Framed reviews from newspapers and Gourmet Magazine are on the walls of the most non-descript bare-bone pizza joint in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Richmond.
Rosana Brito who owned Porto Brazil in Kensington opened S.F. Pizza in Richmond on MacDonald near FoodsCo in 1999. The accolades were for the Brazilian dishes at the Kensington restaurant.
Unless you know to ask, no one at the restaurant tells you about the Brazilian food.
Sadly, they seem to be phasing out the Brazilian dishes. They no longer serve the acclaimed feijoda, though it is still on the menu. However, when you order the pizza or pasta from the flyer that looks like every other chain-type pizza flyer keep in mind the background of this family-run restaurant.
Early in my career, I was told by a well-renowned computer icon to read technical manuals like love letters, scrutinizing them and reading between the lines. That was excellent advice. Im now beginning to think that is how to read restaurant menus.
There are the usual pizza combos but if you look closely there is a Brazilian pizza - Frango con catupiri Catupirii (Brazilian soft cheese like cream cheese), marinated chicken, tomatoes and hearts of palm.
A few items down is Portuguese pizza Salami, linguica, green olives, onions, sliced hard-boiled eggs and virgin olive oil.
There are little notes like the sauce is house-made and the herbs (oregano, thyme, basil & rosemary) are fresh. Thats when reading between the lines starts and perhaps it is time to ask questions like do you have any other Portuguese or Brazilian dishes on the menu?
Dr. Biggles recent review on an x-tudo at East Bay Pizza inspired me to order this Brazilian sandwich today. Dr. Biggles picture at the end of this post is a picture of the East Bay Pizza x-tudo.
It is an x-tudo jr. compared to SF Pizza which is a super-sized x-tudo.
The bun is like the old Burger King Whopper bun when it really did take two hands to eat a Whopper.
It is five inches across and between those sesame-seed buns --- a hamburger (or chicken breast for those on diets), bacon, hot dog, corn, peas, pineapple, fried egg, melted cheese, lettuce, onions, tomato and shoestring potatoes. To bring the flavors together there are packets of mayo and catsup. While it is a fine sandwich on its own, the mayo/catsup brings it to another level.
It is a hefty burger too; Im guessing 1/2 pound worth of meat. You wouldnt think pineapple would work in all this, but it added nice sweet notes even with the fried egg there actually might have been two eggs in there and two hot dogs.
The bacon was thick chopped pieces. There was a little of everything and not too much, with a surprise and different flavor combo in every bite. Ive had the East Bay Pizza x-tudo too a few months ago. I liked that the East Bay Pizza x-tudo had more canned fries and had a better presentation, however I give the edge to San Francisco Pizza for taste.
Ive figured out how Brazilians always look so young and fit while eating this type of food. They must all die young. Eat delicious, die young. Sounds like a plan to me. Better than chugging Ensure later in life.
Ask for the Brazilian menu and there is
Costela de porco assada pork ribs roasted with seasonings and spices.
Frango au moiho com pequi ou quinbo sautéed chicken with choice of saffron sauce with pequi or okra.
Stroganoff de frango our carne chicken or beef in a pink cream sauce with mushrooms and tomatoes.
Acebilado De bife ou peite de frango beef or chicken sautéed with garlic and onions
Brazilian desserts include pudim and bolo de chocolate. They were out of those today.
Im not sure of what part of Brazil the owners come from but this article from the El Cerrito Wire says that In El Cerrito most of the Brazilians come from Goias but in New York, its mostly people from Minas; but there are also Brazilians in El Cerrito from other regions [not just Goias].
I visited another local pizzeria with an extensive menu called Americana. The link below to the post on Americana Pizza has the same selection (excluding the Mexican items).
SF Pizza has some additional interesting pizza combos and dishes.
I had to giggle when I read the ingredients in this pizza, because it really is love if you eat this with another person and can stand to be with each other.
Love connection - Pepperoni, salami, American bacon, mushrooms, red onion, jalapeños, black olives, feta cheese and fresh garlic.
There are 8 types of cheese and 38 other items including pastrami available. There are also deep dish pizzas in two sizes - medium and tombstone (ok, I made that last one up. large)
Here are a few more interesting pizza combos
Gourmet chicken special - Pesto sauce, marinated chicken, artichoke hearts, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh garlic.
Richmond BBQ chicken special - BBQ chicken, corn, roasted red bell pepper, jalapeños, red onions, green onions, cheddar cheese, feta cheese.
Chefs house special roasted ranch garlic sauce, marinated chicken, green onions, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes
Seafood special clam, shrimp, salmon, fresh garlic and fresh thyme.
As far as the Italian menu, they have everything that Americana Pizza has and more.
They have a Heart salad hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, carrots, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and pepperoncini on a bed of lettuce
Veal is on the menu: Parmigiana, milanese , picatta, saltimbocca, scaloppini
As well as all the chicken dishes on the Americana menu there is fried chicken, chicken rosemary, cacciatore and chicken supreme chicken breast sautéed with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and onions in cream sauce then baked with mozzarella cheese.
There are three house-made lasagnas: vegetarian, meat and chicken. There is also gnocchi and tortellini.
Additional sandwiches are pastrami, chicken pesto and chicken breast with fresh rosemary.
In addition to the Brazilian desserts there is cheese cake and tiramisu.
Next door to SF Pizza are a Chinese take-out and a Mexican take-out. They dont look like much but I havent read the menus I picked up yet like love letters.
San Francisco Pizza
Chef owned and family operated since 1999
1190 Macdonald Ave
Richmond, CA 94801
Open 365 days
Sun-Thu: 10am-11 pm
Fri-Sat: 10am-2 am
Richmond, Pt. Richmond, Marina Bay, El Cerrito, Albany, Kensington, North Berkeley, El Sobrante, Hilltop and Tara Hills, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules, Rodeo
This link is to a post about American Pizza which has almost the same selection. The picture of the East Bay Pizza x-tudo is courtesy of Dr. Biggles and a link to his review is at the end of the Americana post.
Keep in mind, the SF Pizza x-tudo is larger.