San Diego may be better known for California burritos and fish tacos than it is for pizza, but that perception has shifted in recent years as local pizza culture continues to grow. The range of pizzas available is impressive, from SoCal creations with unorthodox toppings like birria and sigsig to classic Neapolitan and solid renditions of regional specialties like New York, Chicago, and Detroit-style pies. Here’s a rundown of top spots in the area, spanning many different genres of dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings.Read More
20 Essential Pizzerias Around San Diego
These pies are a cut above
Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza
A beloved mainstay in North County, Blue Ribbon was an early practitioner of California’s now-signature style of pizza topped with seasonal ingredients. The wood-fired pie shop is the brainchild of chef Wade Hageman, who opened the pizzeria in 2010 after a career in fine dining.
The Shop: Pizza + Cocktails
Brett Herring, an alum of the Bay Area’s Little Star Pizza, is putting his spin on the deep dish style at this suburban pizzeria. With a crispy, buttery crust, the hefty pies are available as signature combos, like the North County with housemade meatballs, mushrooms, onions, roasted garlic, or customizable with a large range of toppings.
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This UTC-area restaurant and popular takeout spot does solid versions of both New York and Chicago-style pies but its menu spans way beyond pizza to include pasta, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a wide array of local beer.
Angry Petes Pizza Santee Lakes
Gaining a following through regular pop-ups at local breweries, this Detroit-style pizza specialist has a residency inside Desi’s Bar in Point Loma as well as a newish stand-alone spot at Santee Lakes. Along with crispy cheese-edged Detroit pies, it also features Motor City faves like loose meat “burgers” and Coney dogs.
Wayfarer Bread & Pastry
Known for its stellar breads and pastries, this Bird Rock bakery’s take on pizza is equally terrific. With a monthly meat-topped pizza and a seasonal vegetarian pie offered along with classic cheese and pepperoni, pizzas must be pre-ordered for pickup between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, To round out the meal, take home a salad made with local greens and some pizza-friendly wine, beer, or cider.
Ambrogio15 is serving up what it calls the “Milan pizza experience.” Expect this to mean light-as-air thin crusts, organic and biodynamic wines, and sustainable and organic pizza toppings. A second and third location can be found at Little Italy Food Hall and the Sky Deck at Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
Mr. Moto Pizza Pacific Beach
Since opening its Pacific Beach location in 2015, Mr. Moto Pizza has expanded to include locations throughout San Diego including Mission Valley, North Park, Point Loma, Pacific Beach, Encinitas, Seaport Village, Little Italy. The primary style of pizza is New York plus calzones, stombolis and garlic knots, both stuffed and unstuffed.
Square Pizza Co
Find Detroit-style, Sicilian, and thin-crust square slices (aka Boston Beach pizza) at this beachy neighborhood spot. All of the shop’s signature Detroit-style pizzas pay homage to the city and are named after cars like the Chevy with salami, cupping pepperoni, meatball and bacon.
Blind Lady Ale House
One of San Diego’s most-admired practitioners of SoCal-style pizza, this relaxed Normal Heights restaurant is beloved by locals. Topped with farmers market-bought and housemade ingredients, its personal-sized pies pair with a stacked draft beer list.
Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria
With so many Chicagoans calling San Diego home, it only follows that we have a good Chicago-style pizzeria to call our own. Lefty’s, with two locations in North Park and Mission Hills, is deep dish pie’s SoCal home away from home.
Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest is usually the first retort when someone remarks, “there’s no good New York-style pizza in San Diego.” The cheese pie is a classic example but it’s particularly known for the White Stone pie, a traditional white pizza named after an iconic New York City bridge that comes topped with mozzarella, ricotta and garlic.
Pulling double-time as a coffee roaster and cafe, Caffe Calabria also churns out simple wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas with high quality ingredients from its North Park storefront. Plan your visit in advance, as they offer pizzas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
Getting its start as a well-respected pop-up, this North Park restaurant is widely admired for its wood-fired, seasonal pie that are inspired original creations as well as tributes to some of the world’s most notable pizzas. The airy space serves up “Neo-Neapolitan”, New York, and grandma-style pies, baked in a rectangular pan with a thicker crust.
A solid NY-style slice shop that’s been serving Little Italy for years, this casual India Street restaurant serves a takeout-friendly menu of whole pizzas as well as slices and pasta dishes. With another location in Point Loma, its best-known pies include the Meatball Ricotta, BBQ Chicken, and Rustica; there’s also a large selection of vegan and vegetarian options.
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With a location in Liberty Station called Officine Buona Forchetta, plus others in Encinitas, San Marcos, and Coronado, beloved South Park staple Buona Forchetta continues expansion with its classic Neapolitan-style pizzas. Also notable are its gluten-free pies. For a taste of Roman-style pizza al taglio, visit its sister spot Gelati & Peccati.
Isola Pizza Bar
Owner Massimo Tenino runs Isola Pizza Bars in Little Italy and La Jolla, where he serves wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with imported Italian ingredients. Also on the menu is wine from his brother’s vineyard in Piemonte.
A Golden Hill staple, Pizzeria Luigi is considered one of San Diego’s best examples of New York-style pie, with to-go slices at the ready. There’s also a shop on El Cajon Boulevard and in Imperial Beach.
What began as a popular pop-up pizzeria during in the heat of the COVID pandemic launched into this East Village storefront serving Detroit-style pizzas, grandma pies, and New York-style available for pickup or delivery. Helmed by Kevin Gist and Joseph Wehrly, TNT Pizza offers vegan and gluten-free options available by the slice or as whole pies.
Basic Bar & Pizza
This bustling East Village restaurant and bar is one of the only places in town doing New Haven-style thin-crust pizza. Cooked in a brick oven, the pizzas ranges from a signature white pie topped with mashed potatoes (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) to build-your-own creations.
National City’s Market on 8th’s answer to pizza is an innovative outfit that offers traditional toppings along with more unique ones like roasted pork belly or sisig with calamansi cream. Pizzas come available whole round, square or by the slice.