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Del Popolo

PHOTOS: Van Che

Waiting. It’s the worst. Waiting on the phone with Time Warner Cable, waiting for the SoulCycle booking window to open, waiting for Jaden Smith to finally reveal he’s a lizard person. It’s hard. BUT, once the wait is over, the gratification of getting whatever you’ve been anticipating is a magical thing.

Part of the magic of Del Popolo has always been its roving location and the long waits you have to suffer through to get the heavenly pizza from a truck. Delayed gratification has its perks, because the pizza tastes so F*CKING GOOD after you’ve waited 45 minutes for it while standing in the blazing sun/freezing cold vortex of any food truck event in San Francisco. But guess what? Del Popolo pizza tastes just as good when you eat it at their brick and mortar spot in Nob Hill. See you never, line at Off the Grid.

Van Che

Besides their renowned wood-fired pizzas, which continue to have the best crusts in the Bay, the menu at the wheelless home of Del Popolo also includes several small plates meant to share. The ones that stay on the side of traditional Italian are great, while attempts to be a little more “experimental” are not so great. There is no need for hush puppies in this situation. Never thought we’d say those words.

The focus of the restaurant is the massive wood oven, and the best seats in the house are at the circular bar in front of it where you can watch the pizzas slide in and out of the flames. The space is always crowded, but so far the waits are pretty under control, especially since they take reservations.

So don’t worry, Del Popolo’s pizza is great enough - and holds up cooked in a stationary place - that it will still blow your mind, even without lining up for an hour. Still waiting on that Jaden reveal, though.

Food Rundown

Wild Mushroom Ragu on Toast

They need to put this mushroom medley on pizzas. Or really on everything. The fancy mushroom mix is creamy and rich and delightful, and the thick bread it’s served on is also great.

Monterey Bay Squid

Nothing out of this world, but a very good roasted calamari. The celery root tastes really fresh and contrasts nicely with the squid. Worth your tastebuds' time.

Broccoli Roasted in the Wood Oven

When things are roasted in a wood oven, you generally expect they will be served hot and roasty. Nope. This is cold, and it’s weird. You don’t need green vegetables at every meal.

Hush Puppies

For those of you who have never really lived (aka never lived below the Mason Dixon line), hush puppies are fried cornbread balls. A little misplaced on the menu at Del Popolo, and they haven’t quite nailed the execution. Too dense and too big. Skip ‘em.

Margherita Pizza

Would it be weird to wrap this pizza around my head and wear it as a turban to keep it with me at all times? Yes. But it’s been contemplated, because the perfectly charred crust is the best around, the sauce is spot-on and the cheese is high quality. It’s about the most perfect pizza you can get.

Bianca Pizza

No red sauce here, this is an excellent white pizza. Throw one in the mix for sure.

Winter Squash Pizza

While the mascarpone on this is pretty excellent, we aren’t in love with this pizza. The squash-bacon combo just isn’t working for us.

Sausage Pizza

Del Popolo does not short change on the toppings. Thanks, pizza men. The sausage is super good, and the black olives are a nice touch. We like.

Nutella Ice Cream

Nutella is essentially heroin in hazelnut form. We wish this ice cream were a little stronger with the Nutella opiates, but it’s still pretty damn good.

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