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Pizza in the Richmond (SF): Gaspare’s and Nizario’s

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Pizza in the Richmond (SF): Gaspare’s and Nizario’s

Melanie Wong | May 1, 2005 08:51 PM

During our time in the Richmond, I had a chance to try some of the ‘hound pizza favorites. I was favorably impressed with a take-out pepperoni pizza from Giorgio’s reported on earlier (link below). Next up were eat-ins from Gaspare’s and Nizario’s.

Gaspare’s (http://www.gasparespizza.com/) is only open for dinner and offers a full menu beyond pizza. The jukebox loaded with oldies and listening to Frank, Tony, and Dino croon the standards were the best part of my meal. Though I hadn’t ordered my pepperoni pie well-done as some have recommended, it came out “well” and then some. The first bite from the tip of each slice was about right, and the rest of the very thin crust from that point on was way too tough and the dark brown-colored but not blackened rim was too hard to try to chew. The crust had little flavor of its own. The cheese was thoroughly browned and had denatured so that it was just plain hard and not chewy or stringy. Its effect was mostly as a coat of shellac. Since it had mostly dried up, I can’t really comment on the sauce much other than to say that it was very salty, overstewed and too low in acidity. Strangely, the slices of pepperoni didn’t burn. I didn’t have time to send this mess back as I was in a hurry that night. I’m sure this wasn’t Gaspare’s typical product, so I can’t really judge the pizza here.

The Geary location of Nizario’s Pizza (http://www.nizariospizza.com/) is just a hole-in-the-wall doing mostly delivery business, but it does have a counter with a few stools if you want to sit down with a slice. I liked watching the pizza maker stretch the rounds of dough and then poke ‘em full of holes. The crust here is kinda thick and bready. Yet it’s airy and chewy, and has great yeasty flavor development and the right amount of salt to make it taste so good. I loved the pesto special that has pesto sauce and mozz topped with a pile of raw spinach leaves and a sprinkle of tangy feta cheese. Heated to wilting rather than cooked through, the spinach is like having a fresh salad on top of your pizza. One slice was enough for lunch. The pesto had a more intense and purer basil flavor than other pizza joints offer and a nice freshness to it. One edge of the slice had some of the tomato sauce from the combo on the other half of the pie. As it was overly seasoned with dried herbs, I don’t think I’ll be ordering any of the pizzas with tomato sauce based on that sampling. But I thoroughly enjoyed the pesto pie.

In comparison to these two, the pie from Giorgio’s would be my pick, even as take-out. Sure, I would like the crust to be thinner, but the freshness of the sauce and the balance with the cheese made it a stand-out.

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