That’s why we went hard (and up a dress size, thank you very much) to bring you this taste-tested and carb-lover-approved guide to the best pizza in the Bay. In true S.F. fashion, the ingredients are fresh, homemade, and local (read: better than what all of those other towns offer!) and each pizza joint is truly worthy of a prized place on our list. Take a look and get ready for a taste-bud explosion — in the best way possible, of course.
Zero Zero, $9.95 to $17.50
With pies named after the streets of S.F., this “Calipolitan” pizza is super thin and features a crispy crust topped with artichokes (Lombard), mushrooms (Fillmore), asparagus (Stockton), clams (Geary) and sausage (Castro, obvi). While we encourage you to fill up on pizza while you’re here, we feel like we'd be doing you a disservice if we didn't tell you to save room. There is a make-it-yourself sundae dessert. Um, yum! Just don’t let the table next to you hear you squeal.
Zero Zero, 826 Folsom Street (between 4th and 5th streets); 415-348-8800.
Ragazza, $13 to $18
As the Divisadero corridor continues to heat up, new-ish pizza place Ragazza has secured its spot on this up-and-coming hood’s must-eat list. Tucked into a cozy storefront, this Italian resto du jour serves up classic Neapolitan, our new fave. We’re talking thin pizza with a scrumptious puffy crust loaded with interesting foodie toppings — including pork belly, smoked bacon, and pancetta. If the weather is on your side, try to score a spot on the back patio.
Ragazza, 311 Divisadero Street (between Page and Oak streets); 415-255-1133.
Pauline’s Pizza, $14 to $26
In true Bay Area style, this real-deal pizzeria has two farms just outside the city where it grows its own ingredients. The thin-crust pizzas have been a Mission favorite for over twenty years. Want to get a little boozy before dinner? Don’t worry — it has its very own wine bar attached. Extra cool points in our book. Oh, and did we mention it has vegan pizzas available? This is S.F., after all.
Pauline’s Pizza, 260 Valencia Street (between 14th and Duboce streets); 415-552-2050.
Una Pizza Napoletana, $20 to $25
Now we don’t want to play favorites here, but what goes down at this gorgeous, warehouse-like SoMa eatery is definitely something special. Every morning chef and owner Anthony Mangieri makes a batch of naturally leavened dough that should be considered carb-crack. This place is all business and focuses on creating five tasty simple pies with variations on the same basic ingredients and no sides. On Saturday, it throws an Apollonia pie in the mix with some salami and egg. It keeps going until the dough is all gone and once it’s out, it’s out, so we suggest you get there pronto for your fix.
Una Pizza Napoletana, 210 11th Street (between Howard and Folsom streets); 415-861-3444.
Photo: Courtesy Of Sonya Yu/Zero Zero
Boot and Shoe Service, $10 to $22
Pizzaiolo’s sister restaurant, Boot and Shoe Service, does not mess around (or take reservations), but it is an East Bay go-to for amazing pies, so be sure to get there on the early side. While the menu changes on the reg, a consistency here is a perfectly salted crust. The margherita pizza is palette pleasing and boasts a scrumptious sauce that may be reminiscent of a childhood favorite. Spaghetti-O’s perhaps? Whatever it is, it’s perfection. Another seasonal favorite is the squash-laden pie topped with garlic, parsley, and grana. It’s a taste explosion!
Boot and Shoe Service, 3308 Grand Avenue (between Lake Park and Santa Clara avenues), Oakland; 510-763-2268.
Pizzaiolo, $14 to $18
If there’s one place you’ll find us on any given day — it’s Pizzaiolo. The charming, cozy atmosphere and authentic eats are right up our alley. The pies are cooked in a wood oven (visible to the dining room) where they undergo extreme heat (750 degrees!). The consistency is thick and lush without crossing over to soggy city. With pizzas topped with rapini, sausage, potato, pancetta, summer squash, Manila clams, and porcini mushrooms — it's no wonder this place is the darling of the East Bay food community. The bocce-ball court doesn’t hurt though.
Pizzaiolo, 5008 Telegraph Avenue (between 49th and 51st streets), Oakland; 510-652-4888.
Beretta, $10 to $16
Super scene-y Mission spot Beretta has a plethora of modern pizzas on the menu that, unless you get a reservation or come early, you may never be able to taste. But, we promise, it is worth the wait. With super-fresh ingredients and new takes on old classics, the crispy thin-crust pies are crafted with love and care. For cheese fiends, the white pizza with sliver-thin potato, rosemary, and gorgonzola is absolutely divine, and the spot's fresh burrata version (as a substitute for the classic margherita) is a must-try.
Beretta, 1199 Valencia Street (between 22nd and 23rd streets); 415-695-1199.
Emilia’s Pizzeria, $18
This quirky, cute, and under-the-radar East Bay spot serves up build-your-own New York-style pizza. Many say it’s as close to East Coast as you can find in the Bay Area with a focus on the fine details such as sauce, cheese ratio, and a light crust. If you're planning to call in an order or pop by for a pie, be sure to give yourself plenty of time — Emilia’s eats are in pretty high demand most evenings (and rightfully so).
Emilia’s Pizzeria, 2995 Shattuck Avenue (between Russell Street and Ashby Avenue), Berkeley; 510-704-1794.
Photographed by Anthony Tafoya
Pizetta 211, $10 to $15
An Inner Richmond gem, Pizetta 211 feels like its own little private nook (four tables inside, four bar seats, and three outdoor tables) on 23rd Avenue. The cool young owner uses simple local ingredients and switches up the menu on Wednesdays. The tomato, mozzarella, basil pizza is drizzled with fresh olive oil and is to die for with filling that goes all the way to the edge — usually a rarity in the pizza world. You can also get a fresh farm egg added to any pizza. So go ahead, put an egg on it!
Pizetta 211, 211 23rd Avenue (between California and Clement streets); 415-379-9880.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, $15 to $39
This well-known pizzeria in the heart of Little Italy in North Beach has some serious clout. Owner Tony Gemignani has won international accolades (um, eleven times!) for being the best of the best when it comes to making pies. With over twelve different types of pizza styles spanning the globe from California to Detroit (we’re talking extremely deep dish here) to New York and all the way back to Italy. Although we think it's wise to endure the hour-long wait for a table, note that there's also a Tony's slice house next door with a super-limited menu for those in a rush.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, 1570 Stockton Street (at Union Street); 415-835-9888.
Flour + Water, $14 to $17
The chefs at Mission hotspot Flour + Water know a thing or two about dough (have you had those pastas?), so it's only fitting they pump out some prized pizzas. Like most places, the pies change daily but you can always count on interesting, seasonal ingredients piled high upon a chewy crust that delights your taste buds — with just enough crisp. While it may be hard to land a table during prime business hours without a reservation, we say ditch your no-carbs-after-8 p.m. rule and head over around 10 p.m. to avoid the crowds.
Flour + Water, 2401 Harrison Street (at 20th Street); 415-826-7000.
The Pizza Place, $16.50 to $27
Set deep in the Outer Sunset, this surfer haven will evoke memories of a pizzeria you had a birthday party at as a kid. It’s the kind of place where regulars know your name. No frills here, just good, solid pies made with love. Remember the scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Spicoli gets a pizza delivered during class? We’re pretty sure it came from this place.
The Pizza Place, 3901 Noriega Street (between 46th and 47th streets); 415-759-5752.
Photographed by Christine Ting
Little Star, $19 to $24
If one pizza on this list is taunting you and saying, “Don’t worry about bikini season, live life on the edge,” this is it. And it is worth every single calorie. The famous deep-dish pie is indulgent, loaded with cheese, sauce, and as thick as the dickens. Order the namesake Little Star with spinach, mushrooms, ricotta, and feta. You won’t be sorry.
Little Star Pizza, 846 Divisadero Street (between Fulton and McAllister streets); 415-441-1118. 400 Valencia Street (at 15th Street); 415-551-7827.
Arizmendi Bakery, $2.25
Not hungry for a whole pie? Grab an always-vegetarian slice at employee-owned-and-operated, neighborhood gem Arizmendi. The slice option changes daily (check the website for what’s coming up in the oven). We love anywhere you can hit sweet and savory in one swoop for under five bucks. Bonus points: They give you a little extra sliver of pizza with every slice. Score!
Arizmendi Bakery, 1331 9th Avenue (between Irving and Judah streets); 415-566-3117. 1268 Valencia Street (between 23rd and 24th streets); 415-826.9218.
The Cheese Board Collective, $2.50
At Arizmendi’s sister restaurant, The Cheese Board Collective, the model is pretty much the same with one vegetarian pizza per day, but this slice is served up with tunes! The East Bay’s beloved artisanal sourdough pizza joint features live local music for lunch and dinner. This makes waiting in the sometimes-crazy line that much more enjoyable.
The Cheese Board Collective, 1504 Shattuck Avenue (between Cedar and Vine streets), Berkeley; 510-549-3183.
Pizzeria Picco, $9.95 to $17.50
Tapping into the Bay Area’s locavore love, chef Bruce Hill is taking no prisoners in Marin with his irresistible Neopolitan pizzas. The ingredients, including the freshly pulled mozzarella, are sourced from local farms. An avid cyclist, Hill named most of his pies after bikes — like the Cannondale which is made with sausage, peppers, roasted onion, mozzarella, and basil or the Surly comprised of Hog Island clams, tomato sauce, garlic, soppressata, pecorino, parsley, and Calabrian chili.
Pizzeria Picco, 316 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur (at Kings Street); 415-945-8900.
Photographed by Christine Ting
Club Deluxe, $16 to $20
You’d never guess from the nondescript exterior of this low-profile Haight Street lounge that inside is a dimly lit adult playground filled with live jazz, freshly squeezed cocktails, and delectable handmade pizza. In the back of the house, pizza master Giovanni is hard at work creating his signature Neapolitan pies featuring fresh tomatoes, Italian meat and cheeses, and roasted cloves of garlic. While this is definitely a great date spot, we recommend waiting until the third or fourth. You're welcome.
Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight Street (between Ashbury and Clayton streets); 415-552-6949.
Gioia, $3 to $25
Pronounced "joy-a," this Berkeley family favorite is the neighborhood go-to for slices. And S.F. folks rejoice — it just opened its doors in Russian Hill! Like any normal pizzeria, you will find cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and some sort of mushroom option on the menu as mainstays. Meanwhile, the seasonal influences set the tone for its specialty pies. Major cute factor: The married owners named a pie Julian after their son and the ingredients change every couple of months, depending on his temperament!
Gioia, 1586 Hopkins Street (between McGee and Monterey avenues), Berkeley; 510-528-4692. 2240 Polk Street (between Vallejo and Green streets) San Francisco; 415-359-0971.
Zachary’s, $15.40 to $29.25
It’s no secret that East Bay favorite Zachary’s hallmark Chicago-style stuffed pizza is good, since it has been lauded by every major player in the food world. We’d say it’s even worth S.F.er’s making the trip across the Bay. While you wait for your stuffed pizza (for up to 40 minutes), you can ogle at all the interesting art that sprinkles the wall that customers just like you made! Wait, did we mention the pizza is stuffed?
Zachary’s, 5801 College Avenue (between Birch Court and Chabot Road), Oakland; 510-655-6385. 1853 Solano Avenue (between Colusa and Fresno avenues), Berkeley; 510-525-5950.
Pizzeria Delfina, $10.75 to $17
The perpetually packed Delfina is obviously doing something right. At the Mission's bustling epicenter of 18th and Guerrero (who knows, it probably created the epicenter!), this joint kills it nightly both in its restaurant and bordering pizzeria, so much so that the owners had to open a second location in Pacific Heights. With six pies on the menu and two rotating specialty pizzas, the Italian favorites with a California spin never seem to go out of style.
Pizzeria Delfina, 3611 18th Street (between Guerrero and Dolores streets); 415-437-6800. 2406 California Street (between Fillmore and Steiner streets); 415-440-1189.
Golden Boy Pizza, $2.75 to $3.75
S.F. institution Golden Boy has been slinging Sicilian slices at its North Beach counter for over thirty years. The thick, greasy, sinister squares come in cheese, pepperoni, sausage, clam and garlic, pesto, combination, and veggie options. And it's open late on Fridays and Saturdays for the after-bar crowd. Your hangover will thank us. Your waistline may not.
Golden Boy Pizza, 542 Green Street (between Columbus and Grant avenues); 415-982-9738.
Photo: Courtesy Of Cafe Deluxe