Amazingly, San Diego has some great pizza joints. Much of this is because there are so many transplants from, not only New York, but also Italy. For a unique, and delicious, Italian style slice place see NaPizza, operated by a family from Italy. However, most people are more familiar with New York thin crust slice pizza. There are quite a few great places where I can get my regular lunch special of two slices and a drink for under $10. One of my long-time favorites is Bongiorno’s New York Pizzeria in Solano Beach. So in our ongoing search for San Diego’s best pizza, I present our Bongiorno’s Pizza Review.
Bongiorno’s New York Pizzeria
524 Stevens Ave Ste 10
Solana Beach, CA 92075
I have been going to Bongiorno’s for many years. At least 15, maybe 20 years. This is a place off-the-beaten-track, so it doesn’t get the attention of other major slice places like Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest. However, I think Bongiorno’s is as close to, if not better than Bronx Pizza.
Bongiorno’s is located on Stevens Avenue in Solano Beach. This is in an older Hispanic neighborhood, noted for some of San Diego’s best Mexican restaurants. In the same small strip mall there is Rudy’s, an excellent taco shop/market. While it is a short drive from the Del Mar Race Track, this neighborhood is mainly a find for hip locals.
The first thing you will notice walking into Bongiorno’s is the large variety of pizzas available by the slice. It is not unusual to see 15 to 20 different pizzas at any given time. Slices are $3.25 each ($3 cheese) and 2 slices and a soda are $8. You can add a third slice for $2 or substitute one of the slices for a salad for an extra $1.50. One great deal is to make a whole pie from 8 different slices for $22.
Pizzas are available either red (with tomato sauce) or white (a garlic sauce instead of tomato). They always have several unique combinations and making a decision can be difficult. I tend to stick to the basics but they have pies with BBQ chicken, Buffalo sauce, Ranch etc. I am usually a meat topping pizza guy, but I love their artichoke veggie pizza where the tomato sauce is placed in spoonfuls on the top.
Of course, Bongiorno’s offers whole pies. An 18-inch starts at $19 plus $2 per topping. Specialty pies are $21 to $27. A 15-inch pie costs $17 so the 18-inch is definitely a much better deal. This pizza tastes really good leftover! I don’t think their websites list all the different combinations I have seen and I know they have specials, so ask.
Bongiorno’s also serves Italian Hoagies, salads, calzones and stromboli’s (a favorite from my days growing up in Philadelphia). I have tried the stromboli and can vouch for it. My wife loves the Italian Hoagie, but usually, I just get the pizza.
Like many of the great New York pizza joints, Bongiorno’s is quite small. There are maybe six tables inside and a few more outside. The small parking lot can get quite crowded because there is a daycare center, along with 2 other restaurants. I usually park on the street where parking is usually plentiful.
Another Bongiorno’s opened in Poway about ten years ago. This place may have been once related to the Solano Beach location, but I think they are now two completely separate operations. What I find is that many times small pizza owners share a basic recipe and name but then split apart. This is what happened with another San Diego favorite Knockout/Flippin. Nevertheless, the Poway Bongiorno’s has a very similar pizza but we will consider it in a separate review.
We are on a quest to review our top pizza places in the greater San Diego area. This involves revisiting our longtime favorites to make sure they are still up to par. I can definitely say that Bongiorno’s is on the shortlist for favorite New York style pizza.
Make sure and see our full pizza overview here.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2019
Bongiorno’s made our San Diego’s Best NY-Style Pizza list (aka thin crust)