There's a good reason the itty-bitty restaurant Pizzetta on 23rd and California has won the best pizza in San Francisco by CitySearch. Located in a mainly residential area of the chic Richmond district, Pizzetta is adorned with sparkling fairy lights in the trees out front and was seemingly transported through time and space from a cobbled "via" in Rome. Pizzetta is any Italian-food lover's dream come true.
Though the restaurant is small—about the size of a sample bedroom at Ikea—the menu packs a powerful punch with tasty pizza, calzones, and a surprisingly ample wine and cheese selection. When my friend and I arrived, we were lucky enough to snag an empty table on the sidewalk. Thank goodness for the outdoor heaters blaring down on us, or we would have never been able to endure the foggy San Franciscan chill. Our good fortune of finding immediate seating was not shared by all—about six couples arriving after us had to wait on the benches lining the sidewalk outside. But theirs was a comfortable wait—they were brought blankets and served wine by the friendly wait staff until a table became available.
Pizza purists, Ashley and I ordered pizza margherita (mine with pepperoni). They were delivered to our table piping hot with flaky/chewy crust and that just-right amount of toppings that made us ooh and ahh with every bite. Each mouthful was bursting with perfect Italian pizza flavor, and Ashley and I swore that if the couples waiting for tables weren't sitting there glaring at us, we may have very well each ordered another pizza just for the taste of it.
Closing out our perfect pizza experience, we shared a piece of flourless chocolate cake which was also sensational. Served with a heaping dollop of unsweetened whipped cream, the cake positively melted the moment it hit our palettes.
Final verdict: If you're dying to visit Italy but can't quite get there at the moment, eat at Pizetta.
Pizzetta is at 211 23rd Ave. at California Street, San Francisco. Cost is approximately $12 for a pizza.