I heart pizza. It’s something I can eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My favorite type of pizza is the Neapolitan style, thin crust pizza. Lucky for me, restaurants have been popping up in the Bay Area for the past few years serving up delicious Neapolitan style pizzas out of a wood fire oven.
Bay Area food critic, Michael Bauer offered a few early contenders to be on the 2010 Top 100 list (scheduled to publish in April). Flour + Water in the Mission/Bernal Heights neighborhood is one of them and I finally got a chance to have dinner there. If you are patient, you can always try for a reservation about a month or so ahead of time. Otherwise, walking in for a chance to sit at the bar or community table is another option. The restaurant opens at 5:30pm for dinner, but don’t expect a seat as a walk-in without waiting if you show up past 6pm. Lucky for me, I got there at 5:45pm.
My food companion (FC) and I sat at the bar. It was nice to see what others were eating. I ordered a glass of Aldiano Montepulciano. It was full bodied, smooth, and a great start to what I hoped to be a great meal. I ordered the local yellowtail as my appetizer. It was beautifully presented. The yellowtail was served on avocado, strawberry, blood orange, and meyer lemon aioli, and topped with radish and parsley. Everything about this dish was fresh and the flavors were harmonious.
My FC ordered the wood oven roasted radishes with grey sea salt. This was also very good. Even my neighbor sitting next to me ordered that dish. It was very unique since it’s the first time I’ve had radishes that were cooked.
We both ordered pizza. My FC went with the margherita pizza and I ordered the salsiccia (sausage) pizza. When you drink wine, you should always go from lighter to bolder and I use the same concept for pizza. I sampled the margherita before I dug into the salsiccia. OMG! I think I’ve made it known that pizza is my favorite food. One bite of the pizza from Flour + Water will explain why. The pizza dough is crispy and light with some chewiness from areas where the dough doesn’t bubble up, and the toppings of tomato, basil, mozzarella, and EVOO are basic, fresh, and delicious. The flavor brings out a sweetness and melts in your mouth. The salsiccia pizza was made up fennel sausage, broccoli rabe, mozzarella, and chili. As I bit into the sausage pizza, many different flavors were pouring out. The flavors of the broccoli rabe and the chili popped to balance the sweet and salty with nutty and spicy. Both pizzas scream “bring me back to Italy.”
There were three desserts to choose from. We ordered the fennel ice cream with olive oil cake. Another beautifully displayed item that reminded me of my appetizer. It came with assorted citrus fruit, a prosecco gelee, and candied fennel. I enjoyed every piece of it, but I wasn’t sure how it all fit together. It felt a little bit like a hodgepodge.
But dinner did not end on this note. My FC’s neighbors were enjoying the chocolate budino. They convinced us we should try that next time. The reason we originally skipped it was because my neighbor had one bite and packed it up. She said it was rich. That had discouraged us to try it in the first place. My FC and I said “why wait til next time?” We ordered that too! The chocolate budino was topped with an espresso caramel cream. It was the sweetness and creaminess we needed to end our awesome meal.
Maybe my neighbor packed it so she could savor it at home. But I couldn’t’ get enough. We also helped convince our neighbors’ neighbor to order it as well.
Here are some other suggestions for the best thin crust pizza that I enjoy:
- Gialina, Glen Park, SF
- Pizziaolo, Oakland
- Dopo, Oakland
- Oliveto, Oakland
- Chez Panisse Café, Berkeley
- Pizzeria Picco, Larkspur
- Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
- Two Amys, Washington DC (*Approved by DOC)