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“Fabulous pizzas!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pizzeria Delfina

Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Mission District)
(415) 437-6800
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Ranked #106 of 4,525 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Delivery, Late Night, Outdoor Seating
Neighborhood: Mission District
Salt Lake City, Utah
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Fabulous pizzas!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

I am a big fan of arugula and when I came across their prosciutto pie I knew I was going to love it. It was perfection! We also got the margarita pizza and their sausage pizza as well. Make sure to grab a scoop of their vanilla gelato with chocolate syrup...it's incredible.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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183 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    109
    53
    16
    3
    2
Rating summary
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    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Trenton and Naples Collide in San Francisco; You Win”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

When most people think of the great pizza cities, they cite New York (of course) and frequently Chicago (I've yet to personally confirm that). Those more in the know will mention New Haven CT and even Trenton NJ. And it's increasingly true that you can find destination pizza in most American cities.

But without the helpful reports of pizza nerds online, I never would have suspected that San Francisco is among the pizza elite cities. In March 2013, I had a two-day meeting in Sonoma, which meant a flight into San Francisco and then a drive to Sonoma. It presented an opportunity to stop for a pizza lunch in the city before crossing over the Golden Gate into wine country.

I targeted five pizza spots, then narrowed the list to three because two of them are not open for lunch. On my short list was Pizzeria Delfina, Tony's Pizza Neapoletana, and Gioia Pizza. Tony's was especially intriguing, because they have several kinds of ovens to make an astonishing assortment of pies -- Neapolitan, Roman, New York, even Trenton! But I finally settled on Delfina because various reports pointed to a hybrid Neapolitan/Trenton pie. In other words, promise of a Neapolitan pie that isn't soggy in the middle.

Delfina is at 3611 18th Street, in what appears to be a hipster-ish area near Dolores Park. Parking was difficult until we found a bunch of empty metered spots three blocks away on 17th Street (cheap parking, compared to other cities, just 25 cents per hour). The pizzeria is tiny on the inside, with a few tables and one narrow bar that seats maybe four or five. The website claims total inside seating for 24; those better be small people! Other available seating is at tiny tables on the sidewalk, and that was perfect for our unseasonably warm March day.

I was travelling with a colleague, and we opted to order two different pies (all the pies are personal size) and split them. We chose the Broccoli Raab pie, which also included caciocavallo and mozzarella cheeses, black olives, and hot peppers. For balance, we selected the Salsiccia pie, with housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions, and mozzarella.

Delfina has a well-considered wine list, with some very nice Aglianico for about $11 per glass. It was a nice way to begin, munching on some crisp thin breadsticks, waiting for the pies.

Both pies arrived fairly quickly, and they looked very Neapolitan. Delfina's website says that the pizza is "inspired by Craig's memories of New York-style pies from his youth and pizza from the best pizzerias of Naples. The menu features six Neapolitan inspired, thin crust pizzas." The broccoli raab pie came first, and it had a substantial amount of cheese and wet raab. That could have been a soggy-center situation, but the absence of tomatoes on this one kept it together.

Indeed, as we removed slices from the tray and looked underneath, we could see some accumulating moisture. But the bottom of this crust had a distinct crispness to it; there was no hint of sogginess. The pizza at Delfina is indeed a hybrid, even if it is 80 percent Neapolitan and 20 percent New York. Actually, to my perception, the crisp bottom and zero-tip-sag was more characteristic of Trenton and New Haven than the softer, foldable New York slice. But surely no matter how you label it, the crust was masterful.

I thoroughly enjoyed the raab pie, but it once again confirmed for me that vegetable-topped pies will rarely resonate with me like a pizza with cured meats on it. This raab had a bitter (in a good way) snap to it, but its strong flavor was a distraction from the good cheeses and the brilliant crust. Overall, the pie was excellent, but I wouldn't choose it again.

The sausage pie had that same perfection in the crust, with one of the best corniciones I've seen or tasted -- big puffy blistered handles with an al dente chew to them. Once again the thin crust, even loaded fairly heavily with wet cheese and tomato and sausage, remained crisp and sturdy, practically defying gravity. No knife and fork needed! The taste was wonderful, with good chunks of tomato harmonizing with creamy mozzarella and the savory sausage.

The red bell pepper and purple onion were welcome veggie additions (especially the onion) but they were cooked a little less than ideal, probably because this pie spends such a short time in the oven. Still, they enhanced the pie.

On my list of "58 Pizzas Worth the Calories" (visit Pizza Quixote to see it), the highest-ranking Neapolitan pies are Motorino and Forcella. Trenton, New York, and New Haven pies fill out my top spots due to their superior crusts. But because Delfina's modified Neapolitan succeeds in avoiding the soggy center, it rises above most, if not all, Neapolitan pies I've had. I'll re-do the rankings sometime soon, and I expect Delfina will get slotted ahead of all the other Neapolitans.

The crust gets 9.5, the tomatoes 8, the cheeses 9, the sausage 8, the veggies 7. The service was warm and engaging, and the al fresco atmosphere enhanced the good California vibe. It was pricey, but still a decent value. Overall, Delfina gets a 9.25. This is wonderful destination pizza and I'd gladly return for more.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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seattle
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Clam pizza!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

We went early and sat at the counter, so had a great view of the pizza making. How often do you find a pizza topped with clams and a spicy tomato sauce and just a sprinkle of cheese? We had to try it and though one pizza was plenty for two people, I could have lost my mind and eaten the whole thing. Loved the pecorino and fava bean appetizer. If you think the price was steep, you haven't sat in front of a huge bag of favas, podding and shelling. Very special food.

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San Francisco
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Best Pizza in SF”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

I almost hate to say it, but i think it is the best pizza in SF. There are quite a few very good pizza places, but these guys do it best!

Visited February 2013
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San Francisco
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“I'm not crazy about pizza ...but”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

that is probably because I've never had pizza as good as Pizzeria Delfina. The restaurant is small...no, tiny...and on a rainy winter day when you can't sit outside it can be be a wait at lunch time so go early. At noon on a week day we were able to walk right in but by 12:15 there was a wait.
The salads are crisp and lightly dressed. The Margarita pizza is the perfect blend of sauce, cheese and fresh basil....and the crust... a bit of crunch on the edge and a soft (yet stable) base. Looking around at the other tables it is clear to me that I must go back and try other things on the menu as well.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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