San Diego has a wide range of pizza styles and we are setting out to try as many as possible in our search for San Diego’s best pizza. One of the most unique pizzas we have come across can be found at Napizza, which is slowly expanding out from its original location in Little Italy. Our most visited location is the one near us in 4S Ranch, but we are pretty sure the menu and quality is the same at all locations. So as a serious contender for San Diego’s Best Pizza we present our Napizza review.
10550 Craftsmen Way #186
San Diego, CA 92127
4301 La Jolla Village Dr, Suite 2033
San Diego, CA 92122
1702 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
615 S. Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
Our first introduction to Napizza was when we watched a demonstration from one of their chefs at a street fair in Little Italy. He described the pizza as a Roman-style square pizza that was on a focaccia-style crust. This is a thicker crust, but one that is very airy and thus lighter than many crusts. It was interesting because having been to Rome several times we have noted the predominant style of pizza was a cracker thin crust.
The type of pizza at Napizza we more associated with the Genoa area of Italy. That is not a bad thing in our book. Rome is actually not that great a pizza city. We have tried making the Napizza style of crust using recipes from pizza dough expert Peter Reinhart. His recipe for Genoa style pizza dough seems similar to what you find at Napizza. Frankly, it can be quite a project so we are happy to leave ourselves to the hands of the experts at Napizza.
Napizza is owned by a couple from Italy, presumably outside Rome, so this pizza is authentic Italian style. It was just much better than any pizza we have actually gotten in Rome. The dough uses high-protein flour from Italy that is aged for 3 days. Supposedly this allows them to use less yeast and lets the sugar breakdown. The end result is a dough that is thick, but light and airy. In other words, it is not a stomach bomb like many pizza doughs.
Outside of the dough and the square slices, the next thing you will notice about Napizza is their toppings. Yes, they have a standard cheese margherita and pepperoni, but their pizzas are all pre-created combinations. This is not a place where you to build your own pizza. Instead, they have about 12 different types of slices which are quite unique.
My favorite is the La Lasagna slice which has a bolognese sauce and a bechamel sauce. This is a very unique slice and, along with the mushroom-based Truffle Porcini, the Meaty Trifecta and the L’Americana is the most expensive at $5.75 a slice. Other slices are $3.75 to $4.75 (they lowered the price of some slices starting in 2018), with the pepperoni at $4 and the margherita at $3.50. Other good choices include the Bapo, which is bacon and potato, and The Spice Me Up with sausage, red peppers, and jalapenos.
At a price of $5 and up per slice, Napizza sounds expensive. While it is on the higher-end for pizza slices, one slice is all most people need. Recently they have changed their menu around somewhat and actually lowered prices. Basically, if you order a combo of two items and a drink, you get a discount on each item. Their salads are really good and what we almost always choose in a combo, but they also offer a rotating selection of soups. They have a chicken and BLT panini for $9.75. There is a full range of entree salads from about $7 to $10 (they have significantly lowered the previously unreasonable salad prices), but we stick with the house ($4.50) or caesar salad ($5.50). The combos include half orders of salads or paninis.
The soda fountain has a selection of Maine Root Sodas and they also have a selection of probiotic juices and other fancy drinks that can be ordered in a can or bottle. There is wine from $6.50 to $10 a glass and premium micro beers on tap for $6 a pint. In a combo, you can upgrade your soda to beer or wine for $4 more.
One thing that probably confuses many about Napizza is you don’t really order a traditional pizza for takeout. There is a take and bake service where you pick up slices and take them home to finish cooking but you are still ordering by the slice.
Starting in 2018, Napizza has changed things around some. Under the old specials, you could order any 6 slices for $4.25 a slice and any 12 slices for $4 a slice. There was also a special for any two items and a drink for about $11 (choosing from slices, salads, and paninis). This was a good deal as long as you are not ordering inexpensive items like margherita or pepperoni. Now, the special gives you a $0.25 discount per slice ($0.50 on paninis or salads). Ordering 6 or more slices gives a $0.50 discount per item. This means you can get 2 cheese slices and a drink for about $7.50. This is line with the price at most slice pizza places. Of course, you pay more than before for ordering multiple slices of the premium pizza.
Overall, Napizza provides a great new type of pizza experience. The new pricing scheme makes it more family/party friendly when you have picky eaters that just want cheese or pepperoni. This is one of the best pizza places in San Diego. Over the next few months, we will be visiting each of the top pizza places in the area at least twice. Right now we are confident Napizza will be very high up on our list.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2019
Napizza made our Best San Diego Thick Crust Pizza list