Pie High

At a tiny Delfina spinoff, pizza is optional, cannoli mandatory

Second time around I tried some simpler pies. A classic New York combination (chunks of house-made fennel sausage with onions, peppers, and mozzarella) reminded me of my favorite pie at John's of Bleeker Street, only better. The margherita, just tomato, mozzarella, a few basil leaves, and a pinch of Parmesan, let me appreciate the excellence of the sauce, but next time I'd add the optional pepperoni.

Save room for dessert, even if you have to take some of the pizza home; the crust doesn't get soggy, so it's great cold or reheated. You must try the cannoli: thin, crisp pastry tubes filled with creamy, light Bellwether Farm ricotta slightly sweetened with chestnut honey and a bit of candied fruit. To beat this, you'll need a ticket to Sicily. The chocolate-hazelnut torta, like a big brownie, and a daily special pear-huckleberry crostata were similarly subtle and not overly sweet or rich. These are desserts for grown-ups.

The short list of Italian wines, most available by the glass ($4 to $8.50), features southern varietals such as falanghina and aglianico that pair well with the food. The beer selection's disappointing -- just Anchor Steam, Sudwerk Märzen, and Peroni. Maybe there's no room in the kitchen for a keg, but a fresh, hoppy, local microbrew on tap would be a finer fit with the outstanding ingredients in the food.

The Spinoff: A self-conscious, upscale take on a classic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint.
James Sanders
The Spinoff: A self-conscious, upscale take on a classic hole-in-the-wall pizza joint.

Location Info


Pizzeria Delfina

3611 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Mission/ Bernal Heights


Warm olives $2.75

Spicy cauliflower $5

Felino salame $7

Hearts of romaine $7.75

Margherita pizza $11

Amatriciana pizza $13

Bellwether ricotta cannoli $4.25



Open Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m., and Monday from 5 to 10 p.m.

No reservations

Wheelchair accessible

Parking: $8 after 5:30 p.m. in lot at Valencia and 18th streets

Muni: 14, 22, 26

Noise level: moderate

3611 18th St. (between Guerrero and Dolores)

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One testament to Pizzeria Delfina's greatness: I ate there two nights in a row, then the next day polished off a whole pie's worth of leftover slices while writing this review. The day after that, I was still craving the stuff, and if I hadn't had a birthday party to go to, I'd have gone back to try the clam pie. In fact, I'll go do that right now.

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