Long gone are the days when transplants from New York would complain endlessly about SF being a pizza desert. Good and even excellent pizza can now be found in nearly every neighborhood in town, and you can even get a fresh-from-the-oven Neapolitan pie at homegrown music festival Outside Lands (courtesy of Del Popolo's truck).
Not all SF pizza is created equal of course, so SFist now brings you an updated, definitive, expertly curated list of where to find the best pizza — and no, unlike Jon Stewart, we aren't judgy about Chicago-style deep dish. And don't get excited — it's in alphabetical order. (Also, RIP Una Pizza Napoletana.)
This southern-Italian Marina mainstay makes nine different pies on any given day, with some changing seasonally. House favorites include the bianca (which features Castelvetrano olives), the salsiccia (fennel sausage and broccoli rabe), and the testa (soppressata di testa, gaeta olives, fennel, garlic). A16 also boasts a world-class Italian wine list curated by owner and James Beard Award-nominated sommelier Shelley Lindgren.
2355 Chestnut Street
Since opening two years ago in Hayes Valley, A Mano has been a consistently tough table to get. With no reservations and a rare-in-SF proposition of reasonably priced pasta and pizza combined with a full bar, all in SF's trendiest neighborhood, it stands to reason that it's popular. The pizzas from chef Freedom Rains — made in a high-temp gas oven similar to Pizzeria Delfina's — have been excellent from the get-go. Except for the margherita and mushroom pizzas, toppings change seasonally, but right now you can get the delicious guanciale pie with Brussels sprouts, garlic chives, and pecorino.
450 Hayes Street at Octavia
When they're fresh out of the oven, slices at Arinell achieve the New York-style thing in a way that few local slice shops do. The cheese is properly spread, orange and molten, the sauce is tangy, the crust is thin and floppy with crisp edges that actually taste like something. And Arinell has stood the test of time on Valencia through the corridor's many incarnations, having opened on this block between 16th and 17th in 1975 — way before this strip was anything more than a couple taquerias and an appliance store.
509 Valencia (at 16th Street)
Beretta and Delarosa
Two versions of the same restaurant from prolific local restaurateur Adriano Paganini (who also operates A Mano and Starbelly), these Mission/Marina sister spots (Delarosa also now has a downtown outpost) can still be counted on to put out solid, well crisped pies as well as good cocktails — though you'll hear arguments for why Beretta is superior. They're both good casual date spots, with prices a tad higher than at A Mano, but at least Beretta takes reservations. Beretta also has a cozy private dining room downstairs that's perfect for birthdays. Another hot tip: Beretta serves until 1 a.m. all week long, and Delarosa's Marina location serves until 1 a.m. on weekends.
1199 Valencia Street at 23rd
2175 Chestnut Street between Steiner and Pierce Streets
37 Yerba Buena Lane
You're going to hear arguments from San Franciscans that Little Star has the Chicago pizza game all wrapped up here, end of story. Well, these people have probably not been to Capo's in North Beach, because despite the fact that you may not be able to walk after scarfing more than two slices of their seriously hefty deep-dish pies, this ode to Chicago pizza by pizza master Tony Gemignani is a winner on all fronts. There's a full bar with good cocktails. The atmosphere is cool — red booths, brick, photos of gangsters — and like at his other North Beach pizzeria, Gemignani makes sure to turn the menu into an encyclopedia of styles, in this case focused on the Midwest: traditional deep dish, stuffed, cast iron, and cracker thin. The Sam Giancana is excellent as a thin-crust, and the Old Chicago you'd better have stuffed, and bear in mind that these are not vegetarian friendly — the ultra-traditional crusts have lard in them, all except the cracker-thin.
641 Vallejo (at Columbus)
Once serving out of a truck, pizza guy Casey Crynes now has his own brick-and-mortar spot (just like fellow street-food hustler PizzaHacker) out in Mission Bay. It's small (just 28 seats), but Casey's does some big delivery business via Caviar. Favorite pies include the Bacon Kale and the pepperoni, both with meats from Zoe's Meats.
1170 Fourth Street
Cellarmaker House of Pizza
Newly open in January in the former Old Bus Tavern space, local brewery Cellarmaker's got a hit on their hands with this Mission pizza spot. They specialize in square, Detroit-style pies, which basically means there's sometimes tomato sauce on top. This is now the place in town to get great beer alongside pizza, but note there are only four pizza options: a white pie, the Detroit "red top" pie, a "classic" with pepperoni, and one with Italian sausage and pickled peppers.
3193 Mission Street
The new kid on the pizza block is also the trendiest restaurant in SF right now, and not the easiest to get into — it was on Bon Appetit's list of Best New Restaurants last summer, and the New York Times has even covered it. If you can snag a spot at the communal table, go for it and check out some of chef David Nayfield's to-die-for pies like his "Ode to Judy Rodgers" pizza with marinara and ricotta salata, and the pizza highlighting Acorn Ranch pancetta with nettles, scarmozza, and ricotta. And they all come with generous smatterings of parmigiano on the crust.
Pizzaiolo Jon Darsky got his start in the early days of Flour + Water, but left to launch his own thing, which ended up morphing into a $180,000 mobile pizza operation, with a full-sized, Naples-built, wood-fueled pizza oven on board. (You can find it sometimes at Proxy in Hayes Valley, or every August at Outside Lands.) The truck is impressive on its own, and in 2015 he opened his first brick-and-mortar spot on Nob Hill, where he's expanded his repertoire to include some excellent salads and inventive Italian small plates. Del Popolo's perfectly blistered margherita rivals that of local pizza-master Tony Gemignani, and any of the rotating other pies, cooked in a couple of minutes at high heat, come out just as crisp, chewy, smoky and delicious too.
855 Bush Street
I had high hopes for Fiorella when it opened at the beginning of 2016, hopes that were fulfilled at my first visit, the moment I bit into my first slice of their pizza. The crust is springy and charred to perfection, and their oft-changing list of pies always offers a surprise. But just because you're headed to the Outer Richmond doesn't mean you can just waltz in there: They get packed (though their patio seating is sometimes available) so make a reservation or be ready to sit at the counter or their communal table. — Eve Batey
2339 Clement Street between 24th and 25th Avenues
Flour + Water
Known more, overall, for their pasta, Flour + Water has made Neapolitan-style pizzas of varying quality since their debut ten years ago initially under the helm of Del Popolo founder Jon Darsky, who broke off to do his own thing a couple years in. The pizza here remains a high point, with thin, crisp crusts, well blistered edges, and frequently delicious seasonal topping combinations, and it's not as tough a reservation to get as it once was. Unless you want to wait an hour for a table, though, prime time reservations need to be snagged a couple weeks out. (Sidenote: A Flour + Water Pizzeria is due to open on Valencia Street soon, in the former Farina Pizza space.)
2401 Harrison Street at 20th
If you're passionate about pizza, you shouldn't mind the trek to Glen Park to try one of the best spots in town, which chef Sharon Ardiana opened about a decade ago. She later expanded with Ragazza on Divisadero, which is almost as good, but something about the consistency in the quality of the pies at Gialina keeps it a notch above in my book. Go for the extraordinary, egg-topped Amatriciana (pictured), or Michael Bauer's longtime favorite, the Atomica, and you'll see what a great dough recipe and a hot gas oven can do.
2842 Diamond Street (at Bosworth)
This downtown spot from the guys behind Town Hall and Salt House serves up East Coast-style pizza with a particular New Jersey flair. Jersey debuted in 2015 and quickly got a solid Chronicle review, with the star of the show being the Trenton Tomato Pie — a golden, crisp-crust pie topped with mozzarella, parmesan, and crushed tomato, which chef and co-owner Steven Rosenthal clearly spent many months perfecting. There's also the "New Yorker" on the same Jersey-style crust topped with sausage, pepperoni, and pancetta. And the kitchen also produces several "California-style" pies with a different type of dough, puffier crusts, and sparser toppings. Given the SoMa location, they open for breakfast and lunch too, serving a breakfast pizza in the mornings topped with scrambled eggs, onion crema, and your choice of smoked salmon or prosciutto.
145 2nd Street between Mission and Howard
Little Star's Chicago-style deep dish pizzas are, in my opinion, the best in town, primarily because of the cornmeal crusts (that they allegedly do not make in-house) and the well seasoned tomato sauce. Capo's may rival this place for the sheer audacity, calories, and size of their pies, but the punch of Little Star's flavors are always consistent, and great. Go for the Classic, for starters, or try the off-menu Brass Monkey (so named for the Beastie Boys song because a guy named Mike D. always used to order it), which is a Little Star (spinach, ricotta, feta, mushrooms, onion, and garlic) with sausage added. Also, the thin crust pizzas are pretty great too. Do note that the two SF locations are owned by different people, and so the menus differ slightly.
846 Divisadero (McAllister) or 400 Valencia (at 15th Street)
Long Bridge Pizza Co.
This Dogpatch pizza haven comes from a couple of guys who worked at Tony's and PizzaHacker, and who are both Bay Area natives — Neal DeNardi and Andrew Markoulis. Generously and boldly topped and perfectly cooked, these are stellar pizzas, especially the Kalamata olive and garlic pie, and the sauceless Pizza Jacker with mozzarella, garlic, arugula, Calabrian chili paste, lemon, and parmesan.
2347 Third Street
Though this tucked-away SoMa spot technically specializes in pinsa, not pizza — it's an elongated Roman-style flatbread made with grains besides traditional "zero zero" wheat flour — this is still pizza in my book, and it's damn good pizza. There are over a dozen pinsas to try, but for my money you should go for the Quadraro (guanciale, red onion, pecorino, chili pepper), or the delightfully odd Garbatella (caper mayo, tuna belly, pickled red onion, mozzarella, Calabrese chili, parsley).
510 Stevenson Street
What began with a modified Weber grill on the sidewalk and morphed into pop-ups finally took root a couple years back in Bernal Heights. The hype hasn't cooled off, either, so get in their early and put your name on the chalkboard. Jeff Krupman is the hacker in question, and his standout dough is a riff on Tartine's tangy country white bread with a sprinkling of smoked salt. The Yo Vinny is a perennial favorite, with good reason: it's got marinated onions, goat horn peppers, 4505 sausage, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and if you'd like, an egg.— Caleb Pershan
3299 Mission Street between Valencia and 29th Streets
Now a veritable empire with locations in Pac Heights, SoMa, Burlingame, and Palo Alto, Delfina's pizza off-shoot has been a star on 18th Street since it opened many moons ago. The secret is fine ingredients, great dough, and hot gas ovens that produce Neapolitan-like results. Also, there's variety on this menu, from the clam pie to the house-made fennel sausage to the daily rotating seasonal specials, all clocking in under $20. The proximity to the Mission's favorite sunny weekend hang, Dolores Park, doesn't hurt either.
3621 18th Street
2406 California Street
688 Mission Street
Tony's Pizza Napoletana
Hometown pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani is like a Universalist high priest of pizza, having turned his North Beach restaurant into an edible survey course in pizza styles from both America and Italy. He makes a great, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, but he also makes shining examples of Sicilian, classic New York, coal-fired, St. Louis cracker-thin, Detroit red-topped, New Jersey tomato-topped, Roman by-the-meter square-sliced, classic Italian gas-fired, and California-style pizzas, all with equal care. The menu is kind of dizzying that way, in fact, with so many options and combinations that you could take a few years exhausting them all, not to mention he makes classic calzones and stromboli too. If you want Chicago deep-dish, you have to walk a couple blocks to his other spot, Capo's, but otherwise the entire universe of pizza is covered here, and the place is always packed.
1570 Stockton Street at Union
Perhaps one of the most "date night"-ish spots on this list, Zero Zero isn't your corner slice-on-paper place: This is a full-on, sit-down, drink-a-cocktail joint that just happens to serve some of the best pizza in town. (It's also in the heart of SoMa, so expect your share of business lunches and dinners, and office birthdays.) I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes thinking about their hen of the woods and fontina pizza, and regularly have some doubtlessly exploited laborer drive their Margherita Extra all the way from SoMa to my apartment by the ocean. With a yeasty, chewy crust covered in black blisters, every pizza there looks like pizza is supposed to look, and tastes even better. Eve Batey
826 Folsom Street at 4th Street
Pizzeria Avellino (2769 Lombard Street, solid New York-style slices)
Giorgio's (151 Clement Street, old-school enough that it might charm you)
Gioia Pizzeria (2240 Polk Street, definitely tops for Russian Hill, California-style)
Marcello's (420 Castro, the Castro's best slice option)
Mozzeria (3228 16th Street)
Patxi’s (various locations, decent but inconsistent deep-dish)
Pizzetta 211 (211 23rd Avenue)
Ragazza (311 Divisadero, good but just not quite as good and consistent as sister spot Gialina)
Tommaso's (1042 Kearny Street, super old-school and doughy, but you just might love it)