Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Feb 16, 2010 09:59 PM

Best Pizza places in the South Bay, CA

First of all, I'm new to this site. Second, I love pizza and I'm always looking for new good spots. My favorites in the South Bay are Applewood Pizza, Paxti's, Howie's Artisan Pizza, and Pizza my Heart. What are all your favorites in this area? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As all those places are in greater palo alto (ie, the south peninsula), would you consider recommendations on the peninsula? In my book, the south bay starts around route 237, 5 miles south.

    If so, I might suggest you try La Strada, Babbo's in the Stanford Shopping Center, and Pizza Chicago.

    1. Cool thanks for the suggestions. Yea when I meant south bay I had San Mateo down to San Jose in mind. My definition of south bay could be wrong LoL. I haven't heard of La Strada and Babbo's, but I'll check them out.

      7 Replies
      1. re: MT650

        No worries - and welcome. Not trying to be snuffy, just trying to figure you your parameters.

        La Strada is one of the upscale places on University Ave, but they have a nice wood oven. Babbo's is a smaller joint with high end european-style pies. More like Howie's, I think. Donato Enoteca is a highly regarded italian place in Redwood City, they have a few pizza on their menu.

        On the more industrial side of things, you'll want to try Amici's, which has a branch in Menlo Park and another in Mountain View. Very, very thin crust, pretty good, a local chain. GF and I went to California Pizza Kitchen a few months ago, and thought it wasn't that bad. She had snidely called it KFC for years - there's one just off University. Pricey for what you get, but good quality. With Pizza My Heart, the pizza changes completely when you order thin crust - I highly recommend, in fact had leftover PMH thin crust for dinner tonight. I've been told you can only get thin crust at the PA PMH, as its a legacy of the Pizza A GoGo staff. As noted last week, Round Table really isn't that bad. Round Table was founded in Menlo Park (maybe the first store in PA?). On the super-industrial side, don't forget Costco - I was at a corperate event where about 50 big costco pies were brought in. If I needed to feed 1,000 people in a hurry, they'd be on speed dial.

        Between the high and the low you'll find Oregano near the PA / MV border (actually in Los Altos), which has a wood oven. I ate there once and found it unremarkable, but it's hard to believe someone would go through the hassle of using wood and make lousy pizza. Likewise Pronto Pizza, near the atherton line but in Redwood City. I haven't tried Pronto, and there's not been much comment on them here.

        Some people are huge fans of Speederia in San Carlos. They claim to be "real new york", and I don't really get the place. Paper plates and almost no toppings. Still, it's worth a try, especially if you understand "real new york style", which I don't.

        On the unusual side is Cafe Silan, directly across from the Amici's in MP. Silan features Afghan food, but also have a wood oven, and make pizza. The place is charming, cozy, friendly. I always eat afghan there - which is excellent - and it includes endless fresh bread out of their oven (we'll usually eat our way through 3 plates of the piping fresh awesomeness), but Melanie Wong likes the pizza. Silan is also on my love-list because they have half-bottles of Ridge wine. Sit-down affair, but relaxed.

        Another place to try is Tony's on Willow. It's a pretty straight-up place - just pizza. The joint has changed hands a few times in the last couple of years, but I stopped by recently and was pleasantly surprised. They don't have a lot of toppings, no anchovies or sun dried tomatoes, but the Chorizo is great (probably from the market next door), and the bang per buck is fabulous. A large with three toppings was only about $18, vs a medium 4 toppings at PMH over $20. Next time I'll ask for heavy sauce, though - that was the one failing of that pizza. No atmosphere, so get delivery or to go.

        Also rans - Frankie Johnnie & Luigi in MV, I consider about the same as Applewood - pedestrian. But if you like Applewood, you might like them. At least the crust tastes fresh. The Oasis (MV / PA border has pizza, never tried it). Spotta in downtown PA - ho hum. Escape from NY - average.

        1. re: bbulkow

          >Also rans - Frankie Johnnie & Luigi in MV, I consider about the same as
          >Applewood - pedestrian.
          it's been too many years since i've eaten at applewood, so i cant compare,
          but for "old school' [heavy crust, heavy cheese, heavy meat], i like FJLT,
          e.g. the Stromboli.

          it's actually not a lot more expensive than round table, but much better
          and quantity is pretty fair.

          also their meat pizzas turn into very good cold pizza.

          i think costco pizza is pretty bad. i liked round table long ago, but i
          feel their ingredients have gotten cheaper and more pre-fab. if in
          the south bay, i'd always go to FJTL over RT.

          1. re: psb

            Maybe it's just my more recent distaste for heavy crust heavy cheese.

            I remember really liking FJLT in the mid 90's, so it's worth a try.

          2. re: bbulkow

            "Paper plates and almost no toppings." Went here on Saturday for the first time with the family so there were a variety of slices on the table (usually have been there with one dd). Never noticed sparseness of toppings until now - dd's pepperoni. We also had the Brooklyn Special (tastiest) & the mushroom & those seemed fine.

            Anyone who loves pizza should check out tiny little Speederia in San Carlos. Crisp crust, fairly thin*, not gooey cheesy.

            *fairly thin- since we ordered by the slice, noticed some were thinner than others but all still had good crust.

            1. re: ceekskat

              I may have caught them late on an off night. They're highly recommended, anyone a fan of the thin new york slice should certainly check 'em out.

              1. re: ceekskat

                +1 for Speederia. The best NY (manhattan) style pizza by the slice in the bay area. If you are familiar with that style, you will "get" this place. Just know that it is not a restaurant, it is a take away counter with two high top tables inside.

                Speederia Pizzeria
                711 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

              2. re: bbulkow

                A few more thoughts on the chains, because some people aren't into those places or go to them by default:

                Round Table Pizza is a QSR chain, maybe a notch better than Domino's and Straw Hat, but not by much.

                California Pizza Kitchen is also a chain, but a notch above Round Table. They became famous for their bbq chicken pizza, which wasn't bad in its day. However, I have found their ingredients to often be lacking in freshness as they've grown. They are a mass-market, sysco quality operation now.

                Pizza My Heart is also a chain with locations in the south bay and the Santa Cruz area. They do a decent by the slice in the NY style (large slices, thin crust, variety of toppings, reheated in a pizza oven to order).

                Amici's is more of a family, sit down experience with large locations and an extensive menu with pastas, entrees and pizza. The ovens are not really burning wood (although some say they are) , and the prices are high for what you get. I've had good food and poorly executed food, so it is hit and miss in my experience. For the price, it's not worth the crapshoot when there are so many other options.

            2. Since Howie's opened, I haven't been going to many other places. But other favorites in the area not already mentioned include:

              - Giovanni's in Sunnyvale for New York gas-oven style pizza.

              - A Slice of New York in San Jose for the same New York style, done differently. It's a tiny place, mostly take-out.

              - Pizza Antica in Santana Row, San Jose for more Italian-style pizza. But there are many places in San Francisco that do this better. The easiest to get to in the South Bay is Gialina in Glen Park, just of 280, though that's much more an individual Gialina-style than a more traditional Italian-style.


              2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

              A Slice of New York
              3443 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95117

              Giovanni's New York Pizzeria
              1127 Lawrence Expressway, Sunnyvale, CA

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

              1. Pizza Antica - Santana Row
                Pizza Chicago - Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara

                1. Cicero's Pizza, in San Jose at the Cupertino border, is my suggestion. Family-run since 1968, super-thin crust and tasty sauce are distinctions.