Pizza from wood-burning ovens
- Robert Lauriston Jan 8, 2010 07:26 AM
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 I'll post my list in a reply so the topic doesn't open with a soon-to-be-out-of-date list.
Flour + Water
Local Kitcnen + Wine Merchant
Tony's Pizza Napoletana
Zuni Cafe (lunch only)
Cafe at Chez Panisse - Berkeley
Cugini - Albany
Marzano - Oakland (two locations)
Nizza - Albany
Oliveto - Oakland
Paradiso - San Leandro
Pizzaiolo - Oakland
Cucina - San Anselmo
Piatti - Mill Valley
Picco Pizzeria - Larkspur
Poggio - Sausalito
Rosso - Santa Rosa
Tra Vigne - St. Helena
Contra Costa County
Pizza Amoroma - Orinda
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709
532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802
1556 Solano Ave, Albany, CA
777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
625 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941
5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618
Tra Vigne Restaurant
1050 Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA 94574
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
17007 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94546
5655 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
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: http://www.campbellpizza.com/index.ph...; but the ingredients don't seem to compare to Howie's. Pizza Antica uses gas like Howie's, to my knowledge: http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-03-19...)
Howie's Artisan Pizza
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301
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.)
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...
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.
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.
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.
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."