Pizzeria Delfina was another accidental discovery that my mom, sister and I stumbled upon while walking through the Castro and Mission districts in San Francisco. It was a cold and rainy day, and we were on a quest to re-visit Tartine. To our disappointment, it seemed as though everyone else decided that Tartine was the perfect cozy escape for such a rainy day. The crowd was not our idea of relaxation after the long, cold walk, so we backtracked our steps to a pizzeria that we spotted along the way.
Owners Craig and Anne Stoll have a menu inspired by their memories of New York pizzerias and Craig's childhood in Naples. They offer classic pizzas as well as daily special pizzas using seasonal ingredients. Their menu has portions that are both printed and handwritten, as selections change daily. There's also an array of antipasti beautifully displayed along the counter as well as daily soup and salad selections. Desserts are also tempting... if you leave room for them, that is! To round it all out, they offer a nice selection of wine Southern Italy.
The restaurant is set up almost like a diner, with both tables and counter seating. The kitchen is wide open, and customers can watch as the pizzas are being prepared. Upon being seated, you are served with breadsticks, a plate of cheese, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and a glass bottle of water. So simple, yet artistic.
We started off with an antipasti of Satsuma and Walnuts served with fennel and arugula. It was a wonderful pairing of seasonal ingredients. The licorice flavor of the fennel and the peppery arugula were balanced out with the sweetness of the satsumas. All the flavors were brightened up with a light vinaigrette dressing and the walnuts added nice texture.
It was tough to decide upon just one pizza, but we decided to try the classic Margherita. This one was tomato, basil, and Bubalis Mozzarella di Bufala and finished off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil just before serving. The thin Neapolitan inspired crust was crispy on the outside with a thin, chewy center. When I took my first bite of this pizza, my face explained it all! Eyes wide open, a huge grin on my face, and all I could say was "mmmmmmm...." The texture and flavor of the Buffalo Mozzarella is incomparable to plain mozzarella and its definitely worth it to pay a little extra for this one! Combine it with a glass of Italian wine and you have heaven!
If I had any more room in my stomach I would have tried the Clam Pie, which includes cherrystone clams, tomato, oregano, pecorino, and hot peppers, or the Broccoli Raab, which is topped with broccoli raab, mozzarella di bufala, parmigiano, olives, and hot peppers. They also offer a Salsiccia with housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions, and mozzarella. Looks like I'll have to go back for more next time I visit my sister!
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110