Could this be the best pizza in San Francisco? I don’t particularly like absolutes- especially when it comes to food!! Personal taste has so much to do with it, although high quality ingredients and care in preparation go a long way into making all sort of different palates agree. Pizza Nostra seems to be a place to make all agree:
- A pizzaiolo from Naples, aptly named Giovanni;
- An oven imported from Italy (not a wood burning one, but still pretty great!);
- Good mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto and ideas, and
- A menu from which I would have liked to pick many many more items than what we ordered!
Portero Hill has a very rare feature in San Francisco: the possibility of finding a parking spot within the block, without circling three hundred times, and for free, too! That puts me in a better mood to enjoy the food! In addition, the ambiance at Pizza Nostra is welcoming: natural light filters through the skylights, the wood tables give it a rustic feeling, the service is quite spectacular and a nice outdoor patio increases the seating capacity more than 50%.
The reason to make it to Portrero, though, it’s quite simply the food. The appetizers are good and interesting, the pasta dishes looked pretty good (although I didn’t try them), and the pizza is really great. Great. I could not believe they have a gas oven- a really fancy one, but not a wood burning one, and apparently these new ovens are all the rage in Italy right now.
As an appetizers we had a burrata and fava beans salad, and some eggplants involtini with goat cheese filling. They were both pretty good, and both needed some flavor tuning in order to go from good to memorable. But then again, Pizza Nostra has only been open 2 months- I think there’s plenty of room for improvement there!
The French ownership can be “blamed” for some funny misspelling in the menu- my favorite was “Affogatto” among desserts. Sorry, it’s untranslatable, but Italian speakers will get a kick out of it! Desserts were a bit bleak, with a sweet pizza tronchetto taking center stage on the menu. Definitely another area for improvement… but really, go and have a pizza, and everything else will taste better!