Last night we went to Pizzaiolo for the first time. We had tried coming here once before about 6 months ago but the wait was too long. Let me start by saying I grew up in NY, am very picky about pizza and pizza crust, and am more often than not disappointed by pizza I eat in CA. We had a great meal. Here is what we ate:
Arugula salad sliced fennel, beets, almonds and baked ricotta. Very fresh tasting and well balanced. The ingredients went very well together.
Wood oven baked Manilla clams and mussels in broth with rouille and grilled bread. Excellent. Often when you order dishes like this, they taste good but are drowning in butter and leave you with a heavy feeling. The thing I really liked about this version is that it was very tasty but not overly heavy. The rouille provided the perfect amount of richness without overwhelming the dish, and the toast was great dipped in the sauce.
We got the potato, fontina, pancetta and rosemary pizza with two eggs on top. The pizza was great, bordering on excellent. The crust was perfect, absolutely spot on. The ingredients of the toppings were tasty and high quality. Two things prevented me from saying the pizza was excellent. First the pizza seemed very under salted to me. Once you added salt it was much better. More importantly the balance of toppings was unbalanced so that the potatoes dominated and it was difficult to discern the pancetta, and I could not even taste rosemary at all. Had there been slightly more and somewhat larger pieces of pancetta and a touch more rosemary the pizza probably would have been excellent instead of just great.
For dessert we had a pecan pie like tart with very tasty vanilla ice cream.
We will definitely go back again to give the pizza another try.
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Thanks for the reminder, I haven't been back to Pizzaiolo for awhile and it's just 10 minutes from my apartment.
Since you're from New York (and they are really picky pizza eaters), I'm curious where else you like in SF Bay Area for thin crust, which seems to be every where now. So far I like Marzano, Pizzeria Delfina and Gialina. Wondering what your thoughts might be for those places if you tried.
I used to work in Berkeley and would occasionally go to Arinell for lunch. The pizza was variable depending on the day but sometimes it was spot on. Escape from NY can be also be variable but is sometimes spot on. I love the Cheeseboard, but I think the pizza next door is over-rated. Zaccharies I absolutely hate and I have gotten into heated arguments with people about. The place near the Monterey market in Berkeley (I forget the name) is pretty good. I work in Davis now. The Village Bakery in Davis has a passable version of NY style pizza, all other pizza in Davis is pretty abysmal. Perhaps Steve’s pizza in Davis is the epitome of how truly truly wretched California pizza can be. Maybe my favorite place for pizza now is Ubuntu in Napa which is delicious. I haven’t tried the places you mentioned but will check them out.
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