Fresh dough, gooey cheese and just the right amount of sauce—a recipe for deliciousness for parents and kids alike. Whether you go for the deep dish Chicago-style pie, or a plain cheese that you fold in half like the East Coast folks do, the Bay Area has the slice you crave. Dine in, carry out or delivery-only—we’ve got it all in this list of our favorite pizza joints.
Long Bridge Pizza Co.
If thin crust sourdough pizza is your thing, Long Bridge Pizza Co. is your pizza place. Actually, if Detroit or Sicilian style pizza is your thing, then Long Bridge is also your pizza place because they sell those on their popular Square Mondays. (And don’t forget Burger Tuesdays!) Their salads and sandos (including a fresh mozz, a legit Italian, and a meatball sub) are also the real deal and not just an afterthought, as are their rotating craft beers. Named for the wooden causeway that connected San Francisco to Dogpatch in the 1800s, Long Bridge is in a neighborhood that’s great to explore, and particularly good for the kind of exploration that involves food. If you still have room after your ‘za, waddle over to Neighbor Bakehouse next door or the Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream shop a block away.
2347 Third St.
San Francisco, CA
Contrary to popular belief, pineapple *does* belong on pizza... if you’re eating it at Itria, where the pineapple is roasted and accompanied by bacon and fresno chiles. Itria was born just this spring from Dan Evers, formerly of seafood and vegetable-forward AL’s Place and pasta-focused Cotogna. This time though the spotlight is on pizza, specifically the four rectangular pan pizzas that make up the entire pizza menu, in addition to salads, meatballs, burrata (gotta have my burrata!), and dessert.
3266 24th St.
San Francisco, CA
Escape from New York Pizza
It’s nice to have a good stand-by when you need an easy, no frills, counter service meal while you’re in Downtown San Francisco, and Escape from New York Pizza is that place. (There are other locations in San Francisco, but I’m partial to the bright and airy Financial District one with seating on the plaza.) See if the kiddos can spot King Kong climbing the wall. My must order is their famous You Say Potato! pizza covered in roasted potato slices, copious amounts of garlic (copious!), pesto, and of course mozzarella. It’s worth the stinky breath afterwards and your kids are stuck with you so what are they going to do about it?
Pizzeria Delfina is San Francisco’s golden child, and with good reason. Their pies are perfection, but the crowds and long waits (at least in the “before times”) could be a pain for families. There are four Bay Area locations (plus one pop-up in Mill Valley), and we recommend the Fillmore one. Right now this location is pick-up only (Burlingame and Palo Alto are taking diners) and they’re putting the finishing touches on al fresco dining. But when the Fillmore location is back and running for in-person dining be sure to stake out a spot out front, where the kids have a little extra space to run around thanks to an enclosed parklet.
2406 California St.
San Francisco, CA
This local cooperative serves up some of the tastiest pie around, even if they were the target of parody in Pixar’s “Inside Out.” They indeed only offer one type of pizza per day, and it’s never cheese and pepperoni (more like shiitake mushroom, leeks and sesame vinaigrette) but even so, they are known as a kid fave. Order by the slice—we also suggest adding a corn cherry scone—and pull up a chair in their Mission location, or grab a spot in the parklet outside of their Inner Sunset location. They offer par-baked (or fully baked) pies for take out, and the price is right, especially considering the top-notch ingredients. There are also independently run sister co-ops with the same name in San Rafael, Oakland, and Emeryville, as well as The Cheeseboard in Berkeley.
1272 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA
1331 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA
If you haven’t tried it yet, the thought of Indian pizza may leave you scratching your head. But one bite and you’ll be hooked. Zante’s corn-meal-dusted crusts are the perfect base for their incredibly flavorful toppings—spinach, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, green onions and cilantro. We suggest smothering your slices in sweet tamarind sauce, or even ordering a few authentic Indian dishes for more decedent dipping (like chana masala or saag paneer). The no-frills restaurant at the base of Bernal Hill is spacious, works well for large parties, has high chairs and rarely has a wait. Zante also now offers free delivery city-wide.
3489 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Tony, an 11-time World Pizza Champion must be doing something right. His North Beach restaurant is an ode to regionally specific pizza (he has various types of ovens for various styles of pies) and turns out spot-on New York, New Haven, Detroit, St. Louis, Romana and Sicilian pizzas—not to mention tasty pastas and other Italian specialties. There’s a small take-out shop for quick and easy slices.
1570 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA
Square Pie Guys
Square Pie Guys recently expanded to Oakland and has quickly entered the pantheon of East Bay pizza deities. They specialize in Detroit-style pizza which means they have what they describe as a “crispy, crackly, caramelized cheese crust.” It’s like the pan pizza of your youth but done deliciously right. My son in particular, with good reason, is obsessed.
499 9th St.
1077 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA
Deep-dish pizza lovers say Zachary’s is the winner. They do a completely balanced deep dish layered "upside-down" to keep the crust crisp. The downside? You guessed it: The wait can be unbelievably long. (However, that was pre-pandemic. They just opened for indoor dining last week so we’ll see how that goes.) Regardless, they have a system in place that works pretty well. Because the pizzas take 30 minutes to cook anyway, they have guests order when they arrive, so that by the time you are seated, your pizza should be nearly ready. We suggest studying the menu online and coming prepared. While they’re known for their spinach and mushroom pie, I declare their underrated pepperoni pie the best in the Bay Area. And kids love seeing the pizza-themed artwork adorning the walls from their many poster contests.
If you like your pizza night complete with a craft cocktail, this is your spot. Kids will give the Margherita a thumbs up, while the other creative, high-quality dishes (not to mention the killer cocktail list) will elevate family pizza night to something a little more special. This hotspot drew a crowd in pre-COVID times, so as indoor dining continues you may want to come early when dining with the littles.
5008 Telegraph Ave.
It’s hard to decide here between the pan-baked grandma pie and the margarita pizza with fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and basil, so why not get both? Bluebird just reopened for indoor dining. If there’s a wait the kids will be happy perusing the selection of board games and books.
496 E. 14th St.
San Leandro, CA
With eleven locations around the Bay Area (and more beyond), Patxi’s has become an institution for Chicago style pizza in the last 17 years. Their Dublin location doesn’t disappoint during these COVID times, with a pick-up window as well as a fantastic outdoor patio that opened last summer. Patxi’s has a kid’s menu with pizza (duh) as well as piadine and mac ‘n cheese. Don’t forget the honey at the table to drizzle on the crust. Mangia!
5130 Dublin Blvd., Suite S1H
Pizza My Heart
There are dozens of new spots intent on mastering the craft of pizza making, but we have a soft spot for the ones keeping it FUN. Always incredibly family friendly, Pizza My Heart really wins on Tuesdays, when from 4-8 p.m. they put the kids to work. Kids are given a pre-shaped pizza dough on a mini pizza pan, along with a squirt bottle of sauce, and mini-containers of shredded cheese and their choice of toppings. It’s then whisked away and baked up for a dinner they’ll love. Unfortunately this kids-making-their-own-pizza operation is on hold for now, but should return after the summer.
Click here to see all of their locations, mostly in the South Bay and Peninsula.
A Slice of New York
“ASONY” for those in the know was founded by New York transplant, Kirk Vartan, who knows what New York pizza is all about. You know it’s a good pizza when a simple cheese pie is perfection. The garlic knots are sublime and their dessert menu runs the gamut from tiramisu and cheesecake to imported East Coast must-haves like Yodels and Devil Dogs. There are two locations, both covered in fun New York subway decor. The original San Jose location only has a few stools for seating so we prefer the Sunnyvale one that includes an entire subway car! Don’t miss the notices on the walls about who has been banned from the restaurant for various infractions, including stealing a Rubik’s Cube.
3443 Stevens Creek Blvd.
San Jose, CA
1252 W. El Camino Real
No self-respecting New York style pizza place would put chicken on pizza… would they? Any bad taste in your mouth from previous experiences elsewhere will disappear when you come to family-run Giovanni’s. They have all the usual toppings of course, but the stand-out is the Rustica with roasted chicken, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil. You’ll be licking your plate if you haven’t already eaten it directly out of the box on the ride home.
1127 N Lawrence Expressway
Amici’s is a pizza juggernaut in the Bay Area for good reason. Their East Coast style pizzas with a thin chewy crust are the gold standard. Our favorites are the margarita pizza with fresh basil and tomatoes, the hearth-baked breadsticks, and the artichoke panzanella salad. There’s also a menu full of family-friendly pastas. At the Mountain View location Penny the Robot sometimes delivers the pizza to your table! (Call ahead to find out where she is and request a robot delivery when you’re there.) Amici’s also is a great location for school fundraisers as they give a big chunk of change back to the school.
If New York-style is your jam, then Bibo's is your spot. This Willow Glen pizza joint specializes in those giant, thin slices that are best enjoyed by folding them in half. They use almost a pound of their special mozzarella on each 20 inch pie - a combo of buffalo milk and cow's milk that will send your taste buds into overdrive. Don't want a whole pie? Swing by for a slice. They’ve expanded in the last few years beyond their couple-chairs-in-the-back-of-the-market roots and now offer a dining room with arcade games and TVs with sporting events.
1431 Bird Ave.
San Jose, CA
State of Mind
Often you find a pizza place with an excellent crust but a so-so sauce, or a to-die-for sauce but a nothing special crust. Not so at State of Mind where both are perfection. They offer round, pan, and gluten-free pizzas, and have curated a can and bottle list showcasing their favorite craft breweries throughout California. Sitting outside on the sidewalk patio allows for a great view of First Friday festivities at Veterans Community Plaza during the summer. Don’t miss their old-school pizza restaurant arcade, which is also available for private parties. Recently, the take-out oriented State of Mind Slice House opened in the owner’s childhood neighborhood in Palo Alto, and offers familiar menu items as well as slices of some favorites from their Los Altos restaurant menu. At either location the Green Stuff pesto pizza and the Grandma Pie (a double-baked pan pizza) are must orders.
State of Mind Pizzeria and Public House
101 Plaza North
Los Altos, CA
State of Mind Slice House
3850 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA
Blue Line Pizza
The talented pizza lovers from SF’s beloved Little Star are behind Blue Line, which now has seven locations around the Peninsula and East and South Bay. We especially love their Burlingame location, with its spacious back patio lit by twinkling fairy lights. Blue Line is known for their deep dish, but their thin crust, salads and sandwiches are delish, too. We love that instead of crayons, they provide kiddies with Magnadoodles with the kids’ menu printed on the back! And don’t miss out on their totally adorbs heart-shaped pizzas next Valentine’s Day.
Grab a spot outside by the fire pit and enjoy a slice of Neapolitan pizza at Rise Pizzeria in Burlingame. This spot boasts tasty pizza with a healthy twist. Gluten free crusts and dairy free cheese are just two of the options that make this a great spot for those who have dietary restrictions. Parents will appreciate that Rise has swapped out the traditional soda machine for options like lemonade, iced tea and apple juice. There is also a sister restaurant, Rise Woodfire, in San Mateo.
1451 Burlingame Ave
Pizzalina’s heated outdoor patio is a great place to dig into an app of burrata before devouring a Neapolitan style pie cooked in a wood-burning oven. They’re serious about their salads and pastas, too, and even sell their homemade dressings. The bambini menu provides some extra kid-friendly offerings. Plus you can feel good about eating here. In April and May they donated 20% of Tuesday takeout sales to Homeward Bound of Marin and the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
914 Sir Francis Drake
San Anselmo, CA
Make this cozy small town restaurant a stomach refueling spot on that day trip to West Marin or do like the locals and take the windy half hour drive when you’re on the other side of Mt. Tam. Once here enjoy the authentic Neapolitan wood-fired oven pizza and fresh local oysters. (That’s so you know you’re in Point Reyes!) And don’t miss their organic salads or the apple pie.
Point Reyes Station, CA
Inside the new biergarten in Tam Junction you’ll find Pizza Hacker, the new outpost of the San Francisco pizzeria that excels at nicely charred, naturally leavened (a.k.a. sourdough) crusts. The Short Bridge pie is a winner with sopressata, housemade sausage, mushroom, and parm. They also offer a Charles E. Cheese IV pizza which they describe affectionately as “a kid’s cheese pizza” (it’s a margarita without the basil). The salads are serious business—the Intermezzo is a burst of color and flavor and includes radicchio, rainbow carrots, little gems lettuce, chickpeas, a farm egg, and poppyseed dressing. It’s a spot where vegans can be happy, too—for $2 extra you can get Miyoko’s vegan mozzarella on your pie. Pizza Hacker is a good option for outdoor dining with most seating at Tam Junction on distanced picnic tables or Adirondack chairs.
226 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley, CA
From their perfect pies to their housemade soft serve, Pizzeria Picco wins on all counts. Just a couple blocks away from a magical redwood park so we suggest going to get your hike on then heading over for an early dinner. Their petite pizzas make ordering multiples a must, which is a good thing because there are typically nearly a dozen choices, each featuring local, seasonal ingredients. The pies come out of the wood-fired oven perfectly blistered, and can be paired with equally amazing salads, soups and sides. But the real bonus is the aforementioned soft serve. Our fave: A twist topped with housemade caramel and crunchy sea salt.
316 Magnolia Ave.
This place is quintessentially Marin—the name is an ode to Mt. Tam, and from the thin-crust pies to the sizable beer menu to the dogs lounging near the outdoor, family-style tables to the menu items named after local hiking trails, it oozes NorCal charm. Of course now it’s a bit quieter but before the pandemic if you visited during the “kid rush,” from 5-7 pm, you needed to be prepared for a playhouse atmosphere, as this was the go to spot for parents and kids in the area. End on an epic note and go for the banana split.
477 Miller Ave.
Mill Valley, CA
—Kathleen Mikulis & Kate Loweth