Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
211 23rd Ave. (between California St. & Clement St.)
San Francisco 94121
Pluses: Exquisite thin-crusted pizza baked to perfection
Minuses: Waits can be extremely long
Don't Miss: Farmhouse pizza topped with a farm-fresh egg, sunny side up
Overview: Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday
This place finally puts to rest the argument that there is no good pizza on the West Coast. The delightfully thin, slightly chewy crust ever so lightly charred by the wood fired oven is good enough to make even born-and-bred East-Coasters weak in the knees. But fresh, seasonal, mostly organic and mostly local toppings remind you, of course, that you’re in California not New Haven, Connecticut. Butter-colored walls, wooden tables and chairs, and bud vases filled with sprigs of wild flowers give the small room a homey feel; a tiny television in the bathroom playing a video loop of scenes of Venice adds a charming touch of Italy.
The pizza selection changes daily, with the Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil pizza—exquisite in its simplicity—the only constant. There are usually four or five other inventive combinations from which to choose. The sheep’s milk cheese, pine nuts, and rosemary pizza is rich and herby. Manchego with arugula and roasted potatoes is sublimely earthy. The prosciutto, arugula and fontina topped with a sunny side up egg will make you feel like you’re in Rome. Salads are pleasant if unremarkable and the small wine list offers a selection of decent and inexpensive Italian wines. Service can be brusque and the wait for a table excruciatingly long, but one bite of the masterful pizza and it will all seem worth it.