Pizza is one of my favorite foods savory sauce, chewy crust, smoky cheesy heaven Mmmm. And Pizza, like ribs is one of our great egalitarian eats: go to any good pizza joint and you'll find doctors and lawyers rubbing elbows with students and construction workers. You'll also find that the best pizza often originates from a shack, as does most good BBQ. Perhaps it's the lack of pretension and focus on one specific food group, but the best pizza places that I've found so far in San Diego definitely fit the shack category. Now, I realize that when you evaluate pizza everyone has opinions as to what the shape, crust depth and texture should be like, but aside from these architectural differences I'm going to focus on the important common denominators of taste, freshness and mouth feel. BTW, according to a national pizza marketing group (hey, pizza is big business) the flavor profile of pizza breaks down as follows: the crust provides 6 percent of the overall flavor, while cheese contributes 21 percent. Toppings account for 32 percent and sauce accounts for 41 percent. Also, taking into consideration that I've only lived in SD for a short time, and that I can only eat so much pizza, this is just the beginning of my quest :-). Please join in the fun and point me to your favorite pizza. Anyway, here are the results so far (I'm only reporting the good stuff since there is such an abundance of pedestrian pizza, especially in Little Italy where I live).
Bronx Pizza, 111 Washington Street, 619.291.3341
The best pizza that I've found so far. Whole pies are one size fits all (18), slices are two for five dollars including a soda. This is New York style thin crust pizza at its very best hand tossed, home made sauce, real mozzarella cheese, quality toppings. Bite into a crisp slice and let the tangy sauce do it's job as the cheese and toppings meld into a mouthful of flavors. It's also fun to sit at one of the small tables and watch the never ending parade of pizza devotees wait for their slices as the crew turns out pie after pie in perfect precision. Most pies are around $17. My favorite pie here is the veggie.
Pizzeria Luigi, 1137 25th Street, 619.233.3309
Runs a close second to Bronx. Luigi used to work at Bronx, and the pie size and slice deals are the same. So is the pizza category: thin crust New York style with real cheese and fresh toppings. In my opinion, Luigi's toppings offer more variety including fresh spinach, and the sauce is also very good. The crust, although tasty, just doesn't have the the same crispness as Bronx it's more of a fold up style, but some folks may prefer Luigi's over Bronx. Most pies are around $17. My favorite pie here is the Michelangelo.
City Pizzeria, 1125 6th Ave (between B&C), 619.531.0955
Another shack that turns out a great pie. Although the crust does not possess the ethereal lightness of a Bronx pie, its wonderful none the less tasty, slightly thicker, crispy yet chewy. Very good sauce, quality toppings and real cheese. And the City includes a $2 off coupon with every pizza which brings the cost of an 18 pie to around $15.00 a bargain. They also offer a smaller 16. My favorite pie here is, once again, the veggie.
In the near future I hope to visit Pizzeria Arrivederci, Cafe Zucchero, Sammy's Woodfire Pizza and Pizza Nova. A couple of other notes: my favorite pies are vegetarian based since I don't eat meat, however I solicited the opinions of several carnivores who vouched for the quality of the meat toppings. I almost always specify light cheese which seems to go down easier since my wife and I usually consume an entire 18 pie.