SF Pizza Tour Stop #6: Little Star

On a recent, lazy weekday night my dad, sister and I headed to Little Star on Divisadero St. for some late-night pizza. I had had Little Star before, but only take-out. The pizza was quite good. We were not extremely impressed, however, (it’s hard to compare to my recent experience at Una Pizza) and we left with take-out boxes in hand – not able and not especially wanting to finish the entirety of the pies we ordered.

The scene:

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The simple mixed salad:Image

The Brass Monkey (technically not on the menu, but it is basically the Little Star deep-dish + sausage):Image

We enjoyed the sweetness of the tomatoes in the Brass Monkey (loved the spinach with ricotta and feta and crunchy onions!), but we were disappointed by the sparse amount of sausage.

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The White Pie – garlic olive oil base, mozzarella, roasted zucchini, fresh tomatoes, feta:ImageMy dad and I quite enjoyed the White Pie though my sister thought it was too cheesy. I loved the idea and loved the zucchini on the pie, but again, I wish there was more.

Overall, a solid pizza joint and I would definitely hit up Little Star for some late-night take-out, but I would not expect a spectacular pie.

Little Star Pizza

846 Divisadero St.

San Francisco, CA 94123

(415)441-1118

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SF Pizza Tour Stop #5: Una Pizza Napoletana

Una Pizza Napoletana is not your typical restaurant. The exterior and interior do not look particularly welcoming. The menu only has pizza – and only five (or six, on Saturdays) kinds of similar, simple pizzas. Each pizza is $22. The hours are also non-conventional; they open at 5 PM and close when they are out of dough.

For some one who has never been to Una Pizza, the uniqueness of the establishment borders on pretentiousness. As I sat down, staring at the menu, I thought to myself: “This better be good pizza.”

And it was.

With the first bite of dough in my mouth, I knew that I had gone to pizza heaven.

The place:

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The pizzas are baked in this oven, which does not look like your conventional pizza oven either. Anthony Mangieri makes the pizza dough, forms it into pizzas, tops them with fresh ingredients, and bakes them himself. Talk about a one-man show.

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The dough is made using natural leavening, and my first bite revealed the fluffy, chewy, glorious-ness that is Una Pizza crust. The texture is indescribable. The crust is soft to the touch. The crust is also flavorful and salted, but by no means overpowering. I would come here even for a pizza without any toppings. Just pizza dough.

The pizzas:

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The Bianca – buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, sea salt (no tomatoes, white) – subtly garlicky and nice:

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The Ilaria – smoked mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt (fresh tomatoes, no sauce). The combination of the smoked mozzarella and the charred bottom of the pizza gave the Ilaria an unmistakable smoky taste that was cut by the refreshing cherry tomatoes.

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There are rumors that Mangieri may be moving, and this establishment would not exist without him. I hope not, this is my new favorite pizza place.

Una Pizza Napoletana

210 11th St (between Howard St & Kissling St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

SF Pizza Tour Stop #4: Gialina Pizzeria

I am a firm believer in the crowd rule. If you don’t know where to eat – follow the crowd. This especially applies in San Francisco where the majority of residents moonlight as food critics and five-year-old natives use the term “umami” along side “sweet” and “sour.”

After hearing the name “Gialina’s” thrown around a few times by companions who lived in the area, I decided to venture to the pizzeria for dinner one night with a friend. We arrived at a peak dining hour and had to wait almost an hour (crowd rule).

It was a Monday night.

We split the Amatriciana – tomato, pancetta, chilies, a farm egg & pecorino:

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The Amatriciana was a bit too flavorful for my taste. All the flavors were very loud – the yolk, the chiles, the pecorino. They all competed against each other instead of cooperating with each other. We ate the whole pie, but I would say it was good not excellent. The crust was extremely thin and extremely crunchy.

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But THIS is the real reason why we came to Gialinia’s. Their infamous Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Pizza w/ Amaretti & mascarpone:

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Think the idea of a dessert pizza is weird? Try it first.

It was beyond delicious…positively delectable.

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Mmmmmmm….

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Gialina

2842 Diamond St  San Francisco, CA 94131

(415) 239-8500

SF Pizza Tour Stop #3: Zero Zero

The first time I went to Zero Zero a few years ago, I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, because it is so far from where I live, I don’t get there very often. The restaurant itself is quite large and can seat many. As a result, it is much easier to get into than many other pizza places in San Francisco. You can walk in and sit down without much of a wait, and reservations are often available only a few days in advance.

My favorite thing about Zero Zero is the crust of their pizzas. As the name of the restaurant would suggest, the crust is unique in that they use zero zero flour. The crust of the pizza manages to be thin while maintaining its chew.

I most recently went to Zero Zero for a very quick bite before a Giants game. We shared two dishes. Both were delightful and quickly scarfed down (we ate in less than 40 minutes).

The slow-cooked pork belly with roman style dumplings, crispy broccoli, poached egg, and harissa. Although pork belly has now been done a million ways and then some, everything on this plate together created a perfect combination of flavors. If there had been one more item on the plate it would have been too many flavors. One less, and the all the flavors wouldn’t have been complete. Needless to say, it was quite good and the combination of flavors and textures were quite complex.

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The special pizza of the day – a white pizza with soppressata, carmelized onions, dried oregano, shishito peppers, mozzarella, and grana padano. The combination of the carmelized onions and shishito peppers gave the pizza a surprisingly sweet taste.photo 5

Zero Zero

826 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA 94107

(415)348-8800

San Francisco Pizza Tour Stop #2: Pizzetta 211

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Ask me what my favorite pizza place is, and here’s my answer: Pizzetta 211.

Pizzetta has always felt like my neighborhood secret, four tables tucked away in a cozy restaurant in the Richmond District of San Francisco. This is where I would go as a child to celebrate a good grade in Math or a good job on the soccer field. While the setting is cozy and conjures good memories for me, the pure excellence of their pizzas is the reason why Pizzetta is my favorite. The crust is thin, but not too burnt or crunchy, the ingredients are always fresh, and the flavors and options are always delicious (the menu changes weekly). I always get their pizzas topped with a farm-fresh egg. As for non pizza options, the field green salad and daily cheeseboard are great ways to start, and if you still have room, the housemade flourless chocolate cake is delicious. Be warned, however: tables fill up fast and a line outside is a daily occurrence. Because Pizzetta 211 is so small, it can only accommodate a few parties (there are no reservations). Arrive early or bundle up and be prepared to wait in the Richmond fog. It’s worth it.

Pizzetta 211
211 23rd Ave.

-M

San Francisco Pizza Tour #1: Caffé Baonecci

The Contadina: Fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, gorgonzola, thin curly pearsImage

The Cigniala: san marzano tomato, fresh mozzarella, champignon mushrooms, wild boar

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After a very persuasive conversation with Sophia, a foodie friend from Berlin, my mother and I began our San Francisco pizza tour at her favorite pizzeria and a new restaurant for us, Caffé Baonecci. Caffé Baonecci became the first stop on our San Francisco pizza tour, a tour we decided to embark on for a few reasons: 1) for our enormous love for pizza, 2) because of the many delicious pizza places we love but realized we had not been to in a while, 3) because of the many pizza places we have always been meaning to try but have yet to, and 4) because soon enough this smorgasbord of pizza on a seven-by-seven mile peninsula will no longer be my food playground. In a way, this pizza tour represents my last (drawn-out) foodie hurrah in San Francisco before I leave for the East Coast in the Fall.

Caffé Baonecci far exceeded our expectations. When we arrived, I was honestly surprised by the casualness and homey feel to the restaurant. I was a little bit afraid it was going to be more of a pizza shack than a venue for finely created pizza. But as soon as we met our waiter I was in love. Not only was he good looking, but he was obviously Italian and spoke in a thick accent and with a very evident love for the food he was serving. We ordered the burrata salad, the Cannelloni, the Cigniala wild boar pizza, and the Contadina (curly pear) pizza. The pizzas were by far the best, and outshone all the other dishes. The Contadina was aesthetically beautiful, piles of intertwined curly pear shavings on top of thin crispy crust with mozzarella and gorgonzola. It was fresh in taste and a refreshingly different type of pizza as well. The Cigniali was also superb, though I was slightly disappointed to find that the wild boar, which sounded very different, was extremely similar to pepperoni.

We will be returning to Baonecci – this I can guarantee. Our family has decided, however, that next time we will probably only order pizza. Although the flavors were not mind-blowingly complex or original, they were tastefully fresh and traditional all at once.

-M

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