Capo’s Executive Chef Matt Molina (credit: Randy Yagi)
It’s no secret that Bay Area chefs and their discerning customers take food very seriously. After all, San Francisco is consistently mentioned as one of the best culinary destinations in the country and even among the best in the world. Here are five of the best places to get extraordinary bar pizza in the Bay Area.
641 Vallejo St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Featuring a well designed exterior reminiscent of a classic Chicago speakeasy, Capo’s is led by Bay Area native and 12-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, who opened his first restaurant just a few blocks away. While the owner makes appearances as often as he can with his very busy schedule, guests of his restaurant and bar are still in very good hands with executive chef Matt Molina, who himself is a world champion, most recently for his incredibly delicious Crown Point pizza, named Best of the Best at this year’s International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Other notable choices offered at the full bar or in the lively dining area surrounded by Prohibition-era memorabilia are the aptly named The Dillinger, winner of World’s Best Pan Pizza at the 2014 International Pizza Expo and the phenomenal Quattro Forni (Four Ovens), cooked four times in four different ovens, with only 10 available per day.
Ca’ Momi Osteria
1141 First St.
Napa, CA 94559
Recently named one of the Napa Valley’s best spots for happy hour, Ca’Momi Osteria is well known for its “obsessively authentic” Neapolitan pizzas. In fact, Ca’ Momi is just one of the few restaurants in the entire country and the only one in the Napa Valley that holds three of the highest Italian certifications of quality and integrity: VPN, APN and Ospitalitầ Italiana. The specialty of this very popular downtown Napa restaurant and bar is Montara, which honors two legendary master pizzaiolos that’s first fried, then quickly topped with marinara sauce, basil and garlic before it’s quickly baked to melt the smoked mozzarella di Bufala. Ca’ Momi Osteria also serves its own branded and brewed on site craft beer, as well as its own Heartcrafted Vodka and several fine wines from its vineyards in the Los Carneros region of the Napa Valley and at its estate in Wild Horse Valley.
5959 Shellmound St.
Emeryville, CA 94608
Hot Italian Pizza Bar is the first and only pizzerias in the U.S. to receive the REAL Certified Food award from the U.S. Healthful Food Council, a nationally recognized mark of excellence for food and food service operators committed to “holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship”. Offering what’s described as the “healthiest pizza in the country”, Hot Italian Pizza Bar utilizes organic, house milled flour and the healthiest sustainable ingredients from local purveyors. Hot Italian Pizza Bar is led by co-founders Andrea Lepore, an Italian-American who serves as the talented creative director and Northern Italian-born Fabrizio Cercatore, the maestro pizzaiolo who leads the kitchen that comes up with other amazing types of pizza, such as Cannavaro, Fiori and Murino.
651 Emerson St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Pizzeria Delfina is consistently mentioned as one of the best pizza places in the country, leading to the successful opening of three other Bay Area locations, including the newest in downtown Palo Alto. Widely praised for having one of the best outdoor seating in the Bay Area, the Palo Alto pizzeria has a full bar allowing dine-in guests to enjoy a cocktail along with a delicious, award-winning pizza, such as a Napoletana, a panna or a margherita.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
1570 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Little Italy neighborhood, the very popular pizzeria offers a wide variety of pizza styles to choose from, such as Pizza Romana, New York Style, Sicilian and Napoletana, in addition to exceptional antipasti and insalate dishes. All pizzas are made with authentic ingredients imported from Naples, known as the Pizza Capital of the World. Tony’s Pizzeria offers indoor and outdoor seating, in addition to a full bar, where signature cocktails like the North Beach and Menta can be ordered, in addition to several nice selections of bottled beer and on tap, fine wines primarily from Italy and other top shelf spirits.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. He may be contacted via Twitter or Linkedin .