Barely a wave's crash from the water, Del Mar Pizza has hosted hungry beach-goers—some sans shirt or shoes—at its tables for more than 20 years. Amid walls lined with long surfboards and artful beach photography, chefs whip up gooey specialty pizzas by the pie or slice, with traditional or New York–style thin crusts. After downing a brew on the outdoor patio, patrons can head inside to two-hand a Boar's Head deli sandwich or clamber up overhead lights to hang ten on wall-mounted surfboards.
Extreme Pizza’s pies are just about as creatively named as they are creatively designed. The Mr. Pestato Head pie, for example, combines homemade pesto sauce, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, and feta cheese. The mold-breaking creations, available at the pizza shop's numerous nationwide locations, all start with the same foundation: a freshly baked crust, available in classic and whole-wheat varieties. Extreme Pizza also sates appetites with chicken wings, subs, salads, and calzones—also known as full-size pizza dumplings.
Baking up a fresh, Californian spin on traditional New York-style thin-crust pizza, the chefs at Pizza Pronto craft gourmet pies using premium ingredients, a blend of Italian cheeses, and homemade sauces. They adorn their creations with all-natural toppings, including grilled eggplant, basil, and spicy gyro meat carved onsite. In fact, Pizza Pronto's fresh ingredients and crusts earned the eatery a 2012 Golden Grub Award and a spot on the Union Tribune's Best Pizza of 2012 finalist list.
As pizzas adopt golden hues inside ovens, chefs whip up hearty pastas, sandwiches, and marinated kebabs. They also forge robust salads that can complement any meal with crisp lettuce, veggies, and grilled meats.
Rossi's Pizza and Family Sports Bar’s culinary team depends on the fruits of California. Chefs incorporate local cheese, olives, and bread into their dishes, and stock the bar with more than 15 wines, all of which are bottled in state. The cooks bolster regional ingredients with handmade dough, a special three-cheese blend grated in-house, and from-scratch marinara sauce, ranch dressing, and garlic butter. Beyond that, chefs craft award-winning homemade lasagna from a family recipe, pile BBQ roast beef and oven-roasted chicken onto Italian rolls, and crown specialty pizzas with toppings such as cashews and sliced avocado. They also serve bar classics such as chicken fingers and hamburgers.
Along with Californian wine, 25 draft beers served in frosted mugs can help wash down meals, which unfold in a spacious dining area that surrounds guests with exposed brick, flat-screen TVs, and sports memorabilia. In the private team room, groups can enjoy a slice while reviewing strategies on a whiteboard and watching game footage on a big-screen TV . After feasts, patrons can stick around for games in Rossi’s arcade, which includes more than 17 classics such as pinball, foosball, and air hockey.
The aroma of freshly baked pizzas crowned with pepperoni, meatballs, and garlic fills the air every day at Coney Island Pizzeria. In the kitchen, the cooks assemble Coney Island–themed pies, such as the Luna Park with pepperoni, bacon, and pineapple and the Wonder Wheel, topped with alfredo sauce, bacon, meatballs, and green peppers. During two-hour pizza-making classes held every Saturday, students learn to re-create the restaurant's signature pies, preparing the dough, making the sauce, and topping the pizzas with fresh ingredients and cheese. After sessions, students tote home a complimentary 18-inch pie of their choice or the choice of the myna bird living on their back.
From thin, two-handed East Coast staples to the Midwest's famed deep-dish variety, Sweet Home Chicago brings the best to the west. Feast on a super skinny slice of NY-style pie smothered in cheese ($11 medium, $14 large), pepperoni and sausage ($15 for a medium), or pepperoni, sausage, meatball, mushroom, onion, and green peppers ($19 for a large). Toppings run the gamut from black olives to banana peppers. Chunky tomato sauce crested atop a buttery crest with mounds and mounds of cheese epitomize the Windy City's stuffed pie. Stretch stomach muscles to the moon and back with a monkey pie, studded with sausage and banana peppers ($17 medium, $21.50 large), or a meat-heavy and jalapeño-blessed El Goffo ($19 medium, $23.75 large). Sweet Home Chicago also serves Chicago-style thin crust (browned cheese, square cut), calzones, and salads. A wide selection of rotating craft beers makes perfect pizza companions.