Vienna Pizzaria, previously known as The Pizza Guys, extinguishes hunger with customizable pies that headline a full menu of fresh, casual Italian and American fare. Dough molders draw from an arsenal of 38 classic and exotic toppings⎯including everything from clams and boiled eggs to corn and hearts of palm⎯to festoon 16-inch large pizzas. Guests may also take the old-fashioned route with tried-and-true embellishments such as pepperoni and mushrooms, creating a meal as traditional as an edible Norman Rockwell painting. Additionally, house salads squash vegetable cravings with a flurry of ingredients, including kidney beans, cucumbers, and black olives.
Broccoli, zucchini, clams, and linguica sausage. They’re not the kinds of pizza toppings you find at every Italian restaurant, but at Luigi’s, chefs give each bite of hand-tossed pizza the potential to truly evoke the flavors of Italy. While seated on padded maroon chairs, guests can dig into the eatery’s other specialties such as seafood risotto and eggplant parmigiana, or pasta dishes that include linguini with clams and house-made gnocchi. Guests sipping on glasses of Californian or Italian wine can admire framed artwork of old-country landscapes or glance outside one of the restaurant's many windows in hopes that a vineyard has suddenly sprouted up across the street.
Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of his signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. His appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
Pizza Express bakers love working in front of a crowd. The restaurant's pizza-making station sits directly in front of the storefront window, giving customers an up-close look at how each pie is made. With passerby watching, bakers knead and toss dough before smothering it with zesty tomato sauce and blanketing it with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, black olives, and peppers. Such a spectacle can inspire ravenous cravings for a slice. And though the restaurant specializes in take-out and delivery orders, customers can always take a seat at one of the restaurant's tables to grab a quick bite or eat half of a take-out order and then later explain to the family that the box ate it.
On a charming corner in Noe Valley, the black awning of neighborhood favorite Basso's Restaurant draws guests inside, where they watch chefs pull the crackling crusts of Napolitana-style pizzas from ovens in an open-concept kitchen. Whole-milk mozzarella bubbles on each pie before diners decorate it with toscana salami, organic green-apple slices, or festive tinsel. House-made meatballs, which use beef from the humane farm Niman Ranch, sit inside toasted sandwiches, stand next to forkfuls of spaghetti, or arrive à la carte as sides.
Much like the bird that bears its name - if that bird had opposable thumbs and a penchant for Italian food - Eagle Pizzeria serves up gooey pizzas alongside other Italian favorites. At the casual eatery, framed photos of baseball stars, newspaper clippings, and other sports memorabilia pack the butter-yellow walls, as patrons nosh on pesto bread over red and white checked tablecloths while perusing a menu that includes everything from hot sandwiches to spaghetti with baby clams. Hand-rolled dough, made fresh every day, bakes into a crispy crust that's covered in whole milk mozzarella and specially blended tomato sauce. Specialty pizzas cater to carnivores with a meat lovers' pizza - topped with six meats - and travel the world with Greek toppings such as olives and feta or Hawaiian toppings such as bell peppers and pineapple. Gluten-free crusts are also available.