Best Pizza in the South Bay

Best Pizza in the South Bay

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Clean Plate Club

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Whether you long for a slice of foldable, thin-crust pizza; a wood-fired Neapolitan pie; or deep-dish pan pizza, you don’t have to travel 3,000 miles from the South Bay to New York City to find it, or visit Chicago, Detroit or even Sicily, for that matter. 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 picks in the Peninsula, Silicon Valley, San Jose and the coast, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Feature Photo: Pizzeria Terún

In and Around the Peninsula

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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. pausasanmateo.com

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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. pizzeriadelfina.com/location/palo-alto

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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. terunpizza.com

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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. risewoodfire.com

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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? stateofmindpublichouse.com

Redwood City.Vesta.pizza.1200x800.@vestarwc
Photo: Courtesy of @vestarwc
2022 Broadway, Redwood City
650.362.5052

It’s hard to choose from the extensive menu of creatively topped wood-fired pies at this must-visit pizzeria and small plates destination in downtown Redwood city, where tempting combinations include sausage and honey with serrano chilis, vegan pesto with spinach, and bacon and cherry tomato with feta cheese and fresh garlic and herbs. Start with a kale salad accented spiked with jalapeno-pickled raisins and tossed with creamy avocado dressing or an order of pork meatballs; pair it with a glass of wine or beer from the California-centric list; and top it all off with a serving of gelato, courtesy of San Francisco’s Lush Gelato. vestarwc.com

In and Around Silicon Valley

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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. bluelinepizza.com

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Photo: Courtesy of @doppiozerousa
Multiple locations

This Italian pizzeria and cocktail destination was founded in 2014 in Mountain View, and due to its success, has since expanded two other South Bay locations, San Carlos and most recently Campbell, as well as San Francisco and Concord. To be sure, Doppio Zero’s freshly made pasta dishes have plenty of devoted fans, but it’s the authentic Neapolitan pizzas made with imported 00 flour and cooked in a wood-fired dome operating at 900°F that have won over many pizza aficionados — as well as earning the restaurant a certification from the official Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. Go classic with a margherita topped with arugula or salami, or mix it up with options like the pulcinella, featuring San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, cherry tomatoes fior di latte, basil pesto and ricotta salata. dzpizzeria.com 

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. oakandryecatering.com

Santa Clara.Pizz'A Chicago.pizza.1200x800.@pizzachicagosc
Photo: Courtesy of @pizzachicagosc
1576 Halford Ave., Santa Clara
408.244.2246

It isn’t easy to find Chicago-style pizza in the Bay Area, but Pizz’A Chicago has been catering to deep-dish pie fans since 1991, when two Chicago restaurant-industry veterans opened this Santa Clara-based restaurant filled with Windy City memorabilia. The extensive menu offers plenty of options for both omnivores and veggie lovers, like the Southsider, topped with meatballs, spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic, fresh basil and diced tomatoes, and the Grant Park, topped with pesto sauce, Roma tomatoes, garlic, ricotta cheese and artichoke hearts. Rounding out the menu is a selection of apps, salads, calzones, pastas, sandwiches, desserts and even a kids’ menu. Decisions, decisions. pizzachicagoonline.com 

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Photo: Courtesy of @squarepieguys
Multiple South Bay locations at Local Kitchens: Campbell, Cupertino, Palo Alto

With its thicker, crispy cheddar cheese-edged crust, the square Detroit-style pan pizza at this casual Bay Area chain has gained a devoted following. Outlets at several South Bay Local Kitchens locations, where multiple eateries are located under one roof, dish up house combinations like the Mush-o-Roni, topped with red sauce, a medley of mushrooms, peperoni, hot honey, parsley and grana cheese. An order of spicy buffalo or Szechwan wings makes a perfect accompaniment.  squarepieguys.com 

In and Around San Jose

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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. bibosnypizza.com

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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. giorgiositalianfood.com

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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”). sohpizza.com

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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. asliceofny.com

In and Around the Coast

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Photo: Courtesy of @mezzalunarestauranthmb
459 Prospect Way, Princeton-by-the-Sea
650.728.8108

Inspired by the bounty of the coast, three friends opened casually elegant Mezza Luna in a historic 1906 building near the harbor in Princeton-by-the-Sea 30 years ago, where they’ve been serving California-inflected Southern Italian cuisine ever since. The Roman-style pizza menu includes classic pies like the margherita, prosciutto e funghi, and a pizza topped with seasonal vegetables. Pasta and seafood dishes are also customer favorites. mezzalunabythesea.com 

More Local Favorites in the South Bay

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite eat@localgetaways.com.

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