Union Square isn’t necessarily one of the city’s culinary hot spots—so looking for a place to have dinner in the area can sometimes be a challenge. But amidst all the fast-casual chains and kitschy tourist traps serving $30 bowls of overcooked pasta is Del Popolo, a wood-fired pizza place that rarely disappoints.
The Tendernob spot is located a few blocks up from Union Square, and it’s one of the best options for a sit-down meal nearby. But we don’t just come here after a long day of navigating the crowds at Westfield or a visit to the big Christmas tree during the holidays—the pies are also good enough that we’d willingly sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Mission Street to get our hands on one. The hidden back patio and dining room are also perfect for groups, making Del Popolo a great spot to keep in your back pocket for nearly any situation.
The pizza is definitely what you should focus on. They’re made in their wood-fired oven, which you couldn’t miss if you tried. It’s planted in the center of the restaurant, so you can watch pies slide right out and land on your table minutes later. The crust is what really makes Del Popolo’s pizzas stand out—it’s bubbly and chewy, and always has a nice char. We guarantee you’ll end up eating every last bit of it.
There are also seasonally-changing appetizers, like candied bacon or blistered shishito peppers. They’re all good, but you shouldn’t fill up on them, since you’re here for the pizza. Instead, order a few to split with your parents, some friends you haven’t seen in years, a triple date, or whoever else you’re with. Even if Del Popolo were located 100 miles below sea level, we’d still find a way here. These pies are worth the effort.
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Little Gem Caesar
The lemon-y dressing really makes this salad. If you want greens on the table before you dive into the pizzas, this is a great option.
A simple classic done very well. The tomato sauce is slightly sweet, and we always end up eating all of the bubbly, charred crust.
We wish we could harvest the nicely spiced balls of sausage from this pizza and eat them for breakfast every day. Instead, we’ll settle for ordering this excellent pie every time we visit.
Roasted Maitake Mushroom Pizza
There are usually a few vegetarian pizzas on the menu, and this one is our favorite. The garlicky mushrooms are so good we’d eat them on their own.