looking for a relaxing, chill evening, it's not a bad choice.

          1. If you lucked out and didn't have to wait, Tommaso's would be ideal.

            If it's a Monday, Joey & Eddie's would be an option:


            1. Pulcinella will be opening Saturday
              Tony's sounds really promising, but there's likely to be a line there as well.

              1. I would consider Amici's in Cow Hollow. It's a chain, but surprisingly decent. It's also not far from the North Beach with plenty of seating for large groups.

                3 Replies
                1. re: a_and_w

                  I would definitely endorse Tony's Pizza Napoletana at stockton/union. was there last week at 2:30pm. i sat at the bar but there was only a minimal wait for a table. The margherita was as good as any pie i've had..I no longer do rankings but would put this pie up there at the top..there are many options so i wont comment on any other pies..but ya cant go wrong with this award-winner.

                  1. re: lapizzamaven

                    Are there tables that would seat a group of 10?

                    1. re: rworange

                      Doesn't look like it. And they don't take reservations. They have two rooms, one long and narrow front room with a bar. The back room has more space with bench/chair tables along the wall and a few floating tables, they might be able to slide some together back there. However, it would be difficult to all sit together especially given how busy this place is getting.

                2. What about Tony's Pizza Napoletana? I have not been there yet, but it is in N.B., it serves many styles of pizza, not sure about the dining room size, but yelp says they're good for groups....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BernalKC

                    Busy place, no reservations. Might be hard to get 10 sitting together but worth a try between the lunch and dinner rush because the pizza is so good.

                  2. Pazzia
                    Pizzeria Delfina
                    ...would all be better choices.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: spinn1

                      Maybe, if they were in North Beach.

                      Pazzia's pretty Italian with smallish pizzas. In North Beach, for that style, you could go to Ideale (the chef opened Pazzia and sold it). But the bill would be high compared with Italian-American places where you can order a few big pies.

                      Pizzeria Delfina would probably be a long wait for a party of 10, if they could handle that many at all.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Not that it's going to solve the OP's request, but I wonder if the Delfina off Fillmore is better for groups? I couldn't tell from the layout but it looked much calmer.

                      2. re: spinn1

                        Not for 10 people coming from North Beach. I doubt Pizzeria Delfina can even seat 10 people together.

                        PS: Just realized I duplicated Robert's reply -- sorry for the echo LOL!

                      3. What about Pauline's they can accommodate a large party and very good pizza. Not in North Beach though.

                        Pauline's Pizza
                        260 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Lori SF

                          And, as much as I love Paulines, I think both Pauline's and Delfina fall into the "precious Californian kind" -- not what the OP is after.

                          1. re: BernalKC

                            Pauline's has the same offerings as Tommaso's- garlic, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, Anchovies, etc. They have similar style pizza on the menu or you can build your own. I would not consider Delfina to be "precious Californian kind" but more Italian if anything.

                            1. re: BernalKC

                              You might have an argument with Pauline's depending on how you order, but Delfina is attempting to be as Italian as they possibly can. No strange ingredients or salads on top. Their product is much different than their reputation, decor, image, etc.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                Leaving aside the question of whether they can seat a party of ten at the California St. location, Delfina's pizzas are only big enough for one or two people, so the bill would be high compared with Italian-American places where you can order a few big pies.

                          2. Has anyone eaten Pizza in Glen Park, Noe Valley (Haystack) or in the outer Mission (Zante, Little Joe's)??? I'd like to know what you think of the places in these neighborhoods.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: KeepinItReal

                              Glen Park has Gialina now which is rated as one of the best in the city, and usually has long lines. They're known for inventive California style toppings.

                              Haystack has been around forever, and they turn out perfectly fine neighborhood pizza. It can be greasy, but it's the kind of place where once you find a combo you like, it's sort of reliable for what it is. Once upon a time there were lines here but I think the die hards moved away from the area. The quality has decline a bit too. It's not the kind of thing I would go out of my way to eat.

                              Zante is Indian pizza. The place isn't the cleanest, but it's tasty as a novelty experience that you'll either get hooked on or be freaked out by. The indian pizza itself can feel like you're eating leftovers spread across a pizza. It's a little unsettling but works in a strange way. I don't know what their regular pizzas are like, but I would suspect it's going to be a little greasy, and nothing particularly standout.

                              Little Joe's - I haven't been recently, so I'd be curious. It used to be an old style cheapie pizza, only it's not cheap. I would expect something close to Villa Romano, if that reference means anything.

                              Reviews of pizza are hard to trust since it's such a personalized taste. I think you can get a lot from a picture though...so my suggestion is to check out their websites, and yelp and decide if it fits your idea of what a good pizza looks like.

                              1. re: sugartoof


                                2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                Zante Pizza
                                3489 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                Haystack Pizza
                                3881 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                Little Joe's Pizzeria
                                5006 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112