Whether you prefer sourdough crust, deep dish, Detroit-style, or topped with Indian flavors, the Bay Area pizza scene really delivers
Fresh dough, gooey cheese, and just the right amount of sauce—pizza is a recipe for deliciousness for parents and kids alike. The Bay Area pizza scene offers lots of options for little foodies like the curry chicken masala pizza of Curry Pizza House and the potato-topped pizza from Escape from New York Pizza. We won’t say which is our ultimate favorite (because that’s like choosing a favorite child) but you’ll find top spots from Point Reyes to San Jose, perfect for a lazy night with no cooking needed.
Best Pizza in San Francisco
Long Bridge Pizza Co.
If thin crust sourdough pizza is your thing, Long Bridge Pizza Co. is your pizza place. Actually, if Detroit-style pizza is your thing, then Long Bridge is also your pizza place because they sell that on their popular Square Thursdays. Named for the wooden causeway that connected San Francisco to Dogpatch in the 1800s, Long Bridge is in a neighborhood that’s great to explore, and particularly good for the kind of exploration that involves food. If you still have room after your ‘za, waddle over to Neighbor Bakehouse next door or the Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream shop a block away.
2347 Third St.
Escape from New York Pizza
It’s nice to have a good stand-by when you need an easy, no-frills, counter-service meal while you’re in Downtown San Francisco, and Escape from New York Pizza is that place. (There are other locations in San Francisco, but we're partial to the bright and airy Financial District one with seating on the plaza.) See if the kiddos can spot King Kong climbing the wall. You must order their famous You Say Potato! pizza covered in roasted potato slices, copious amounts of garlic (copious!), pesto, and of course mozzarella. It’s worth the stinky breath afterward and your kids are stuck with you so what are they going to do about it?
Pizzeria Delfina is San Francisco’s golden child and with good reason. Their pies are perfection, but the crowds and long waits could be a pain for families. There are four Bay Area locations, and we recommend the Fillmore one for its enclosed parklet where the kids can run around.
2406 California St.
This local cooperative serves up some of the tastiest pie around, even if they were the target of parody in Pixar’s “Inside Out.” They only offer one type of pizza per day, and it’s never cheese and pepperoni (more like shiitake mushroom, leeks, and sesame vinaigrette) but even so, they are known as a kid fave. Order by the slice—we also suggest adding a corn cherry scone—and pull up a chair in their Mission location, or grab a spot in the parklet outside of their Inner Sunset location. They offer par-baked (or fully baked) pies for takeout, and the price is right, especially considering the top-notch ingredients.
1272 Valencia St. and 1331 9th Ave.
If you haven’t tried it yet, the thought of Indian pizza may leave you scratching your head. But one bite and you’ll be hooked. Zante’s corn-meal-dusted crusts are the perfect base for their incredibly flavorful toppings—spinach, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions, and cilantro. The no-frills restaurant at the base of Bernal Hill is spacious, works well for large parties, has high chairs, and rarely has a wait.
3489 Mission St.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Tony, an 11-time World Pizza Champion, must be doing something right. His North Beach restaurant is an ode to regionally specific pizza (he has various types of ovens for various styles of pies) and turns out spot-on New York, New Haven, Detroit, St. Louis, Romana, and Sicilian pizzas—not to mention tasty pasta and other Italian specialties. There’s a small take-out shop for quick and easy slices.
1570 Stockton St.
Best Pizza in the Peninsula
State of Mind
Often you find a pizza place with an excellent crust but a so-so sauce, or a to-die-for sauce but a nothing special crust. Not so at State of Mind where both are perfection. They offer round, pan, and gluten-free pizzas, and have curated a can and bottle list showcasing their favorite craft breweries throughout California. Don’t miss their old-school pizza restaurant arcade, which is also available for private parties.
101 Plaza North
3850 El Camino Real
Blue Line Pizza
The talented pizza lovers from SF’s beloved Little Star are behind Blue Line, which now has seven locations around the Peninsula and East and South Bay. We especially love their Burlingame location, with its spacious back patio lit by twinkling fairy lights. Blue Line is known for their deep dish, but their thin crust, salads, and sandwiches are delish, too. We love that instead of crayons, they provide kiddies with Magnadoodles with the kids’ menu printed on the back! And don’t miss out on their totally adorable heart-shaped pizzas next Valentine’s Day.
Grab a spot outside by the fire pit and enjoy a slice of Neapolitan pizza at Rise Pizzeria in Burlingame. This spot boasts tasty pizza with a healthy twist. Gluten-free crusts and dairy-free cheese are just two of the options that make this a great spot for those who have dietary restrictions. Parents will appreciate that Rise has swapped out the traditional soda machine for options like lemonade, iced tea, and apple juice. There is also a sister restaurant, Rise Woodfire, in San Mateo.
1451 Burlingame Ave
Best Pizza in the East Bay
Square Pie Guys
Square Pie Guys specializes in Detroit-style pizza which means they have what they describe as a “crispy, crackly, caramelized cheese crust.” It’s like the pan pizza of your youth but done deliciously right.
499 9th St., Oakland
1077 Mission St. and 845 Beach St.
Deep-dish pizza lovers say Zachary’s is the winner. They do a completely balanced deep dish layered "upside-down" to keep the crust crisp. The downside? You guessed it: The wait can be unbelievably long. Because the pizzas take 30 minutes to cook anyway, they have guests order when they arrive, so that by the time you are seated, your pizza should be nearly ready.
If you like your pizza night complete with a craft cocktail, this is your spot. Kids will give the Margherita a thumbs up, while the other creative, high-quality dishes (not to mention the killer cocktail list) will elevate family pizza night to something a little more special.
5008 Telegraph Ave.
It’s hard to decide between the pan-baked grandma pie and the margarita pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and basil—so why not get both? If there’s a wait, the kids will be happy perusing the selection of board games and books.
496 E. 14th St.
With many locations around the Bay Area, Patxi’s has become an institution for Chicago-style pizza. Their Dublin location doesn’t disappoint, with a pick-up window as well as a fantastic outdoor patio. Don’t forget the honey at the table to drizzle on the crust. Mangia!
Best Pizza in the South Bay
Curry Pizza House
If you have a Curry Pizza House in your neighborhood, consider yourself lucky as it's just the break from ordinary pepperoni your family is craving. We recently checked out the carry-out-only San Jose location on Union Ave. and found the staff to be friendly and the pizzas to be full of fresh ingredients with your choice of traditional or Indian flavors. We suggest going for a half-and-half of the curry chicken masala and the curry veggie delight with a side of achari wings and masala chips. They even offer vegan options.
2984 Union Ave.
Find all their six Bay Area locations here.
Pizza My Heart
There are dozens of new spots intent on mastering the craft of pizza making, but we have a soft spot for the ones keeping it FUN. Always incredibly family-friendly, Pizza My Heart really wins on Tuesdays, when from 4-8 p.m. they put the kids to work. Kids are given a pre-shaped pizza dough on a mini pizza pan, along with a squirt bottle of sauce, mini-containers of shredded cheese, and their choice of toppings. It’s then whisked away and baked up for a dinner they’ll love.
Click here to see all of their locations, mostly in the South Bay and Peninsula.
A Slice of New York
“ASONY” for those in the know was founded by New York transplant, Kirk Vartan, who knows what New York pizza is all about. You know it’s a good pizza when a simple cheese pie is perfection. The garlic knots are sublime and their dessert menu runs the gamut from tiramisu and cheesecake to imported East Coast must-haves like Yodels and Devil Dogs. There are two locations, both covered in fun New York subway decor. The original San Jose location is takeout only so we prefer the Sunnyvale one that includes an entire subway car! Don’t miss the notices on the walls about who has been banned from the restaurant for various infractions, including stealing a Rubik’s Cube.
3443 Stevens Creek Blvd.
1252 W. El Camino Real
No self-respecting New York-style pizza place would put chicken on pizza… would they? Any bad taste in your mouth from previous experiences elsewhere will disappear when you come to family-run Giovanni’s. They have all the usual toppings of course, but the stand-out is the Rustica with roasted chicken, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil. You’ll be licking your plate if you haven’t already eaten it directly out of the box on the ride home.
1127 N Lawrence Expressway
Amici’s is a pizza juggernaut in the Bay Area for good reason. Their East Coast style pizzas with a thin chewy crust are the gold standard. Our favorites are the margarita pizza with fresh basil and tomatoes, the hearth-baked breadsticks, and the artichoke Panzanella salad. At the Mountain View location Penny the Robot sometimes delivers the pizza to your table! Amici’s also is a great location for school fundraisers as they give a big chunk of change back to the school.
If New York-style is your jam, then Bibo's is your spot. This Willow Glen pizza joint specializes in those giant, thin slices that are best enjoyed by folding in half. They use almost a pound of their special mozzarella on each 20-inch pie—a combo of buffalo milk and cow's milk that will send your taste buds into overdrive. Don't want a whole pie? Swing by for a slice. =
1431 Bird Ave.
Best Pizza in the North Bay
Pizzalina’s heated outdoor patio is a great place to dig into an app of burrata before devouring a Neapolitan-style pie cooked in a wood-burning oven. They’re serious about their salads and pasta, too, and even sell their homemade dressings. The bambini menu provides some extra kid-friendly offerings.
914 Sir Francis Drake
Make this cozy small town restaurant a stomach refueling spot on that day trip to West Marin or do like the locals and take the windy half-hour drive when you’re on the other side of Mt. Tam. Once here enjoy the authentic Neapolitan wood-fired oven pizza and fresh local oysters. (That’s so you know you’re in Point Reyes!) And don’t miss their organic salads or the apple pie.
Point Reyes Station
Inside the new biergarten in Tam Junction you’ll find Pizza Hacker, the new outpost of the San Francisco pizzeria that excels at nicely charred, naturally leavened (a.k.a. sourdough) crusts. The Short Bridge pie is a winner with soppressata, housemade sausage, mushrooms, and parm. They also offer a Charles E. Cheese IV pizza which they describe affectionately as “a kid’s cheese pizza” (it’s a margarita without the basil). The salads are serious business—the Intermezzo is a burst of color and flavor and includes radicchio, rainbow carrots, little gems lettuce, chickpeas, a farm egg, and poppyseed dressing. It’s a spot where vegans can be happy, too—for $2 extra you can get Miyoko’s vegan mozzarella on your pie.
226 Shoreline Highway
From their perfect pies to their housemade soft serve, Pizzeria Picco wins on all counts. Just a couple blocks away from a magical redwood park so we suggest going to get your hike on and then heading over for an early dinner. Their petite pizzas make ordering multiples a must, which is a good thing because there are typically nearly a dozen choices, each featuring local, seasonal ingredients. The pies come out of the wood-fired oven perfectly blistered and can be paired with equally amazing salads, soups and sides. But the real bonus is the aforementioned soft serve. Our fave: A twist topped with housemade caramel and crunchy sea salt.
316 Magnolia Ave.
This place is quintessentially Marin—the name is an ode to Mt. Tam, and from the thin-crust pies to the sizable beer menu to the dogs lounging near the outdoor, family-style tables to the menu items named after local hiking trails, it oozes NorCal charm. If you visit during the “kid rush,” from 5-7 pm, you needed to be prepared for a playhouse atmosphere, as this is the go-to spot for parents and kids in the area. End on an epic note and go for the banana split.
477 Miller Ave.