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Pizza al taglio in San Francisco?

c
calumin Feb 16, 2013 01:25 PM

Does anybody know of a place that sells high quality pizza al taglio in San Francisco (or the Bay Area)?

When I was last in Rome I found a place called Pizzarium, and decided it was the best pizza of any type I've ever had in my life. I would have gladly eaten there every meal while I was in Rome. I don't even normally like thck crusts, but I'd eat that over a Neapolitan pizza any day.

http://anamericaninrome.com/wp/2011/0...

Does anyone know of a similar place in the Bay Area that's worth visiting?

  1. Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 10:27 AM

    I have yet to find proper Roman-style pizza a taglio aka pizza rustica (which means other things elsewhere) around here. Adesso's looks right from the photos. The stuff I've had at PIQ is more like focaccia but they make a lot of things and I might have missed it.

    Bao'Necci makes the most Roman-style pizza in SF. It's not Baffetto but it's good. Ristorante Ideale also makes that style (owner's family has a pizzeria in Trastevere).

    Cinecitta's pizza (square and relatively thick) is not similar to any I had in Rome, but the very Roman owner said it's just like her grandfather makes at his pizzeria in Rome.

    Tony's pizza Romana to my knowledge has no counterpart in Rome. I think maybe he was inspired by the focaccia at Antica Forno in Campo dei Fiori.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      l
      lemons Feb 17, 2013 12:00 PM

      Ahh, Antica Forno - I had my al taglio there, and it was the white, so it probably was technically the focaccia. Watching the businessmen having their midmorning breaks there was great too.

      1. re: lemons
        b
        barberinibee Feb 17, 2013 12:27 PM

        lemons,

        Maybe what you had was pizza bianca.

        http://oneforkonespoon.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/what-pizza-means-in-rome/

        I've never eaten at L'Antico Forno (Roscioli) in Campo de'Fiori, but since they are known for their burrata, I'm wondering if their foccacia is the Pugliese version (fluffy)

        http://www.alice.tv/pane-pizza-torte-salate/focaccia-pugliese

        as opposed to the Ligurian version (flatter).

        http://spelucchino.blogspot.it/2009/1...

        There is an Il Forno in Campo de'Fiori, which is known for its pizza bianca. I have eaten there (and didn't notice any foccacia of any type).

        1. re: barberinibee
          Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 01:11 PM

          Ah, right, in Rome they call it pizza bianca, not focaccia. Jeffery Steingarten wrote about it at length (collected in "It Must Have Been Something I Ate").

          "What pizza means in Rome" is first and foremost Baffetto.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            b
            barberinibee Feb 18, 2013 09:01 AM

            @Robert Lauriston,

            Foccacia is actually a different animal in Italy, not a pizza, not even a pizza bianca.

            To complicate matters more, there is one kind of foccacia in the south that is not a pizza or pizza bianca:

            http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/2010/07/focaccia-in-bari_28.html

            and there are two types in Liguria, the classic deeply pock-marked salty and oil-soft foccacia, which is also not pizza bianca

            http://blog.davidddownie.com/2010/12/more-focaccia-italian-riviera-rapallo.html

            plus the unique specialty of the Ligurian town of Recco, foccacia col formaggio, which is sort of a cross between super-thin crusted greek spinach pies only filled instead solely with a runny melted cheese (think quasi-quesadilla

            )

            http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Focaccia-col-formaggio.html

            Nowhere in Liguria will you find native pizza (the local pie is farinata, made of chickpea flour solo) . And nowhere in Liguria would you find this kind of foccacia:

            http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nativeson/article/Liguria-Bakery-in-North-Beach-makes-focaccia-2368406.php

            HOWEVER -- and this is a big HOWEVER --

            If you go to Roscioli's website and look at their Antico Forno offerings, you will see that they offer in Rome what they call "pizzette alla genovese". What that is, I have no idea, but it's not like Italians don't make up stuff too

            http://www.salumeriaroscioli.com/it-i...

          2. re: barberinibee
            l
            lemons Feb 18, 2013 09:21 AM

            Yup, you're absolutely right, that was pizza bianca at Il Forno not Antica....blush.

      2. l
        lemons Feb 17, 2013 08:21 AM

        In Rome, I was told that "al taglio" means by the piece as opposed to a whole pie - usually available during the day. Is that what you're looking for?

        2 Replies
        1. re: lemons
          b
          barberinibee Feb 17, 2013 09:46 AM

          It really denotes that the pizza is meant to be served by the piece, cooked that way to be cut and sold that way, by weight, which is different from round pizza that is cooked to be eaten whole on the spot (or the American pizza by the slice that gets reheated). Usually pizza al taglio is cooked in an electric oven in big rectangular sheets, set out and very often eaten tepid. It is distinctly different from other types of pizza in Rome.

          Pizzarium makes pizza al taglio, but that is really like saying If an Italian came to the US and happened to taste macaroni and cheese at French Laundry, and then went back to Italy asking if anybody knew where they could get this same great American pasta and cheese dish in Italy, just pointing them to a Milanese restaurant that had American mac'n'cheese on the menu might not produce the desired result.

          1. re: barberinibee
            c
            calumin Feb 17, 2013 06:12 PM

            barberinibee -- yes that is right. I was asking about pizza al taglio but only because I don't know of a better name to use.

            Before I went to Pizzarium my impression of this kind of pizza was of some really bad all-night pizza fast food places I've gone to in London and New York (don't see them as much in San Francisco). It's very hard to communicate how much better and different the pizza here is than at other places.

            I will definitely try Adesso's next time I'm out in the East Bay & also try some of the places mentioned here.

        2. c
          calumin Feb 16, 2013 05:48 PM

          sorry the link to the restaurant in the original post is wrong (and for some reason I can't edit the post anymore). the correct link is:

          http://anamericaninrome.com/wp/2011/0...

          5 Replies
          1. re: calumin
            b
            barberinibee Feb 17, 2013 05:42 AM

            You know that Gabriele Bonci, the man behind Pizzarium, is known in Rome as "the Michaelangelo of pizza." Even in Rome, most people don't think Pizzarium has any equal. Buona fortuna finding pizza al taglio you enjoy that much anywhere else -- but San Francisco is as good a place to look as any.

            Pizza al taglio and Roman pizza (the round sit-down-dinner variety) is distinctly different from Neapolitan pizza. Sort of like saying I'd sooner eat a bagel any day over an English muffin. If people weren't mistakenly led to believe that Neapolitan pizza is pizza as they know it (it isn't) only better, they might take it or leave it on its own.

            In researching an upcoming stay in SF, I noticed that Tony's Pizza Napoletana near the Financial District has on its menu "Pizza Romana" which it appears to serve in long tranches (for large groups). Don't know if it sells it tepid by the rectangular slice, and have no idea if it is any good. The restaurant seems to be serving pizza all over the map.

            1. re: barberinibee
              grayelf Feb 17, 2013 08:11 AM

              Robert L talked about the "Romana" at Tony's here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6322...

              1. re: barberinibee
                Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 06:55 PM

                Sounds like Pizzarium elevated the stuff quite a bit. The places I mostly went to were the old-school Pizza Rustica at via Flaminia and a newer, hipper place on via di Ripetta. Nobody would compare either to the French Laundry.

              2. re: calumin
                little big al Feb 17, 2013 12:50 PM

                Bearing in mind that I am neither the greatest expert or fan of the pizza medium, and that it is a rather low place, but those pictures sure do look like the product of Golden Boy pizza, which has hit my spot a time or two. The second hardest working little oven in North Beach.

                1. re: little big al
                  Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 01:00 PM

                  Golden Boy is basically a thick, soft, bready focaccia. I like it but it's nothing like Roman-style pizza a taglio, which is thinner and crunchy.

              3. e
                ernie in berkeley Feb 16, 2013 02:52 PM

                PIQ in downtown Berkeley has that style.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ernie in berkeley
                  Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 06:41 PM

                  PIQ's is really good. Light, crunchy, good flavor, nice toppings. I don't remember having seen it there before. It's more refined than the stuff I knew in Rome.

                  They threw some rocket on top and squirted it with salad dressing, which makes no sense to me. I'd ask for the salad on a separate plate next time.

                   
                   
                2. Robert Lauriston Feb 16, 2013 02:01 PM

                  Adesso added that recently. I haven't tried it yet.

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