I’ve been tearing through a lot of pizza lately, and they’ve all been worthwhile. One of my favorites has got to be Pizzeria Delfina, with its savory thin crust and inventive toppings.
I suggested Delfina when fellow food blogger Row of Edible Snapshots was visiting San Francisco. She suggested pizza and I thought Pizzeria Delfina would offer her a good taste of quality pizza with a touch of neighborhood flavor. (We ended up getting a bit more neighborhood color than we bargained for when after dinner walking through the Mission a shirtless man ran by us being chased by a police officer on foot. But I’m getting ahead of ourselves.)
Joining us for dinner was Row’s husband, Ben (aka “the Dude”) and Sandy of Foodhoe’s Foraging. While Pizzeria Delfina has a larger location in Pacific Heights, we chose the original Mission spot so Row could check out the nearby Bi-Rite Market and Creamery.
Our wait on an early Sunday evening wasn’t too long, especially since we agreed to sit at the counter, where we got a front row seat of the pizza-making action.
Pizzeria Delfina’s menu is brief in the categories before and after the pizza, with the bulk of the menu – not surprisingly – focused on the pizzas, including typically three daily specials. Still, there are some fantastic starters that spotlight Delfina’s legacy of fresh California ingredients prepared with simplicity.
A good example is the fresh-cured anchovies ($7). The shiny slivers of fresh anchovies are served with a drizzle of olive oil and a few pieces of toasted bread slices. The insalata tricolore ($8.75) also was a fresh plate of radicchio, endive and arugula with grana padano. The salad was lightly dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.
Pizzeria Delfina is also known for its fried appetizers, so I suggested that Row and Sandy order the aranchini ($7), which looked golden brown with the cheesy interior. (I refrained from the deep-fried balls, and the other Ben is not a fan of cheese.)
For our pizza, we ordered the Clam Pie ($17), which is one of my favorite pizzas because of the nice mixing of clam juice with the tomato sauce. The pizza is a bit spicy with hot peppers, and while this night the Clam Pie had less clam juice as I remembered, the clam themselves were especially meaty.
Our second pizza was a special lamb sausage pizza ($17) with pecorino and dandelion greens. The pizza was a meat-eater’s delight, with lots of hearty lamb meat mixed with the tomato sauce and wilted greens.
Even though we had plans to head over to Bi-Rite Creamery for some post-dinner ice cream, Sandy still couldn’t resist ordering Pizzeria Delfina’s famous ricotta cannolo ($5.25). Made with Bellwether Farms ricotta, this single cannolo had a thick yet flakey crust that wraps around the luscious ricotta speckled with pistachio bits on the ends. It really is a signature dessert.
It was an enjoyable evening of chatting with fellow food lovers, drinking some beer, and munching on satisfying pizzas. There are so many pizzerias in the Bay Area now, but I feel Pizzeria Delfina is among the early ground-breakers and still continues to spin out some of the best pies in town.
Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
Pizzeria Delfina, 3611 18th St., San Francisco. PH: 415.437.6800. Open Mon., 5–10 p.m.; Tue.–Thu., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., noon–11 p.m.; and Sun., noon-–10 p.m. Major credit cards accepted, no reservations. pizzeriadelfina.com
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