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