Top 12 Pizza Places in San Diego California

Top 12 Pizza Places for 2012 in San Diego, CA… Rated by premier food critic, Steve Carlson of

Let 2012 be the year of the pizza with the help of
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Whether the search is on for the best bang for your buck, the greatest atmosphere, or the tastiest slice, Southern California is teeming with enough pizza pubs, sit-downs, and holes-in-the-wall to satisfy your craving. Food expert Steve Carlson from has followed his taste buds throughout the San Diego area to create the perfect cheat sheet for trying the best of the best. Take the challenge and go on a cheese spree by dining out at Food Smackdown’s top twelve must-eat pizzerias in San Diego.

#1. Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria in Encinitas: Set the mood at the restaurant with the best rated ambiance: Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria in Encinitas. Casual meets romantic in this charming ode to the mingling of Italian and American flavors. Get better acquainted over one of their traditional wood fired artisan pizzas like the “My Father’s” which is topped with pepperoni, house-made fennel sausage and red onions. The prices are higher than average, but they use only the freshest organic ingredients for the highest quality pizza every time.

#2. Pizzeria Luigi in San Diego: Got only a short lunch break and a hankering for a slice? Grab the best bite on-the-go at Pizzeria Luigi in San Diego. This true hole-in-the-wall pizza place offers a fantastic deal at only $2.75 a slice with toppings. Take a taste of Hawaiian heaven by trying their pepperoni, pineapple, jalapeno, and ricotta cheese concoction. Make sure to remember to bring cash as they do not accept credit cards.

#3. Besta-Wan Pizza House in Cardiff by the Sea: Besta-Wan Pizza House in Cardiff by the Sea has personalized pizzas down to an art form. For a rather reasonable price, customers can get the perfectly sized pizza to satisfy their cravings while enjoying a fun meets funky setting. Guests can even bring their furry friends for a little R&R on the outdoor patio while having a bite. For a flavor laden treat, the BBQ chicken pizza is a must try as it overflows with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro.

#4. Carmine’s Pizza in Oceanside: For a well-rounded meal, head over to Carmine’s Pizza in Oceanside. Start off right with one of their lusciously soft and generously seasoned garlic knots and then move on to salad and their New York Style pizza. A puffy outer crust leads down to a thin, crisp middle that’s chock full of toppings. Finally, wash it all down with a Crème Brule desert that has been toasted to perfection.

#5. Basic Urban Kitchen & Bar in San Diego: Family friendly blends seamlessly with the social scene at Basic Urban Kitchen & Bar near Petco Park in San Diego. Take a seat in this casual sports bar and take a chance on the mashed potato and bacon pizza. These unique flavors meld together to delight in a way customers never would have thought of, on a crisp and thin New Haven, Connecticut style crust. Ask the staff for other unique combinations–they are always ready to introduce newbies to something delicious.

#6. Bongiorno’s New York Pizzeria in Solana Beach: Bongiorno’s New York Pizzeria in Solana Beach has been hiding under foodies’ noses for years. Their buffalo chicken pizza with a New York style thin crust is worth a trip. Mouth watering garlic chicken, wing sauce, and garlic parmigiana is topped with a generous helping of ranch dressing for a flavor explosion. Bongiorno’s is a great stop on a lunch run as pizza comes by the slice and at a reasonable price.

#7. URBN Coal Fired Pizza in Vista: Gobbling down a coal fired pizza should be a must try on any pizza fanatics list. For a crust that’s cooked to perfection, URBN Coal Fired Pizza in Vista is a must try. A modern industrial atmosphere of exposed piping and brick walls greets customers along with the scent of baking dough. Go with the basic pepperoni and cheese so the flavors brought out by the unique cooking method can truly be savored.

#8. Zia Gourmet Pizza in Normal Heights: On a diet but dying for a slice of the good stuff? Head on over to Zia Gourmet Pizza in Normal Heights and try their healthy whole wheat crust pizza by the slice. Fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs are used to create a nutritious meal that won’t loosen the belt buckle another notch. But if there’s still room for something sweet, Zia’s is not a place to skip dessert. Their Banana Split slice is an amazing treat of chocolate, banana, light cream cheese and chocolate syrup.

#9. Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest: Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest, one of the most popular pizza places in San Diego, is known for their cool Bronx, New York theme. Photographs of famous athletes and boxers adorn the walls, and a case full of fresh gourmet pieces stares customers down, daring them to take a bite. Pepperoni pizza connoisseurs should watch out as Bronx’s slice puts other restaurants’ to shame. It will soon become a diet staple, thanks to the way two types of sausage mingle with pepperoni on their signature New York style thin crust.

#10. Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria in North Park: When in North Park or Mission Hills check out Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria for a delicious dining experience. This hole-in-the-wall features deep dish and stuffed crust pies in a very relaxed atmosphere with patio seating. For a taste of the authentic get the golden deep dish with fresh pepperoni, or try the stuffed crust which features pure Wisconsin mozzarella cheese sandwiched between the crispy layers.

#11. Sicilian Thing Pizza in North Park: Ever heard of a ravioli and meatball pizza? If not, then head over to Sicilian Thing Pizza in North Park for a taste of something fresh. This fun establishment is a hot spot in the San Diego community with an array of unique thin crust and square, thick slices. The ravioli and meatball is an ultra-thick square that towers with layers of cheese, crumbled meatballs, and cheese-filled ravioli. Remember to bring cash lest you miss out on the experience.

#12. Blackstone Pizza in San Marcos: A great atmosphere and superior pizza go hand-in-hand at Blackstone Pizza in San Marcos. Known for their eclectic menu of deliciously paired ingredients, they have a $6 deal which lets customers sample two slices and a soft drink. Local favorites include the Street Taco which comes with chili verde sauce, carnitas, avocado, and red onions, and the vegetarian Shangri-La which has a rich pesto base topped with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers.

Food SmackdownFood SmackdownABOUT FOOD SMACKDOWN: When the battle over where to eat lunch heats up, consult the website that has Southern California buzzing. is the only place to get honest, good-eats advice about the best places to dine on burgers, pizza, sandwiches, wings and food trucks. Founded by foodie, food photographer, and consultant Steve Carlson, known as a “famous food critic” by San Diego locals, Food Smackdown revolves around his personal experiences in some of the most highly recommended joints to small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Food Smackdown puts a wealth of delectable knowledge right at the fingertips of SoCal’s populace, so there’s never another dining fiasco. The site features reviews that include mouth-watering photos, directions and pricing, atmosphere and service ratings, and of course how it all adds up on the taste buds.

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  1. Elizabet Soens says:

    I thought for sure Del Mar Pizza would be on this list, it’s equal or better in quality, location and service is excellent and they have been around for over 20 years! Hate to not see my favorite spot on here.. might leave me with not having to fight off to big of a crowd I guess…

  2. Kelly says:

    Where’s Berkeley Pizza?!

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