A new season calls for a certain sort of to-do list: Below, our bucket list for summer's more festive meal: the humble pizza pie, in a variety of stylings (deep-dish Chicago! super-seasonal West Coast! Jersey-style pile-ons!) and across-the-board deliciousness.
Del Popolo: Margherita di Bufala
You'll want to set yourself up for victory with a spring chicory Caesar — followed by the best margherita pie in town, with crushed tomato, mozzarella di bufala, and basil. For us it's well worth the extra $4 for the upgrade from the regular (i.e. non-bufala) margherita — though your cheese-buying mileage may vary. We'll note that the most seasonal item on the pizza list — the Wild Mushrooms with spring onion and lemon — is great. But we love the margherita.
Jersey: The New Yorker
For relocated Mid-Atlantics, this is as close as they'll find to true-blue Jersey-style pies. The menu is divided into East and West Coast-style pizzas — this one, with provolone, mozzarella, pork sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, and tomato sauce — is definitely the former, and best eaten on the way to the ballpark. Note: The weekday happy hour begins at a downright convivial 2:30.
Capo's: Sam Giancana
Is it the best deep-dish Chicago-style pie on the West Coast, with Calabrese sausage, "Chicago Italian sausage," provolone, mozz, and tomato sauce — plus Chicago's own Ceresota flour? Our survey: enthusiastic if not exhaustive — though signs point to yes so far.
Fiorella: Clam Pie
Go with an empty stomach, because you'll want to start with fried mozz (in sage and brown butter), finish with the vanilla panna cotta (with honey and bee pollen) — and in the middle, loosen the belt for a pie covered in chopped clams, fior de latte, garlic and more.
Farina Pizza: The Contadina
We saved our top pick for last. We're not gonna lie: This is our year-round, all-weather pick, with sausage, fior di latte mozzarella, and sautéed broccoli. We know, too, that it's a controversial one, what with Delfina just down the block. Farina's, though, makes our favorite pie on 18th Street. Grab a seat at the bar and watch the Valencia Street crowds go by.