Diner Most-Loved

The Most Popular Pizza Places in San Francisco

In a town obsessed with quality ingredients, pizza gets the gourmet treatment.

16 min read
6/4/2022
Cav blog- pizza

San Francisco counts itself as one of the country’s best pizza cities, thanks to the wide variety and the way locals have embraced every style. Look for New York slices, New England brick-oven thin crust, and everyone’s new favorite — Detroit-style rectangular pies. All get the California treatment, thanks to excellent local produce and artisans. These are the spots Caviar diners consider the very best. 

1. Square Pie Guys 

The original SOMA location, opened in 2019, brought the Detroit-style pizza craze to the Bay Area in a big way. The crusts will arrive light and crisp, with high edges ringed in lacy caramelized cheese. The signature 6x8 will arrive with precisely 48 pepperoni slices crowded on its surface. Look for collaborations with such stars as Samin Nosrat and local icons like Souvla Greek restaurant. The latter is like a salad-pizza mashup with oranges, fennel, chicken, Mizithra cheese, and Granch (Greek ranch) dressing.

Square Pie Guys - pepperoni pizza

2. Yellow Moto

David White, one of the original partners in Flour + Water, has branched out on his own with this new stunner. Named for the scooter he rides around town, the pizza here is known for its exceptional crust – chewy, crisp-bottomed and well blistered around the rim – and premium toppings chosen for their balance and complexity. If you want to see just how gourmet a Hawaiian pizza can be, check out this beaut, which uses tasso ham and adds slivered red onion and pickled jalapeño to the mix.

3. Little Star Pizza (Valencia Street, Divisadero Street)

While this local mini-chain makes a variety of different styles of pizza, they’re best known for being one of the very few San Francisco places to offer real-deal Chicago deep dish. These hefty creations stand high, come covered in sweet, thick tomato sauce, and hold a casserole’s worth of cheese in the center. Order a half-and-half, so the meat lovers and the meat eschewers can share the same space.

little star pizza - chicago style

4. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

Pizzas come in all sizes and of all persuasions at this bustling Little Italy tavern from 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani. He serves it all: New York-style, Italian-style, Detroit-style, Grandma-style, and “classic American-style.” What does this all mean? You’ll have to get yourself lost in the menu to discover the crust, oven, and temperature variables that go into perfecting each variety. And if you want to truly learn more about his process, there’s a pizza kit with your name on it, all ready to be rolled out and bakedit in your home oven.

5. Little Original Joe’s

This is Goldilocks pizza, with a crust that’s neither too thick nor too thin, and toppings that aren’t too hundrum nor too out there. Try the PB&A – prosciutto, burrata and arugula – or the aptly named Fun Guy, in which gobs of mushrooms, truffle oil and porcini salt tops a ricotta cream base. The salads are a cut above: See the chopped salad twith beets and goat cheese, for starters. 

6. Cellarmaker House of Pizza 

Hoppy beers and Detroit-style pies make magic together at this brewpub at the base of the Bernal Heights Hill. Order a four-pack of IPA, and then it’s time for hard decisions among the gourmet pies, which all use a mixture of mozzarella and Point Reyes Toma cheese. The Camaron pizza promises a kick with salsa macha and prawns, while the roasted broccolini pizza contains broccolini, spring onions, and red miso “bagna cauda” to put it over the top.

7. Amici's East Coast Pizzeria 

This longtime favorite serves New England–style brick-oven pizzas with thin, crisp crusts that East Coast transplants rely on. The pizzas come in four sizes and feature such toppings as fried eggplant, homemade hot and mild Italian sausages, and even clams and garlic for a New Haven-style treat. If you need a little greenery, broccoli comes both chilled with olive and lemon and pan-roasted with chile flakes. 

Amici-s East Coast Pizzeria - white clam pizza

8. Sunset Squares Pizza

Chef Dennis Lee calls his square pies “Detroit-ish,” meaning he uses a blend of Italian cheeses and a three-day cold-fermented sourdough starter. He also makes thin, Chicago-style pub pies as well as classic round pizzas with the same great dough. Go for the inspired mashups and try a square pie with mapo tofu and pickled turnips or a round one with bulgogi beef and kimchi.

9. Seniore's Pizza

This small local chain, with outlets throughout the Bay Area, is where you go for the kind of pizza you’ve loved since you were a kid — a pie with a sturdy crust and a generous hand with the toppings. Honestly, there’s no beating the house special, with double pepperoni, sausage, salami, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and fresh tomatoes. Get a couple of them, and you’ll be back at a fifth-grade sleepover watching a scary movie. 

Seniore's Pizza - seniores special

10. Casey’s Pizza 

You’ve got to love a pizzeria that understands its customers so well it uses two different pepperonis. Bay Area gourmets will gravitate to the fresh-tasting pie with Zoe’s Meats artisan pepperoni from Petaluma. Pizza mavens, however, might opt for the East Coast Pie, with Ezzo pepperoni that crisps up into little red oil-filled cups in the oven. You want light? Get the pie topped with arugula and lemon juice. You want some rib-sticking? The Hot Pie comes with plenty of cherry peppers and garlic. 

11. The Pizza Shop 

East Coast transplants say this is the pizza they’ve been searching for. Order the largest pie you can, and you’ll be rewarded with slices that are the ideal size for folding over, New York-style. Is that too much pizza? Nope. Remember, there’s always breakfast tomorrow.

the pizza shop - pepperoni mushroom

12. SF Hole in the Wall Pizza 

If your family is like most, everyone has an opinion. You might want a slice of chicken pesto pizza and a salad, while your honey might crave pepperoni, and your kids perhaps haven’t outgrown chicken fingers. Rest assured that you can get all of this and more: any pizza you want by the slice, plus wings, cheeseburgers, and a bowl of nothing but meatballs. When you’re ordering from SF Hole in the Wall, everyone gets what they want, and everyone is happy. 

13. Gioia Pizzeria

This Hayes Valley spinoff of a much-loved Berkeley pizzeria is very much a restaurant in its own right, with many dishes unique to this menu but with the same focus on local, organic, handmade ingredients. The Julian pie with housemade Calabrian sausage, kale, red onion, garlic, and chili flakes might be your new favorite. And if you like to dip your pizza in ranch, try the homemade buttermilk version here. 

14. Roma Antica 

The pies at this full-service Italian restaurant aren’t pizzas but pinsas – oval-shaped flatbreads made with a mixture of wheat, rice and soy flours that are all the rage in Rome, renowned for their easy digestibility. The one with stracciatella cheese, pesto, arugula, and prosciutto tastes bright and fresh, while the Diavola with spicy soppressata, stracchino cheese, and tomato sauce has more heft. 

roma antica - prosciutto pizza

15. Ketosis

It isn’t every pizzeria that’s named after a metabolic pathway but, hey, this is San Francisco. At this (obviously) keto-friendly shop, the crisp crust is only 2.5 carbs per slice, made from shredded chicken, eggs and parmesan. It’s surprisingly appealing pies and the sides are inspired, especially the bacon-creamed spinach. There’s also a fantastic selection of keto desserts; rest assured, none involve chicken. 

16. Irving Pizza

The pizza at this Geary St. spot is no muss, no fuss, just big ol’ pies generously topped with good things. You may want pepperoni, marble-sized crumbles of juicy sausage, black olives, green peppers, and more time-tested toppings. If you want something a little more swank, the No Hangover Special adds fresh corn, basil, and jalapeños to the mix.  

17. Capo’s

Located in the heart of North Beach, Capo’s may look like a classic SF Italian joint, but in fact, it celebrates the distinctive pizza culture of the Midwest. In addition to square-cut Detroit pies, it offers the types of pizza generally found in Chicago: deep dish and stuffed-crust pizzas, plus the cracker crust of a tavern-style pie. That’s where Capo’s truly shines. Try the spicy Deville, and order some chicken wings on the side. 

18. Golden Boy Pizza 

This North Beach staple has long lines snaking out the door, as good a reason as any for delivery. The square-cut pan pizzas travel well, arriving with their ooey-gooey cheese toppings and sturdy crusts intact. One fan likens it to a Platonic version of Pizza Hut pan pizza, which we see as the highest compliment. The clam and garlic pizza is a Bay Area icon, and if you haven’t tried it, you need to rectify that stat. 

golden boy pizza - clam

19. Giorgio’s Pizzeria 

While this 40-year-old stalwart in the Richmond District refurbishes its dining room, fans can still order takeout and delivery off its seemingly endless menu. Both the pizzas and calzones range in size from individual to invite-the-whole-team. The XL Rossi calzone – with its lush filling of spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, and ricotta – is like having the world’s best artichoke dip for dinner. Whatever you land on, order sides of meatballs and chile-garlic Broccoli G-Style for the table, so everyone gets their protein and veggies.

20. Cauliflower Pizza 

The name says it all. The gluten-free crusts at this health-conscious pizzeria are made with everyone’s favorite crucifer. Take it a step further and order the vegan version of any of the pizzas, covered in Daiya mozzarella style shreds. Since you’ve been virtuous, there’s a fine selection of marshmallow-puffed rice treats and cookies for dessert. 

21. Gusto Pinsa Romana 

Here is one of the first U.S. restaurants to serve pinsa Romana a style of pizza that has grown popular in Europe and Asia. These oblong flatbread crusts contain a mixture of wheat, soy, and rice flour, resulting in a one-of-a-kind texture that’s extra crisp on the outside and fluffy within. Excellent toppings range from buffalo mozzarella to San Daniele prosciutto. There’s even a vegan option. 

Gusto Pinsa Romana - diavola

22. Bizza

What’s a bizza? For starters, it’s one of the many excellent pies to be found in Upper Haight. It’s also, according to owner Sam Husary, an Eastern Mediterranean way of pronouncing pizza. Look for fresh za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice mixture comprising sesame, marjoram, and salt) flecking the thin crusts, and then think of all your favorite flavors from a gyro shop pizza-fied. The Lamb Bizza holds gyro meat, feta cheese, and tzatziki, while the Falafel Bizza has those great chickpea fritters with tahini, pickles, and a drizzle of hot sauce. But there are plenty more familiar toppings, too. 

23. Arinell 

Everyone knows this 30-something-year-old restaurant is where you go for a late-night slice to feel like you’re in New York. But it’s also the no-frills pizza you want to order in. All pizzas come custom-topped, and for the true New York experience, order the large so you can fold the slice before you eat it. Sicilian pizzas, too. 

24. Apizza 

This fast-food pizza option skimps on the price, not the ingredients. Organic sprouted-wheat dough, organic tomatoes, and Mary’s Free Range Chicken all grace these 10-inch pies that cost about the same as a Whopper. The BBQ chicken and pepperoni pizzas are popular, but for a buck or two more, try the Forestiere, with mushrooms, roasted potato, caramelized onions, mascarpone, and thyme. 

25. Pizza Squared 

The choice is yours. You can order any of the pan pizzas on the menu Detroit style or Sicilian style. The former has high, crackly cheddar cheese edges, while the latter is baked in duck fat, which gives the fluffy, well-risen dough an extra crisp and flavorful crust. The caramelized onion pie, with Gruyère cheese and garlic-ricotta cream, is the most popular, but this restaurant nails the more out-there options like Thai curry chicken or bulgogi meatball kimchi. 

26. Napoli Pizza 

This easy-to-miss slice shop does a big business that belies its small size. The pizzas come in 12-, 14-, 16-, and 18-inch sizes, and while the toppings don’t get any crazier than, say, pineapple on the Hawaiian, they always hit the spot. This is the place from which to order a stack of boxes for a party or just a couple slices for a quiet night. 

Napoli Pizza - fresh mozzarella slice

27. Presidio Pizza Company 

 It’s all about classic American comfort at this 10-year-old spot — thin-crust pies with the toppings you’ve loved since you were a kid staring down your first slice. Everyone loves the Widowmaker, which comes with all the meats — and then more meat. Or try the vegan Garden Pizza, a colorful, cheese-free option with arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and black olives.

Presidio Pizza Company - garden pizza

Author

Caviar Staff

Caviar Staff

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