We won’t sit here and argue that San Francisco does pizza better than a city like New York or Chicago (but honestly: apples and oranges), but we will argue that San Francisco can make a darn good slice of pie. There are many, many options in this town. But here are the top ten.
Get ready for farm fresh ingredients piled as high as you’d like them. This Outer Richmond spot specializes in delicious, unexpected combinations like farm egg, Tunisian pepper sauce, chorizo, cilantro and ricotta that make for a very satisfying meal. The interior has a cozy café feel with Moroccan lanterns hanging above checkered tile tables. It’s relatively low on the frills, so you can focus on the pie in front of you.
There’s something so special about dough so fluffy and billowy, with blistered bubbles that are perfectly charred. The high ceilings, communal tables, Edison bulbs and friendly staff at this popular Mission eatery make the pizza taste even better. Don’t forget to order a cocktail at the bar if there’s a wait. The drink is definitely worth it.
Deep dish is the specialty at this Chicago-inspired spot, but it’s hard to just focus on the pie when the menu is chalk full of delicious options. Start with a seasonal cocktail like the new trick with bourbon and fernet branca (hey, got to have a digestif for all the pizza you’re about to consume). Then order a Farmer’s Pie, which is loaded with four cheeses, sausage, bacon, wild mushrooms, eggs, and arugula. If there’s two of you, there will definitely be leftovers.
Get ready to indulge in the best Grandma’s pie-style pizza you’ve ever tasted. Golden Boy in North Beach has been serving up slices to-go wrapped in red and white gingham paper since 1978. Your options are limited to sausage, cheese, veggie, pepperoni or clam and pesto, but you’ll be satisfied with any one of those. It’s also open late, though there’s a line of hungry night owls to go with it.
Delfina has been king of the pizza crown ever since it burst onto the scene in 2005. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas are piled high with farm-fresh ingredients like homemade fennel sausage and bell peppers or cherrystone clams and tomatoes and oregano. The Mission location definitely has an old-school takeout pizza spot feel, but the newer one in Pacific Heights is a bit more upscale. The pizza is just as delicious either way.
There’s always a wait at this North Beach institution, but you can always snag a fireside martini at Original Joe’s while you wait. Once you get in, you’ll be drooling over the thin crust pizza covered with artichokes and provolone or soppressata and red hot pepper oil. You might have to sit outside, so make sure you bundle up!
Little Star has developed a bit of a cult following in San Francisco. But who could blame the sheep? This crusty cornmeal edges with an inside oozing with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and extras like zucchini and mushrooms (that’s in the vegetarian) or chicken, bell peppers and artichoke hearts (that’s the Mediterranean Chicken). With locations in both NoPa and the Mission.
When the dough can be fluffy, chewy, and crispy at the same time, you’ve reached pizza heaven. The Rocket Man, a doughy combo of garlic, arugula, egg, lemon, and mozzarella is a crowd favorite. Chalkboard walls and multi-colored string lights give this Bernal Heights shop a casual feel so the focus is on the food.
Not too thin or too thick, Zero Zero’s pizza is just right. The hen of the woods mushrooms are perfectly paired with leeks and pecorino, making a rich combo in the Fillmore but then there’s also the slow-roasted tomatoes, eggplants, and ricotta on the Hayes. There are too many decisions, so don’t make any. Invite all your friends to this buzzy SoMa spot, just a quick walk from Yerba Buena Gardens.
Say what you will about chains, but Patxi’s does deep dish right. First of all: the scent. You can’t walk by a Patxi’s without being hit by the wafting sweetness of baking cheese, marinara, and dough. You will start craving pizza immediately. Inside, the pizza is perfectly gooey and crunchy. Paxti's has three SF locations, including one in Hayes Valley and another in Inner Sunset.
Located in SoMa just south of the city's Mid-Market neighborhood (and an easy walk for guests staying at the aviation-themed Yotel), Square Pie Guys specializes in thick, crispy crusted Detroit-style pizza: rectangular pies piled edge-to-edge with caramelized Brick cheese. Choose from a variety of pies, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. You can order from either the cashier or self-ordering kiosks, then grab a beer, move around some tables to fit your friends, and then get the party started at this casual, fun-filled space.