When we set out on search for the best pizza in San Diego we know Lefty’s would be on the list. We have been going here for years. Finally, we are getting around to our Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria Review.
Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria has two locations. The original one is in North Park on 30th Street. However, in 2009 they opened a second location in Mission Hills. Ever since this location is our go-to place.
The food is the same at both locations, but the Mission Hills location is much larger and has a great ambiance. It is in an old house that was home to the original Phil’s BBQ (before it exploded and became the most popular place in San Diego).
Lefty’s still retains the rooms and hallways of the old house. This includes a fireplace with a play area for kids. When our children were younger this was a big attraction. Now they mainly love it for the food.
Lefty’s has also opened up a backyard area with outdoor seating. They acquired an old skee-ball machine which you can play for free (it is not plugged in). This location of Lefty’s is very much a place to hang out. The 30th St location is better suited for take-out.
Of course, there is tons of Chicago memorabilia. If there are any Chicago teams playing you can be sure they will be TV.
I waited a long time on doing this review because my favorite food at Lefty’s is their stuffed pizza. Lefty’s has three types of pizza. A Chicago deep dish, a thin crust, and a stuffed pizza. The deep dish and thin crust are available by the slice. You need to order a full stuffed pizza. It is not available by the slice.
The stuffed pizza also takes an hour to cook. What I like to do is call ahead so it is ready when we arrive. The big challenge is getting a group of people together. Last time we went with 4 hungry adults and we managed to finish half of a stuffed crust. The rest we took home for leftovers.
The stuffed pizza is only 14-inch versus 16-inch for the deep dish and thin crust. However, it is more expensive because it is a lot of food per inch. A stuffed pizza starts at $26 versus $20 for a deep dish or $16 for thin crust. Toppings are $2.50 each.
Our favorite topping is the sausage. When you consider that you get 8 slices of a stuffed sausage pizza for under $30 that is a great deal. There are several specialty pies available for $30 or $34 ($27/28 for deep dish or $23/24 for thin crust). The ones we have tried are the Great Sausage Pizza (a full layer of sausage) and the Meaty Pie (meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, and Italian beef). The pizzas with hot giardiniera and elephant garlic sound intriguing but we have never had the nerve to order them.
The reason I rarely get the stuffed pizza is that Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria is so much more than just pizza. They have pasta and salad dishes that my wife love. They also have a great Italian Beef. I get the Italian Beef sometimes, (you can see my versions of both Italian Beef and giardiniera), but usually go for a slice of deep dish.
They usually have cheese, pepperoni, sausage and spinach and mushroom available by the slice. A $4 slice of deep-dish sausage will fill me up. I am not a big fan of Chicago thin crust pizza, but I admit the version at Lefty’s is pretty good. My son loves it.
We probably go to Lefty’s more than any other place outside our local neighborhood haunts. I never get complaints when I suggest Lefty’s. They have something for everyone. This includes items we have yet to try such hamburgers, hot dogs and Polish sausage. They also have a great soft drink selection as well as beer and wine.
I still need to revisit their stuffed pizza to fully decide where Lefty’s ranks in our category of thick pizza (see our taxonomy). I know it will rank in the top 5. My plan is to serve it at the next party, as I have already done with Berkeley and Chicago Brothers (both of which the adults loved).
Fun Diego Family is on a quest to find San Diego’s best pizza in four different categories. Right now Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria is near the top in the thick crust/deep dish category.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2019
Lefty’s made our Best San Diego Thick Crust Pizza list