A Definitive List of the Best Pizzerias in the Bay Area, According to An Instagram Expert

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George Matelich can’t even count the number of pizzas he’s tried while running his wildly popular Instagram account SliceofSF. When asked, Matelich knows the figure falls somewhere over 500, but certainly under 1,000. Given that substantial number, Matelich, 26, has formed some opinions about pizza in the four years since he started the anonymous pizza review account. He aired out some of those takes in a profile with SFGATE last year, in which he finally revealed his name. But on the eve of his retirement — he’s deleting his account next week, he says — he’s finally compiled his “definitive” list of best Bay Area pies and is sharing it with Eater SF.

Matelich isn’t done with pizza, he just wants to move on from documenting his pizza-eating on Instagram. “I’ve been asked if I’m quitting pizza, but unless some doctor tells me I have to, I don’t think that day is coming anytime soon,” he says. What led Matelich to give up his account and its nearly 12,000 followers was experiencing life after deleting his personal Instagram. “I found myself having these amazing experiences and thinking about them through the lens of what I wanted to post on my story, and I was like, I hate this,” Matelich says. After he deleted that account, he soon realized @SliceOfSF began feeling like a chore.

Now, he says he’s had enough of a great thing. “I learned a ton and I’ve met great people, but would I rather go out with a great feeling about what the four years were? My answer was yes,” Matelich says. “I didn’t want to run it into the ground.”

George Matelich, celebrating 10,000 followers on Instagram.
George Matelich

What the @sliceofsf account has given him — beyond just carbs — is a chance to connect with others. Matelich made friends with pizzaiolos and other pizza obsessives while trying pies across the Bay Area. He also credits the account with introducing him to folks who led to both his last and current job as a product manager at a software company, and a few useful (non-pizza-related) career mentorships. At his latest job, Matelich says his boss is “probably the most pizza-obsessed person I’ve ever met,” and he’s also helped to bring on a former mentor he met through his pizza account into the company. “So now I have a collection of pizza-related people around me at my new job,” he says. (Apparently, the San Francisco pizza network is strong.)

What Matelich also walks away with is a renewed sense of curiosity. “My desire to ask people a lot of questions and learn about random things — with no real agenda — has served me very well. I’m just very happy that I did it with this,” Matelich says. “Some of these things end up feeling like a waste of time, but the ones that hit, it opens up a lot of doors.”

Matelich is shutting down his Instagram account, @sliceofsf, but is still willing to field pizza emails over at [email protected] and www.crustcritic.com.


A Definitive List of the Bay Area’s Best Pizza, according to Slice of SF

Itria
George Matelich

“I know there’s something on here that will drive a lot of people insane,” Matelich acknowledges, as he dives into the list. Of course, pizza opinions can be divisive, but for his list of favorites, Matelich tried to include one pizzeria of every style. “Everything that’s not an honorable mention are places that I would send out-of-town guests — if they could only have one pizza meal in San Francisco based on what they told me their interest was,” he says. He pointed to the Mill as a “cool, amazing bakery experience” that makes pizza taste like it’s on artisan bread”; meanwhile, “Capo’s is really good for super thin crispy, tavern-style pizzas” while “the deep dish they make is pretty good [although] deep dish isn’t my thing”; PizzaHacker is “amazing”; Fiorella is perfect for date nights; but Gioia is a place where Matelich “just wants a slice and then I’ll keep walking.”

Matelich also shouts out Outta Sight Pizza. “I have trouble answering, ‘What’s your favorite pizza?’ questions just because it depends on my mood,” he says. “I can actually say it’s my favorite pizza in San Francisco — at least right now.” Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, however, “[does] everything well, and nothing great,” Matelich says. “Have you ever been to a diner where they have everything under the sun on the menu? That is what they do. And you know, that’s an approach. But it means that some of the quality gets lost.”

As for the pizzas he misses, whether to closure or some other reason, Matelich mentions two: Pauline’s Pizza and Itria. Pauline’s shuttered in 2018 and Matelich respects the restaurant as an institution and the employees who’ve worked there for so long. With Itria, the restaurant still exists, but Matelich remembers the pizzas the restaurant made during its soft opening days, which have since been discontinued. “This makes me sad; Itria did really good delivery pizza and I thought it was incredible,” Matelich says. “They had their mushroom pizza and I’ve never had anything like it. I still find myself craving the taste of it, but I can’t get it anywhere anymore.”

San Francisco

PizzaHacker
George Matelich

  • Outta Sight Pizza
  • DamnFine Co.
  • Square Pie Guys
  • Long Bridge Pizza Co.
  • All Good Pizza
  • A16
  • Gioia Pizzeria
  • Flour + Water Pizzeria (and Yellow Moto Pizzeria)
  • Fiorella
  • Che Fico
  • PizzaHacker
  • Capo’s Pizza
  • Pizza night at The Mill
  • The Pizza Shop
Honorable Mention:
  • Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
  • Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine
  • Del Popolo
  • Pizzetta 211
  • Goat Hill Pizza
  • Casey’s Pizza
  • Pizzeria Delfina
  • Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine
  • Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar
  • Liguria Bakery
  • Marcello’s Pizza
  • Golden Boy Pizza (best drunk pizza)
  • Long Bridge Pizza Co. (out there experience)
Greater Bay Area

Two square slices of pizza from Pollara Pizzeria

Pollara Pizzeria
George Matelich

“If you’re in these areas in the Greater Bay Area, these are the places I think you should go if you want pizza, period, end of story, it doesn’t matter the style — these are places I’ve been that I confirm that I personally think are very good,” Matelich says. “The Pizza My Heart in Santa Cruz inclusion is, for what it’s worth, because that place has spun out some of the best pizzamakers in the Bay Area. [Leah Scurto of] Pizza Leah in Windsor or Lars [Smith] who runs State of Mind Public House & Pizzeria, and their subsequent locations, started their careers there.”

Matelich also pointed to Rose Pizzeria in Berkeley: “When you get to go to a place where you can get some amazing, thin crispy kind of charred pizza and also start your night with oysters and have good wine — the whole thing is great.”

East Bay
  • Raymond’s Pizzeria
  • Rose Pizzeria
  • Bluebird Pizzeria
  • Leaning Tower
  • Emilia’s Pizzeria
  • Nick’s Pizza Made In Oakland
  • Bare Knuckle Pizza
  • Square Pie Guys
  • Pollara Pizzeria
  • The Cheese Board Collective (honorable mention)
  • Zachary’s Chicago Pizza (honorable mention)
North Bay
  • PizzaLeah
  • PizzaHacker (Tam Junction)
  • Pizzeria Picco
South Bay/Peninsula
  • State of Mind Public House & Pizzeria (any location)
  • Oak & Rye
  • Pazzo
  • Pizzeria Delfina
  • Vesta
  • Pizza My Heart (original in Santa Cruz)
  • Pizzeria La Bufala (Santa Cruz)

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