Downtown La Jolla Village seems like a strange place to find a quality NY-style thin crust pizza slice joint. This is an area of fancy restaurants and the birthplace of West Coast pizza pioneer Sammy’s California Woodfired Pizza. However, across the street from Sammy’s there is a true gem in the modest Pizza on Pearl. In Fun Diego Family’s quest for the best pizza in San Diego this is our Pizza on Pearl review.
NOTE: After our review, the name of Pizza on Pearl was changed to Mr. Moto Pizza House. It appears that ownership remains the same. There are several other Mr. Moto pizza places in San Diego we have visited. We plan to do a few more visits and write a full review and update. I will say we thought Pizza on Pearl was better than Mr. Moto so we are hoping there has not been too much of a change.
Pizza on Pearl falls squarely in the NY-style thin crust of our pizza taxonomy. Our family eats this style more than any other because 2 slices and a soda or salad make a great, quick lunch. Pizza on Pearl is in an expensive neighborhood, right by Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealers. However, there prices are right in line with the competition. 2 slices and a soda are $7.50 and a slice, salad and soda is $8.50. 3 slices and a soda are $9.50.
Like many great NY pizza places, Pizza on Pearl is fairly small, with just a few tables. There are a few parking space out front, but most parking will be found in the side streets. Right next door is the extremely popular Taco Stand. In the past two years, we have been going to Pizza on Pearl more often than normal because the Taco Stand is too crowded.
Luckily no one complains about switching from tacos to pizza when it comes to Pizza on Pearl. There are all kinds of pizzas to choose from, as many as 16. One thing I really like is for $21 you can make a slice pie which consists of 8 different slices of your choice. This is great when you have 3 or 4 people.
Like many NY style places, Pizza on Pearl has a version of white pizza which replaces the red sauce with a garlic paste. They also do the popular BBQ and buffalo chicken pizzas. Their most bizarre pizza has pears! Of course, they also have just about every standard topping you can think of.
Delivery and take-out are available for whole pies. Whole pies start at $17 for an 18 inch. Specialty pizzas go for $20 to $23. Unlike many NY pizza places, Pizza on Pearl also offers a smaller 15” pizza starting at $15. There is even a gluten free crust.
I admit we have only ordered slices at Pizza on Pearl. We don’t live in the neighborhood and when we go here for a sit-down meal we tend to go around the corner to Carino’s. I will be doing a separate review of Carino’s but will say this, it is more expensive than Pizza on Pearl and much more of a whole in the wall. However, I have been going to Carino’s since 1991 and it is Erin’s favorite pizza in the world!
If I was a tourist or resident in La Jolla, Pizza on Pearl would be my definite go to for regular pizza delivery. They also offer stromboli, calzones, meatballs and salads, but this is mainly a pizza place. My son loves the garlic knots and I indulge him because they are only $2.
Pizza on Pearl is very similar in feel to Bronx Pizza in Hillcrest and Bongiorono’s in Solano Beach. The interior especially looks like Bongiorono’s. One thing we really like is the various versions of the famous photo “Lunch atop a Skyscraper.” This 1932 photo shows 11 workers sitting on a construction beam eating lunch high above NYC. Pizza on Pearl has several versions of this photo but with the workers eating pizza.
Overall Pizza on Pearl is definitely a top contender in Fun Diego Family’s search for the best NY-style pizza in San Diego. This is a classic East Coast style joint located in a great neighborhood for both San Diego tourists and residents alike. If you go on our Downtown La Jolla Village walk, Pizza on Pearl is a great place to grab a bit at either the start or end of your walk. To see our other contenders, go here.