Washington Post Names Several San Diego Pizza Spots As Best In California

September 1, 2023

The Washington Post has published a comprehensive review of the best pizza in America, region by region, and several San Diego pizza spots have been named as the tops in California.

The Washington Post has published an article that outlines its nationwide exploration of regional pizza styles, specifically New York, Roman, Detroit, Neapolitan-ish, New Haven, Sicilian and Chicago style pizzas. In addition to discussing what defines each style and its history, the expansive article also includes best pizzas according to local experts and online review aggregator, Yelp. The post spotlights favorite pies from local pizza experts and historians, as well as a set of picks based on Yelp reviews, and also includes an interactive post which shows the restaurants their formula prefers in each state for each style of pizza.

"We only considered pizzerias that had at least 100 reviews and where a substantial share mentioned the pizza style in question," the paper says. "We ranked them with a simple formula that accounted for rating (most important), number of reviews (important) and how often reviews mentioned that particular pizza style (less important)."
Starting off with Detroit-style pan pizza, San Diego's Square Pizza Co. in Pacific Beach was named best in California, beating out the likes of Los Angeles's super popular Apollonia's Pizzeria. Opened in late 2016 by Fred Santos, Square Pizza specializes in three styles of pizza - Boston Beach, Sicilian and Detroit, a thick pan pizza which is characterized by its crispy cheese skirt around the edges, a light and airy crust, and sauce added atop the pizza. 
As for New York style thin crust round pizza, San Diego's iconic Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest was put at the #2 spot in the state. Now one of the city's most popular pizzerias, Bronx first opened on Washington Street on the border of San Diego's Mission Hills and Hillcrest neighborhood in 1997. The restaurant has long been owned by Joann & Matthew Gardner, Peter Canora and Seth "Smitty" Smith, who recently passed away after a brief battle with cancer.

In the category of Sicilian pizza, which is a thick-crust square pie, Sicilian Thing Pizza in San Diego's North Park was ranked second best in California. Opened in 2007 by Paul Wanushek and Michael DeRose, Sicilian Thing Pizza gained a positive reputation around San Diego for its menu of square pan and East Coast-style pizzas, as well as hot sandwiches, Stromboli, salads, desserts, and local craft beer. The restaurant changed hands in late 2019 and transferred to its new owner Atal Atmar, who previously cooked in the kitchen at Catania in La Jolla.
Onto Roman-style pizza, a rectangular pizza with a crispy-yet-airy crust topped with an array of ingredients, two San Diego restaurants made the list. At #2, Gelati & Peccati in North Park is the product of Buona Forchetta founder Matteo Cattaneo and his longtime employees Luca Zamboni and Giovanni Bonomi. Before joining Buona Forchetta Group, Zamboni previously worked under famed Italian pizzaiolo, Gabriele Bonci, who has lines out the doors of his namesake pizzerias in Rome and Chicago. Also on the list in the #4 spot is Gelati & Peccati sister restaurant GP Diner, which opened in summer 2022 in the 2,138 square-foot building that long housed a location of Angelo's Burgers on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. 
Lastly, in the Neapolitan-ish category, which encompasses most artisan-style round pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven, North Park's Caffè Calabria has been named sixth best in California. Established in 1991, Caffé Calabria is one of San Diego's original coffee roasters. At one point it stopped making pizza and devoted the business entirely to its cafe menu, but customers spoke up and the company eventually brought back their hand-stretched, Neapolitan pies.
There were no San Diego eateries included under Chicago or New Haven-style pizza categories for California. For Chicago style pizza, top local spots (as suggested by the pizza addicts here at SanDiegoVille) include Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria, Regent's Pizzeria, and Chicago Bros. Pizza. When it comes to the oblong, coal-fired New Haven-style pizza, sister restaurants URBN Pizza and Bar Basic are where you want to go. 

Check out Washington Post's The Best Pizza in America Region By Region at washingtonpost.com/travel/interactive/2023/best-pizza-new-york-chicago-los-angeles.