Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

is pizzeria delfina the best in sf?

Arguably yes, if you asked Sheila and I. Pizzeria Delfina is the uber-trendy casual establishment of Craig and Anne Stoll (of Delfina and Locand0) that opened in 1995. It serves Neapolitan style pizzas using local and seasonal ingredients. There are six staple pizzas and two or more daily-changing specials. There are two locations -one in Pacific Heights off Fillmore; and the other on 18th St sandwiched between Tartine and Bi-Rite. Over the past 2-1/2 years, we've probably been the both an equal number of times - maybe 8 times in all, but who's counting!

The place is tiny with around 25 total seats inside and a dozen outside and an open plan kitchen. The environment is casual (more so that Flour + Water and Berreta); and the ambiance is simple and functional. It doesn't take reservations, there's a chalkboard as you enter when names can be added, so be prepared to wait around 30-45 mins any day of the week. We've had some luck during odd hours - post lunch rush around 2pm and pre-dinner rush around 5pm. The place to sit is at the sidewalk tables, especially when the weather is cooperative. More often than not we opt for two pizzas instead of sharing a salad and pizza, but to be honest it's that good! The pizzas remain a constant as well - Panna and Margherita.

The panna is a mouth watering take on a pie with tomato sauce, fresh basil, shaved parmesan, and cream. The tomato sauce is fresh, slightly chunky, and a bit sweet. The fresh basil give the dish an aromatic punch; the shaved parmesan (thin strips) provide the salty element; and lastly the cream (sorta like a creme fraise) provides the silky buttery aftertaste. Oh wait, don't forget about the crust - thin, crispy, and always slightly burnt - it's cooked in a wood fire oven at about 700 degrees. The one word that comes to mind with this crust is consistent. You always know what you’re going to get – it’s not paper thin like a cracker and not overly chewy like some other California-style crusts. The perfect blend of crunchy and chewy, we feel this crust is the best in the City. And at $10, this is one of best bargains for high end hipster pizza.

The margherita is a simply prepared with the freshest of ingredients. The tomato sauce and fresh basil (same as the panna pie) are juicy and bursting with flavors. The fior di latte mozzarella is soft, silky, and. This is pie best eaten piping hot from the even – when the sauce is still bubbling, the crust still steaming, and the melted mozzarella falling off the slices. The pizza just doesn’t have the same character after getting cold – of course the same can be said for most others. It’s been a while since I’ve had the margherita pies at Gialina, Zero Zero, and Beretta; but for my money, Pizzeria Delfina takes the prize. The perfect crust, with fresh ingredients, cooked in a wood fired oven, served steaming hot! It is $12.50; which is a reasonably priced when compared to its competitors.

So to conclude, Pizzeria Delfina is the real deal. Sheila and I would recommend this place hands down. The Mission location has the ambiance, but the Pacific Heights location is larger and easier to find parking. Again, the food quality is great at both and the wait may like be the same. Service can be hit or miss (hipster status quo); we’ve had many more positive experiences than negative. Skip the appetizers and dessert (Tartine and Bi-Rite are next door) and order one pie per person. If there are left0vers; don’t fret I’d be glad to help out. Happy eating, from the pizza monster!

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