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Aug 21, 2009 04:10 PM

NY Slices @ Pizzeria Avellino in SF (Lombard Gate)

Mom and I had lunch at the new Pizzeria Avellino on Lombard @ Lyon. It opened on Tuesday. Pizzamaster Ralph said he'd spent his pizza-making career in Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side. The menu offers whole NY-style pies and slices and whole pizza napoletana. The new liquor license is still pending and the yellow building doesn't have a sign yet.

We tried the mushroom ($3.25), pepperoni ($3.25), and plain cheese ($2.75) slices. Cheese is whole milk mozzarella and applied with a judicious hand. The crust could have been a little mroe charred, but was evenly browned top and bottom with a crisp bite and nice chew. Both the sauce and crust could use more salt for my taste.

Particularly nice job with the mushroom, using sauteed, thick slices of fresh champignon. Lots of pepperoni on the slice. The cheese pizza seemed a little bland, but I was too lazy to walk inside to get the oregano and grated cheese to jazz it up.

This was a beautiful day to sit outside at a red tables. There's seating inside as well. Here are some photos.

Pizzeria Avellino
2769 Lombard St., at Lyon St. (415-776-2500)

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  1. mmm... hot and melty.

    1. I dropped in for a cheese slice today and can report that the bottom crust was well-charred.

      5 Replies
      1. re: wineguy7

        Cannot argue, pictures look like good parlor pie. Imagine it should do well with the late night bar crowd in the neighborhood.

        1. re: poulet_roti

          Here are the hours Tablehopper reported today: Mon–Thu 11:30am–10pm, Fri–Sat 11:30am–11pm, and Sun 11:30am–10pm.

          I regret not taking an "upskirt" photo to show the browning on the underside. :-)

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Yes, but I agree with you about the lack of salt.

          2. re: wineguy7

            One more confirmation that the crust was well charred. Crust was even thinner than I'm accustomed to - but this was undoubtedly the best NY-style pizza I've had in the area.

            Agree that the sauce may be a little undersalted, and while the crust might be just slightly less substantial than I would have liked, the whole package is pretty wonderful. Thought the crust itself had good depth of flavor, had an appealing crunch, and the balance of the crispness and meatiness of the outer crust reminded me of home more than any other pizza I've had here. As a caveat: I do prefer an underseasoned pizza to an overseasoned one.

            I'm one of the many who'd all but given up on finding a comforting NY-style slice, having conceded that the only time I should be eating this kind of pizza is on my annual trip back home. There are obviously great pizza offerings in SF, but none of them really satisfy the same craving; Pizza Avellino just about does it for me.

            Was informed that a Sicilian should be in the works as soon as the pans arrive - will be eager to try that as well.

          3. How much seating is there inside? My girlfriend lives about a 5 min. walk away. We might want to eat there rather than bring a pie home.

            Also, do you foresee any issue with bringing wine?

            5 Replies
            1. re: Larry Stein

              In California it's illegal for a a restaurant without a liquor license to allow you to BYOB. If they got caught, it could derail their license application.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Hi All,
                Thanks for the nice replies regarding Pizzeria Avellino. We are doing our best to bring you the best and are VERY happy with all the positive responses from our customers. We definitely do not allow BYOB. We will have beer and wine in the near future as our license is in process. In addition to our NY style pizza which we think is fantastic, we have a Rustic Napolitana style pizza that we think is equally excellent. Hope to see you at the pizzeria.

                1. re: PizzeriaAvellino

                  Thanks, PizzeriaAvellino, for your post. As I live in the neighborhood, I look forward to seeing you soon and often. By the way, do you deliver?

                  1. re: PizzeriaAvellino

                    Mrs. Wineguy and I stopped in for an early dinner last night before a show at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater. We ordered the Greco, which is one of their Napolitana pizzas. We loved the thin, crisp crust and the freshness of the spinach, tomatoes and feta. The toasted pine nuts lent a wonderful texture, flavor and counterpoint to the Kalamata olives. We found the pesto in perfect proportion. The lack of salt in the dough seemed to be consistent with my previous visit, but seemed less of a problem considering the salty ingredients on top of the pizza.

                    We had hoped that a beer and wine license would have been in place by now. I didn't ask about it.

                2. re: Larry Stein

                  It's a small storefront with a handful of tables inside. Until the liquor license is issued, dunno about byob.

                3. Hmmm... Pizza-making career in Spanish Harlem? I wonder if he trained at my favorite pizza place, Patsy's...

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: katya

                    Predictions for wait on Saturday night?

                    1. re: katya

                      I said that Patsy's was one of my faves, and he didn't bite.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            It was "New York'ish" slices NY an additional small handful of cheese is added to the precooked slice in order to revive the texture of the cheese...which takes on a mushy quality (rather than 'stretchy') when reheated. They only offered one size (Huge.pie 16") 'cause a pizza place, I believe should not be judged only on its' 'slices' ...they said they were thinking of doing a medium pie (HELLO!!!) and I would order that and take the leftovers with me....I hope they follow through...cause it would certainly help their bottom line!

                      1. re: katya

                        Judging by the pictures, his background isn't at any of those old timers like Patsy's or Lombardi's, and the only places on the Lower East Sides are just greasy slice joints. That's what these look like...a greasy NYC slice....but that's good news for people who miss that sort of thing, and frequent that slice place on Valencia at 16th. The ingredients do sound better then your typical New York slice, but I wouldn't read too much into the guys background based on the two neighborhoods he mentioned.

                          1. re: rworange

                            The slices look like they're glistening, which would normally be from grease.
                            A typical real New York slice is usually greasy to some degree.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I know. This is not a grease dripping down your sleeve type of pizza. In that sense, Parry's in American Canyon is closer to the inexpensive, oily NY slice.

                              1. re: rworange

                                The Pizza Place on Noriega , 3901 Noreiga St. also claims an East Coast style, and iooks very similar to this. I don't think it's fit the bill for many cravings, but worth mentioning.

                              2. re: sugartoof

                                NY Pizza has a sprinkling of olive oil drizzled on the pie before it goes into the leads to the lava-like cheese on man's grease is another man's olive oil!

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                  That is literally true of a hand full of the more famed pizza places that use olive oil, because the majority of New York pizza joints use a pre-shredded oil based cheese substitute/blend that accounts for one of the main sources of grease in a greasy slice.

                                  It depends how much of the ingredients are fresh, as opposed to coming from a giant white plastic bucket, or an industrial can. I talk about greasy slices the way people talk about greasy spoons, more as as style than literal grease. These look like the $1-$3.50 junk food slices you can find all over New York. Some are better than others, but it's not the same breed as an olive oil soaked slice at Patsy's, or DiFara's, or....

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    OOOw! Your cheese description turned my stomach...but then you mentioned 2 of my 3 favorite New York Pizza places (the third being Totonno's in Coney Island..the same train as DiFara's)
                                    and in Manhattan Patsy's is my go to at least the final memory was more "transcendent"!

                          2. re: katya

                            I was wondering the same thing. Then again, the value of Patsy's East Harlem is the coal oven. Absent that, it's just a solid street slice.

                            1. re: a_and_w

                              I have found that both the quality of the cheese as well as the piquant sauce were what attracted me to Patsy's...I didn't even know they had a coal oven.

                          3. My husband and I tried Pizzeria Avellino the other night. Got the NY style pizza with mushrooms and sausage. I agree with most of the comments here - definitely the closest thing to NY pizza parlor style pizza in SF. The cheese, toppings and crust texture were great - generous amount of mushrooms and very good sausage. In addition, the red pepper flakes are HOT! Very nice addition to the slice. Unfortunately I also agree with the undersalting issue. Both the sauce and crust were pretty bland due to the lack of salt. We had to salt the slices a lot just to get some flavor out of it. This will most likely prevent us from going again anytime soon.

                            As an FYI, only plastic forks and knives, which really don't work well on pizza (we wanted to indulge before it cooled!).

                            All in all, a nice addition to the neighborhood but I hope they start seasoning the crust and sauce more so I can return!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: meggie t

                              They had metal forks when we went. Sounds like some of the details are being tweaked.