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Jan 8, 2010 07:26 AM

Pizza from wood-burning ovens

So many places have opened I wonder if I've missed some. I'll post my list in a reply so the topic doesn't open with a soon-to-be-out-of-date list.

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  1. SF
    Flour + Water
    Il Fornaio
    Local Kitcnen + Wine Merchant
    Rose Pistola
    Tony's Pizza Napoletana
    Zuni Cafe (lunch only)

    East Bay
    Cafe at Chez Panisse - Berkeley
    Cugini - Albany
    Marzano - Oakland (two locations)
    Nizza - Albany
    Oliveto - Oakland
    Paradiso - San Leandro
    Pizzaiolo - Oakland

    North Bay
    Cucina - San Anselmo
    Piatti - Mill Valley
    Picco Pizzeria - Larkspur
    Poggio - Sausalito
    Rosso - Santa Rosa
    Tra Vigne - St. Helena

    Contra Costa County
    Pizza Amoroma - Orinda

    Zuni Cafe
    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

    Chez Panisse
    1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

    Rose Pistola
    532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

    Cugini Restaurant
    1556 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

    777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

    625 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941

    Oliveto Cafe
    5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    Tra Vigne Restaurant
    1050 Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA 94574

    Paradiso Restaurant
    685 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro, CA 94577

    4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

    Tony's Pizza Napoletana
    1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

    510 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960

    Paradiso Restaurant
    17007 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94546

    Oliveto Restaurant
    5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618

    11 Replies
      1. re: arlenemae

        Applewood Pizza
        Howie's Artisan Pizza
        Willow Street Pizza

        Applewood Inn
        1001 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94301

        Willow Street Pizza
        1554 Saratoga Ave Ste P401, San Jose, CA 95129

        Howie's Artisan Pizza
        855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

        1. re: ML8000

          Applewood is not South Bay, it is in Menlo Park and they do not have a wood burning oven.

          Mayfield Cafe in Palo Alto does have a wood burning oven and they have pizza on the menu, although they are not a pizza place. I have not tried the pizza there but did like the other dishes.

          1. re: ML8000

            Oregano's Wood-Fired Pizza in Los Altos

            Oregano's Wood-Fired Pizza
            4546 El, Camino Real Los Altos, CA

            1. re: ML8000

              We ate at Howie's Artisan Pizza yesterday in the Town and Country Shopping Center in Palo Alto. His oven is not wood-burning, according to the waiter we had. But Howie sure makes some fine pizza. We had two: the one with the Fresno chili, sheared red onion, and house-made pancetta and the one with the broccoli raab/rabe/rapini and house-made fennel sausage. Both were excellently conceived and executed with primo ingredients. The space is cool, too, minimally decorated for the holidays. Much more more SF than Hobee's. We didn't have any wine. But he seems to have a good selection relative to his menu. (La Pizzeria in Campbell has a wood-burning stove:; but the ingredients don't seem to compare to Howie's. Pizza Antica uses gas like Howie's, to my knowledge:


              Howie's Artisan Pizza
              855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Does Boot and Shoe Service have a wood-burning oven?

              1. re: wally

                Tried Boot and Shoe service for the first time 2 days ago. Got a Marinara (w/ anchovies) and a Chanterelle, both to go. Superb. Crust was perfectly charred and wonderfully chewy. Seemed like there was a little more salt in the dough than at Pizzaolo. Perfect, to my taste. Might edge out Dopo as my weekly pizza from now on - too soon to say. Tossed green salads were fine, nicely dressed.

                I also liked that they have a phone option for takeout only (hit 2). I always feel like I'm asking Dopo for a favor when I request pizza to go. (Don't get me wrong, they are always friendly and courteous, even when they are too busy to field a takeout order.)

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                Doesn't Restaurant B (the Oakland location) have a wood burning oven? What about the mobile ovens at various farmers markets?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Yeah, how did you? :-) I was wondering if I was wrong, since I know you like the place.

              3. It's not technically pizza, but NOPA's flatbread is nearly the same thing

                1. Well i am not saying this list all has the best piiza, but more from Peninsula/South bay:

                  Amici's (multiple locations) - actually not sure it is wood fired or not
                  Howie's Artisan Pizza (Palo Alto)
                  Willow Street (San Jose)
                  Pizza Antica (multiple locations) - I think it is a wood oven??
                  Cafe Silan (Menlo Park)

                  And I can't even eat pizza...I just drool over everyone elses experiences...

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: jsaimd

                    Amici's and Anatica both use the confusingly named (perhaps deliberately so) Wood Stone brand gas ovens.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I don't think it was a deliberate misnomer. The web site shows a large variety of deck and traditional dome style ovens. I believe they originally burned wood and then as gas became more popular, both for ease of use and emission control, first required conversions to use gas and are now produced to use both fuel sources. It is pretty clear when you look into them which are fuled by burning logs and which have flames coming from piping around the edge of the cooking deck. I have had good to great pizza from both, as well as impingers, Roto Flexes, coal, brick lined and decks. After all, ovens are tools, same as knives and saute pans.

                      1. re: tomatoaday

                        Maybe it's not deliberate, at least on the part of the manufacturer, but it clearly leads to confusion. You can't hear the capitalization when a waiter tells you, "Our pizzas come from a Wood Stone oven."

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Count me among the confused. That's super shady.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I've had Amici's and Pizza Antica and they have just been so-so, meh. Willow Street doesn't do anything for me either. Maybe I'm just a picky pizza eater? But my first experience at Oliveto Cafe, my first bite of the egg/arugula pizza with added pancetta, I was in love. I want pizza like that. I am officially jealous of the East Bay.

                        1. re: SanJoseHound

                          From your recent pizza experiences, it looks like you are in the North Bay area. Your best bet in that area is to try Picco Pizzeria in Larkspur. Probably the closest to the East Bay pie you will find in that neck of the woods.

                          1. re: Scott M

                            I live and work in San Jose. I've had Amici's in San Jose, Pizza Antica at Santana Row, and Willow Street in Willow Glen.

                            1. re: Scott M

                              Well, I'd say Rosso or Pizza Vino 707 (which is owned by Stephen Singer).

                              Is Ubuntu in Napa still making pizza at lunch time? Does Bistro Don Giovanni bake the pizzas in the wood fired oven?

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Bistro Don Giovanni uses wood. Good pie.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  No more pizza at Ubuntu & no cauliflower in cast iron pot - so sad. I went on 1/2/10 and those two items were my reasons for trying it.

                                  1. re: hhc

                                    Odd story. During the summer, I was bicycling in Napa, envisioning my evening reservation at Ubuntu, and I met a guy by the side of the road who said the Cauliflower was no longer great. They didn't have the cauliflower on the menu that night, but since I had been warned off, I didn't miss it.

                                    There's a serious tension between presenting a well known menu and using your daily ingredients. A restaurant like Ubuntu that's presenting a casual face has an even worse problem, because people expect a menu that's not constantly shifting.

                                    We have to let Ubuntu continue to shift and find their place - I enjoy watching them grow and change.

                                    1. re: bbulkow

                                      People who go to Ubuntu should expect a constantly changing menu, since (1) it's driven entirely by what's in season and what they get from their garden, and (2) it has been changing daily since they opened. Plus a restaurant doesn't keep its Michelin star by being stuck in a rut.

                                      I asked about the cauliflower when we ate there the other night, and the server said something like "never say never."

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              was at pizza antica, lafayette, recently, their "stove" isn't wood but definitely aluminum.
                              remember seeing the name "wood oven" on the nameplate. crust was chewy, not so thin. pizza a disappointment. place was packed, people didn't care/lnow.

                            1. re: ernie in berkeley

                              That pizza may be from a wood oven but the one I had was beyond awful. Dough was raw underneath the soggy tomato slices. Crust was thin but flavorless. Sauce pedestrian. Never again.

                              1. re: 10foot5

                                How long ago was this? They didn't have the permit for the wood stove until early December. That said, the pie I had a couple of weeks ago wasn't so great, not soggy, though.

                                1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                  They were burning wood in it yesterday. Did they have to install a special scrubber or something? The emissions controll law that the city passed in 2001 was generally reported as being effectively a ban on new wood ovens in restaurants.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    No idea, but it is striking that there's no aroma of wood burning, inside or outside.

                                  2. re: ernie in berkeley

                                    My experience was well before December. Thanks for the clarification.

                                    I probably won't bother trying again though - I've been pretty disappointed across the board with food from West Berkeley Bowl Cafe. (I've had pizza, Cuban sandwich, grilled cheese, sausage sandwich).

                              2. I like what Tony Gemignani has done at Tony's Pizza Napoletana. Any word on what Anthony Mangieri, late of Una Pizza Napoletana in Manhattan, is up to? Last I heard, he was planning a place in SOMA. That info has to be at least six-months old now.

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