In our quest for the best pizza in San Diego we have divided pizzas into four broad categories. Our fourth category we call Good Old American Pizza Parlor style. This is the type of place that is fun for the whole family. Generally, they have games for the kids and plenty of TVs playing sports and beer for the adults. Besta-Wan Pizza House in Cardiff-by-the-Sea clearly falls into this category.
Besta-Wan Pizza House opened in 1965 and it definitely has a funky old school feel. This place is just a fun slice of what Southern California used to be like in the 60s, 70s and 80s before trendiness started to rule the day.
The menu has a little bit of everything, so the pizza label is a little misleading. Sandwiches, pasta, salads, hamburgers, chicken wings, fish and chips, hot dogs, BBQ, even Mexican food…the menu is huge. That makes it perfect because many times only 1 or 2 people in our party want pizza.
The atmosphere is great for families and parties. There is a dog friendly outdoor patio (if you don’t like dogs ask to sit inside) and a cozy interior with several rooms that offer semi-privacy. On our last visit we got the back room with 2 TVs where we could watch two college football games at once with our own remote control!
Just don’t expect gourmet food. The pizza is what I call a standard American crowd-pleasing pie. No frills, tasty but not spectacular. Everything else is generally pub level quality with some hits and misses.
Service is super casual and friendly. Kids can play hula-hoop and other games in a blocked off area of the (small) parking lot. Menus used to come as cover LPs from famous albums from bands like Led Zeppelin. Recently they have switched to covers from Rolling Stone magazine. Our kids love it simply because there are so many choices and it is just a fun place.
A more ambitious version was opened in Carlsbad. Unfortunately, it closed after a few years. To see our full list of top pizza places go here.