Zante Pizza [San Francisco] - La Lengua Chronicles Part 11
Date Dined 4/19/12
I had been to Zante several times during my previous stint in San Francisco, but I think the last time I went (probably in 2008), I wasn't all that impressed. I went back today - my DC and I shared a medium vegetarian Indian pizza. Overall, I thought it was pretty delicious. The pizza crust is thick, but it has a nice soft, chewy texture. Most of the veggies are cut up too small to tell whats what, and the flavor of the Indian curry is pretty uniform throughout the pie, except when you get little clumps of ginger. The pizza had a lot of cheese too....I think I remember having a vegan (or at least cheeseless) version once too, but the mozzarella cheese paired surprisingly well with the other toppings.
The medium pie was way too much for 2 of us, and we only ended up eating half. We each also had a mango lassi, which were fine but nothing special. Tasted like it had been mixed way earlier, or maybe even came from a mix of some sort.
I don't think I'll often crave Indian pizza, but it's nice to know that Zante is consistent. Worth trying if you've never had it.
3489 Mission Street @ Cortland Street
La Lengua Chronicles: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838611
Here's a photo of the Indian pizza I had in March (this is the meat version) at Zante. Same here with the toppings being cut up so small you can't differentiate, but the flavors were really nice. I wouldn't go for this all the time when craving pizza, but it was a welcome change of pace. Re-heated the next day beautifully, too.
As a side note, I was here with a large group, and many others ordered traditional Indian meals. I'd stick with the pizza judging from their reactions.
re: Frosty Melon
Yeah, that was always my impression too. I sense the pizza is the way to go here.
I forgot to mention that the whole place was very toasty because of the pizza oven. Not actually ideal for last night, since it was quite warm out, but would be very nice on a foggy or windy evening.
re: "not impressed" vs "pretty delicious" ...
in my (not very recent) experience of a fair number of slices and a couple of whole pies, they seem to do a markedly better job when you order a pie than the pret-a-manger pre-made slices.
going back even further, i believe the old 16th street operation did better slices, but maybe that is romantic historical memory or being a few beers down and cold and hungry at Zeitgeist (clearly the appeal of the overpriced and mediocre tamale lady, needs some explanation ... whether intoxication, hunger or cognitive dissonance).
Our household has consumed countless Zante Indian pies, both meat and veggie. When my kids come back from college they crave two things: a burrito first, then a Zante's Indian pie. Its an only-in-SF treat, and its delicious.
I agree that the pie fresh from the oven is way better than reheated slices. The crust is thick and doughy, and if the pie sits too long that veers towards soggy. So its important to get fresh, whole pies. I'd add that they include packets of red pepper flakes and mint and tamarind chutney for a reason. Its Indian food, so adding some chili heat enhances the pie nicely. And the doughy crusts are better with chutney. I have not ordered from their Indian menu is over a decade - with Spicy Bite two doors down the road, I can't imagine why I would. Zante's is all about their Indian pie. And that's enough.