The Best Pizza Places In San Francisco guide image


The Best Pizza Places In San Francisco

The top pizza places in SF, according to us.

We’ve eaten a concerning number of slices and pies to bring you our guide to the very best pizza San Francisco has to offer. And there is a lot to offer, despite what the bitter New York transplants in your life have to say about us and our pizza. This guide includes wood-fired Neapolitan pies, crispy Sicilian slices, and enough sourdough pizzas to feed ten wolf packs, a hungry soccer team, or both.


Outta Sight Pizza

This Tenderloin pizza place nails every element necessary to a perfect slice. There’s a chewy yet crisp crust that’s foldable without getting soggy. Satisfying, bright orange grease drips out of the creases. And toppings are packed with flavor, whether you opt for the smoky pepperoni cups or slightly sweet vodka sauce paired with globs of gooey mozzarella. Devouring it all in the company of E-40 bobbleheads and Giants foam fingers on the wall is an easy way to spend a quick lunch or an after-work snack and beer. Grab a seat at one of the big round tables, gaze lovingly at your face-sized slice, and pat yourself on the back for making the great decision to come here.  

Square Pie Guys in SoMa (and Ghirardelli Square) is making some of the city’s best rectangular-shaped pizzas. Each one is small but mighty—8x10 and serves 1 to 2 people. The thick but light crust has cheddar baked on the outside giving a cheesy crunch to every bite. And the presentation of pepperoni cups and other toppings like garlic ricotta cream and hot honey is a work of art. Square Pie Guys is also very casual, which is why you’ll find chicken wings, salads, and fries, and a well-oiled takeout operation.

The wood-fired pizzas at this Sunset spot near the ocean are a better beach companion than your friend's dog who won't stop sucking on your shoelaces. The crust is bubbly and charred, and the topping combinations are creative and balanced. We love the one with pancetta, pesto, and purple potatoes that add mild creamy starchiness, and the classic pepperoni with little cups that crisp up at the edges. Split a couple of pies with someone you want to impress (always get hot honey and ranch), or eat one by yourself at the bar with a blood orange spritz. They have the occasional live DJ, too, which is another reason to become a regular.

Formerly in the Mission and now in North Beach, Flour + Water Pizzeria excels in the art of the grown-up pizza party. Red and white pies on thin blistered crusts are paraded around the airy dining room like show dogs—go for the Hawaiian that’s got a sizable kick from dollops of chili crisp, or a cacio e pepe pie that gushes with pecorino crema. Endlessly stretchy mozzarella sticks belong on every table, too. And much like any good pizza party, their thick soft serve makes for an ideal finish. Coming in with enough friends to form a basketball team and debating the merits of dumping ranch on pizza (here, you absolutely should) is a great way to spend a Friday night. Especially if you throw in a few rounds of boozy slushies and natural wine. 

Like never bothering to cross the bay to Alcatraz, standing in line for Golden Boy is a local rite of passage. As is ordering one of their fluffy Sicilian focaccia squares with a crispy bottom. This North Beach institution (est. 1978) with its iconic red neon finger sign makes some of the thickest and cheapest slices in town, starting at $3.50. There are also only six kinds on the menu, but we zero in on the pepperoni or the meaty combo with sausage. Inside, punk music blares, the walls are covered with stickers, plenty of beers flow from the tap. But for now, hop in the line and keep it moving. Golden Boy is temporarily takeout-only.

You come to Angie’s to sip on some wine, soak in the retro charm, and make eyes at someone you like over showstopping wood-fired pizzas. They’re loaded with more interesting Californian-style topping combinations, like the one with dates, bacon, and creamy goat cheese that gets all melty in the oven. And, naturally, the thin, charred-on-the-edges crust holds it all up while flaunting a respectable structural integrity. You’ll want to keep ordering one just to stay another hour in this effortlessly cool space, which includes glowy mushroom lamps and records spinning behind the bar. 

This city loves great Cal-Ital, so we welcome Norcina—and their pillowy, charred, and chewy crust. There are a handful of Neapolitan pizzas on the menu, and we like the spicy Za’ Matriciana with pancetta and Calabrian chilis. And unlike Pixar, we fully embrace the one with broccoli—this one comes with gooey fontina and mozzarella. Norcina is also one of those Cute, Chill Spots in the Marina, so prepare to eat your pie surrounded by bright lemon wallpaper, dried floral arrangements, and woven chairs. 

Despite looking like dense bricks, the Detroit-style pies at Joyride Pizza have an airy crust that avoids a soggy fate under a mountain of toppings. And we really do mean a mountain. Pies are covered with what feels like an entire garden’s worth of vegetables like brussels sprouts, tomatoes, or arugula, or have thick stripes of tomato sauce running across the top. Crispy outer cheese walls caramelized to deep golden-brown and slightly sweet house tomato sauce we’d gladly funnel into our mouths are other reasons to love these pies. There’s a takeout outpost in the Mission (slices are available), but we like the Yerba Buena spot, which has a patio overlooking the gardens.

Head to the Dogpatch and you’ll spot plenty of white boxes making their way down 3rd Street or hanging out with a pint at Dogpatch Saloon. All roads lead to Long Bridge Pizza. The casual spot does sourdough pies right. They have a nice snap—never too chewy or hard. And you can taste the tang of the sourdough, separate from the high quality toppings. Like any great neighborhood spot, this is a place to post up in one of the three dining rooms and gab about how today was the best or worst day ever. A game will probably be on one of the many large TVs. Order from the counter and let the beer and pizza come to you. 

Amidst all the fast-casual chains and overpriced tourist traps around Union Square, Del Popolo is a bright spot. Their incredible Neapolitan-style pizza draws us in, even when we aren’t in the area picking up our laptop from the Genius Bar or touching expensive duvet covers at Macy’s—the wood-fired crust always comes out gorgeous and chewy. There are nine options to choose from, but whichever route you go, the toppings, like spicy sausage and olives or garlicky mushrooms, are excellent across the board. We love coming to this relaxed spot for double dates or after-work pizzas at the bar—or, if you want a quieter dinner, request a table on the plant-filled patio out back. 

Pizzetta 211 is thin-crust pizza royalty. The lowkey Richmond spot earns the title based on evenly golden-brown crust alone. What goes on the pies depends on what’s in season, and rotates every other week. So expect super fresh ingredient combinations like gooey eggs and asparagus or braised short rib with garlic confit. The pies serve one, but the ideal way to eat here is to come with a date or a few friends and split as many as will fit on the table (which could mean ordering all six pizzas). And save room for dessert—the dense flourless chocolate cake is a neighborhood gem, as is anything with their brown butter shortbread.

Tony’s offers twelve pizza styles ranging from Sicilian and Neapolitan to Roman and Detroit, all cooked at one of seven temperatures, using five kinds of heat sources. If that felt like a riddle, just know this North Beach spot takes their pies seriously. And even though the menu looks like a pizza experiment with way too much going on, Tony’s still makes some of the best pies in the city. Zero in on the coal-fired New Yorker loaded with sausage and pepperoni, or the thin-crust Eddie Muenster with fried kale, bacon, and squeeze of lemon on top. Coming here to sit in the always bustling bar and dining room or patio ensures we have a pick of a variety of doughs, shapes, and toppings. Prepare to be overwhelmed in the best way possible.

Goat Hill Pizza in Potrero Hill has been around since 1975, and here’s why—the brick oven-fired pizzas have thin sourdough crusts that are so good we practically hear angels sing when we eat one. That, and the fact that the red-checkered tablecloths and goat drawings and statues make us feel like we’re at a quirky relative’s house for Sunday night dinner. There are 14 combinations on the menu, or you can build your own. We usually go for the Porky Pie with bacon and red onion, plus enough roasted garlic and garlic cream to single handedly keep the breath mint industry in business. And because there’s no such thing as too much garlic, get a side of toasted garlic bread. 

Multitasking is difficult to figure out (we have the stained white pants we wore while trying to drive and eat chocolate at the same time to prove it). Unlike us, Pizza Squared, a slice shop in SoMa, has mastered the skill—they're making Sicilian and Detroit-style pizzas with ease. Both styles highlight more unique flavor combinations, from bulgogi meatballs and Thai curry chicken to ground beef and refried beans. Where things differ: The Sicilian slices are baked in duck fat and light and crispy enough to be used as a life raft, and the cheese walls of the Detroit-style pies are perfectly crunchy. Whichever one you get, know that you’re in very good hands. 

Pizza and beer are an ideal combo, whether you’re pregaming or just craving tomato sauce and a pilsner on a random Tuesday. Luckily, Cellarmaker House of Pizza in Bernal Heights has a lengthy list of beers on tap to enjoy over Detroit-style slices. The deceptively small square pizzas are sponge-like with crunchy cheese crusts and slightly chunky tomato sauce on top. Get any one with thick pepperoni—they’re so good you'll want to harvest them and bust some out later for a midday snack. If you just want to pop in for a slice, the casual spot has bar seating, and a few high-tops perfect for small groups.    

Where To Get Detroit-Style Pizza In SF guide image

SF Guide

Where To Get Detroit-Style Pizza In SF

Casey’s Pizza in Mission Bay makes great Neapolitan-style pies. Start with the burrata, which comes with crostini and a nice lemony arugula salad, before making your way to the pizza list. They make everything from margherita to pepperoni and arugula to a funghi pizza loaded with mushrooms and fresh thyme. The crust is perfectly charred, has a good snap if you fold it, and we can bet you and your friends will be fighting over the last slices of Zoe with mini pepperoni, or the sausage pizza that’s heavy on the fennel. An extra plus, this place has beer (bottle and draft) and tons of wine—basically everything you need to create a casual pizza-centric night.

This Glen Park pizzeria churns out the crispiest thin-crust pies in the city. Bite into one and a near ear-splitting crunch will probably be detected all the way in the Presidio. The bottom is also more structurally sound than a mechanical bull. Whenever we come here, we go for the amatriciana with pancetta and a runny egg on top, and the mushroom pie with caramelized onions, truffled fontina, and preserved lemon. No meal is complete without the decadent Nutella dessert pizza topped with squiggles of mascarpone. The relaxed spot can easily function as a weeknight double date destination and a place we'd take a youth soccer team to carbo-load after a game.

There aren’t many places in the city specializing in pinsas, so novelty alone is one reason to head to Montesacro in SoMa (there's a second location in the Marina). The other is these oval-shaped Roman-style flatbreads are incredible. The crust is charred, bubbly, and light, making it entirely doable to have several pieces without sweating it out on the couch later. We love the maranella, which comes with spicy pork sausage, broccolini, and some of the creamiest burrata we’ve ever had. Also consider ordering the tormarancio that has thinly sliced soppressata and very thick tomato sauce. 

We love fermented dough like the city loves ultra-light down, which is why we come back for PizzaHacker’s sourdough pizzas at least once a month. The gorgeously charred, slightly tangy crusts nail the stretch factor—chewy on the inside and a crisp exterior. Don’t overlook the specials written on the chalkboard wall, like the Forbidden Fruit. It’s essentially a Hawaiian pizza with jalapeños and red onions that will please even the most stubborn pineapple-on-pizza haters. The Bernal Heights spot has picnic benches and jeans-and-t-shirt casualness, making it an ideal place for family dinners or weeknight group catch-ups.

Next time your friend’s roommate who used to live down the street from Joe’s starts complaining about the lack of New York-style slice spots in SF, point them in the direction of Gioia in Hayes Valley. Their massive, thin-crust slices are meant to be folded (the directive is outlined on the box), and are best eaten while standing on the curb and debating whether or not you’d be able to survive an actual winter. Toppings stay pretty classic—think pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom—and you can (and should) dress up slices with ranch or chili oil.   

The worker-owned cooperative bakery in the Sunset churns out vegetarian thin-crust pies with tangy sourdough crust. The catch is they make a different one each day, and get creative with the toppings—it’s part of the appeal. They’ll have a pizza with potatoes, masala curry, and spinach one day, and a version covered in mushrooms, parsley, and sesame-ginger-garlic vinaigrette the next. If the element of surprise isn’t your thing (what horrific clown encounter ruined your childhood?), look to the online pizza schedule. Unlike toppings, you have some control with the order: full or half-baked, and whole pies or by the slice.  

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photo credit: Sarah Felker

The Best Pizza Places In San Francisco guide image