Pizza in the Bay area
What are the best pizza place in the Bay area?
from my experience
for Chicago pizza go to Triple Seven in Saratoga
for NY style The Slice of New York on Steven Creek close to JJ Blues
for Napoli (Naples) style (“Italian") Donato Enoteca in Redwood City, they do not have a big selection but what they have are good
and it’s the only one place which have Tonno e Cipolle, every place in Italy has it, I do not get why americans do not like ton no e cipolle pizza
Could you recommend other ones?
Little Star for Chicago deep-dish. Blue Line is basically the same.
Cotogna in SF for that nameless local NY-Naples hybrid style.
Nizza la Bella in Albany for NY-style thin crust whole pies.
I don't remember ever seeing tuna and onion pizza in Italy. Probably a regional thing.
The ones I like best:
Chez Panisse Cafe (currently closed for fire repairs), which inspired/influenced the following: Emilia's in Berkeley and Pizziaolo (and it's relation, Boot and Shoe) in Oakland.
Also would not turn down Goia in Berkeley and SF. Or Zero Zero in SF.
Then there is this list:
I absolutely *love* the tonno e cipolle pizza at Donato Enoteca, especially with the deep flavor of the tonno italiano and the added kick from the salty olive. Prior to Donato, the chef owned La Strada in Palo Alto, and that was my go to place for just that reason. In Palo Alto, that's now only a dream, new owners took it off of the menu a while back. Could they possibly be right - that very few people ordered it? I guess the thought of tuna on a pizza could be weird to some, yet I grew up eating pasta with tonno and cipolle as part of our special Christmas eve meal, so this was just a natural extension.
As Wally said, Napoletana in Mountain View is worth a try. It's an acceptable alternative however my last pizza there was made by the new pizzaiola and its small, grossly misshapen crust wasn't discovered until we got home. Taking a Naples style thin crust pizza "to go" is never a good idea anyways. It's inevitably soggy by the time one enjoys it.
Another place to try is Terrone in Palo Alto. Good crust and quality toppings, but still, no equivalent to the tonna.
I finally had the tonno e cipolle at Donato Enoteca, I didn't find it exciting. Maybe it was a bad evening, maybe my tastebuds were off because of a cold-flu thing I'm nursing, but the tuna had very little taste, there wasn't much salty olive - if any, I didn't taste any.
The sweetness of the onion was nice, the quality of the cheese was high, and the crust was very good but overshadowed by places like Terrone, Vesta, Howie's.
"I do not get why americans do not like tonno e cipolle pizza."
I'm surprised at that comment, since there is only limited overlap between Italian and American pizza traditions. American pizzas -- the standard model, developed in the Northeast -- are large and round, served in slices, with a relatively rigid format of tomato sauce and cheese with various toppings. Mariani (US historian of Italian-American food evolution) reports in his print writings that this US style evolved after the second world war, departing from prototypes not general to Italy, but specific to Naples -- and that pizzas spread in popularity elsewhere in Italy during the same period.
As mentioned already, Chez Panisse Cafe has made free-format Italian-style pizzas (like the pizzas in my Italian cookbooks, with far-ranging toppings, often no tomatoes or no cheese) since 1980. Restaurants subscribing to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana ("VPN") have offered classic Naples styles in SF for 10 years (A16, Cupola) and more recently in the lower Peninsula (Napoletana Pizzeria - its exact name - in MV, and a couple of new places in Palo Alto perhaps inspired by Napoletana's success).
I've tried several dozen Bay Area VPN pizzas and like the style greatly, but have not sampled all Bay Area VPN restaurants, so am unqualified to judge "the best" even of that specific genre. DO try several pizzas though if you visit somewhere like A16 or Napoletana, don't judge the whole restaurant by one quirky pizza and for piz' sake, eat them THERE! The wood-fired-oven Neapolitan restaurants cook their pizzas in 1-2 minutes, very toasty, and the effect travels poorly. (The authentic way to order them is unsliced, eat them with knife and fork as you see all the Italian expatriates doing.) Napoletana has an "off-menu" option of European-style anchovies added for a dollar or so, and the pizza toppings available are just standard Neapolitan ones which didn't include your tuna &c. when I last checked.
I've been trying for 32 years to recreate at home an exquisite simple onion-and-fresh-herb topping enjoyed at Panisse Cafe in its early days. Not in the original ("P-P-C") cookbook, it may have been an improvisation, as they sometimes are there.
Pizza didn't become popular nationally until after WWII, but the large, round American-style pizza dates back at least to 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi started selling them. Pizzerias had opened in most of the Italian neighborhoods in the northeast by the 1920s.
In those days they were takeout-only, and if you didn't want a whole pie they'd sell you a half or a chunk. The first place to sell pizza by the wedge-shaped slice might have been Patsy's, which Pasquale Grimaldi (who like most of the founders of early pizzerias learned his trade at Lombardi's) opened in 1933.