Best Pizza in the South Bay

It turns out that it’s 2,935 miles from Silicon Valley to New York City, according to Google Maps, although it’s a shorter drive to Chicago or Detroit. All three cities are much closer than Sicily. That said, thanks to the culinary boom in the South Bay during the past decade, getting an authentic taste of those faraway places can be as close as the neighborhood pizza joint down the block. Based on the variables of style, cost, and whether you need a knife and fork, here are our South Bay Best Pizza winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Feature Photo: Pizzeria Terún

In and Around San Mateo


Pausa Bar & Cookery

Pausa (Italian for “pause”) chef and owner Andrea Giuliani has won numerous fans and accolades for his house-made fare complemented by an all-Italian wine list and craft cocktails and spritzes. By all means, sample the excellent salumi, pastas, risotto and entrees, but don’t skip the wood-fired oven pizzas, made using a special dough that undergoes a 72-hour maturation. Try the duck confit, topped with house-made mozzarella, caramelized balsamic onions, romanesco broccoli, olive and almond paté, and sunchoke chips, or the funghi, with tomatoes, house-made mozzarella, a mix of mushrooms, potatoes, mustard greens and smoked sheep ricotta. Come early during “spritz hour” for an aperitif and cicchetti, or Venetian bar snacks. Dinner hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 4:30pm to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 9:30pm, and Sundays from 4pm to 8:30pm. Spritz Hour is offered every day until 5:30pm in the bar and patio.


Rise Woodfire

The dough at Rise Woodfire is one of the things that gives the pizza at this family-owned restaurant near Downtown San Mateo’s train station its own unique and delicious character. Made from locally milled, non-GMO flour mixed with organic whole grains, the dough is fermented over multiple days at different temperatures before being topped with mouth-watering combinations like artichokes and spinach, prosciutto and arugula, and Medjool date and chevre. (Gluten-free crust and dairy-free cheese are available.) Rounding out the menu are other wood-fired specialties, including rotisserie fare and homemade pies, along with cocktails, wine and beer. Sit inside or out at the heated, covered patio bar. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 11am to 9pm, and Friday through Saturday 11am to 10pm.

In and Around San Jose

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A Slice of New York

Apparently, it was not enough for Kirk Vartan and his wife, Marguerite Lee, to make really great New York-style pizza that often ranks among the best in Silicon Valley, so in 2017 they transitioned A Slice of New York into a worker-owned cooperative. (Membership is open to all employees but is optional.) The menu is divided between the full-size specialty pies and 10-inch personal pies, all topped with the staples of New York thin-crust pizza, from spicy Italian sausage to fresh mushroom and meatballs. It’s essentially a hole-in-the-wall joint, so there’s only takeaway. And usually a line. Hours are 11am to 10pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11am to 10:30pm Friday and Saturday, 12:30pm to 10pm Sunday, closed Monday.

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Photo: Courtesy of Spud Hilton

Bibo's NY Pizza

Great no-nonsense joint offering unpretentious New York-style pies with some fun options. Don’t judge it by the San Jose strip mall location, the pizza here might impress even the die-hard Brooklynites, and the kitchen is completely open so you can watch it being made. The menu features a range of pies, from the NY Classic White Pie (ricotta, mozzarella, fresh Basil) to the popular Slide of Heaven (bacon, fire roasted tomatoes, fresh basil) to the protein-packed Pizza Meatza (pepperoni, sausage, linguica, ham, bacon). Wash it down with one of the impressive list of craft brews on tap. Hours are 11am to 7:45pm Sunday and Monday, 11am to 8:45pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11am to 9:45pm Friday and Saturday.

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Giorgio’s Italian Food & Pizzeria

Giorgio’s is the quintessential family Italian-American restaurant, where locals go for long lunches and groups celebrate anniversaries, graduations and birthdays over red-and-white checked tablecloths. The pizza menu covers most of the popular styles from margherita to Quattro Formaggio to Retro Hawaiian, with a crispy, spongy crust that doesn’t flop, even under a generous amount of toppings and mozzarella. Lovers of good Italian sausage need to get the New York Style (mushroom and sausage) or Giorgio’s Special, with sausage, mushroom, pepperoni and salami. Hours are 11:30am to 9pm Sunday through Thursday, 11:30am to 10pm Friday and Saturday.

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Slice of Homage

Travel to Detroit, New York and Sicily without ever getting on a plane. Slice of Homage, which opened in 2020, brings a crafted-pizza sensibility to multiple styles, including the classic thin New York crust, the rectangular, airy Sicilian, and the Detroit, the Sicilian’s thicker, caramelized-crusted cousin. The toppings are high-quality and appropriate for the styles: Rosa Grande pepperoni, grana padano cheese, vine-ripened tomatoes (and something mysteriously called “grandma sauce”). Hours are 4pm to 8 pm, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 3pm to 8pm Friday, closed Monday and Tuesday.

In and Around Palo Alto


Pizzeria Delfina

When Pizzeria Delfina owners Annie and Craig Stoll opened the first location of their Neapolitan-inspired pizzeria in San Francisco in 2005 next door to James Beard Award-winning Delfina, it was an instant hit. Now one of four outposts, Pizzeria Delfina’s Palo Alto location wins local fans for its ever-changing roster of seasonal antipasti and small plates, in addition to those perfect pies (gluten-free crust is available). Enjoy a simple margarita (tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, basil) or the clam pie (cherrystone clams, tomato, oregano, pecorino, hot peppers) in the bustling, casual dining room or outside on the delightful wisteria-draped patio — even better with a Napa Spritz in hand. Dinner hours are Wednesday through Sunday 5pm to 9pm. Takeout and delivery hours are Monday and Tuesday 4pm to 8pm and Wednesday through Sunday 5pm to 9pm.

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Pizzeria Terún

Upscale restaurant in downtown Palo Alto that serves authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, topped primarily with staples of Southern Italy. Styles on the menu run from the simple-but-elegant Napoletana (San Marzano tomato sauce, cow’s milk mozzarella, anchovy) to the more complex and creative Quattro Stagioni (mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, artichokes, cremini mushrooms, olives), all of which feature the  bubbly, charred crust that comes from wood-fired ovens. Also on the menu, authentic Italian pasta, steak, fish, cocktails and wine. Hours are 5pm to 9pm Monday through Wednesday, 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 9:30pm Thursday through Saturday, 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm Sunday.


State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria

The folks at California-centric State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria do pizza their own way, and the results have garnered the locally owned restaurant a devout following. It all starts with the slow-proofed dough made with Caputo Nuvola Super “o” flour (there’s a gluten-free option, too). Pies are then topped with fresh ingredients, including California cheese and organic Bianco Dinapoli tomato sauce, and baked a high-heat electric oven. Among the favorites: the Grandma Pie; the Heat and Sweet, topped with mozzarella, jalapeno, bacon and honey; and the Frankie G Special, featuring mozzarella, organic sauce, ricotta and pepperoni. Beyond pizza, the menu offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, wings and desserts, plus a rotating tap list of craft brews and wines from all over California. Oh, and did we mention the onsite arcade games? Hours are Sunday through Thursday 11:30am to 9pm, and Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 10pm.

In and Around Los Gatos

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Blue Line

Yes, Blue Line is an offshoot of the growing Little Star Pizza empire started in San Francisco, but one taste of the cornmeal crust deep-dish pizzas is a solid reminder that, “Toto, I don’t think we’re at Domino’s or Round Table anymore.” Named for the train that runs between O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago, Blue Line offers amazing Chicago-style deep-dish, as well as New York thin crust, in a casual-but-hip setting that attracts a broad Silicon Valley audience. Blue Line seals the deal with a large selection of craft beers, regional wines, and quality spirits. Hours are 11:30am to 9pm Sunday through Thursday, 11:30am to 9:30pm Friday and Saturday.


Apps at this casual spot in downtown Los Gatos are well worth ordering here, like the seared broccolini and a lemon vinaigrette-dressed Brussels sprout salad, but make sure to save room for the main event. The chewy-crispy crust wood-fired oven pizzas feature a variety of creative toppings, including favorites like the Bounty Hunter with crushed tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, pineapple and fresh jalapeño and the Goomba with pesto, taleggio, oyster mushroom, shiitake mushroom, cremini mushroom and Calabrian chilies. Wash it all down with a cocktail; wine; or beer from the many draft, bottled and canned selections. You can also take-and-bake a pizza at home. Lunch hours are Wednesday through Monday noon to 3pm. Dinner hours are Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 5pm to 9pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm to 10pm. (Closed Tuesdays.)

More Local Favorites in the South Bay

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