Thursday, March 03, 2005

Pizzetta 211 - 211 23rd Ave - San Francisco

Pizzetta 211 211 23rd Ave - San Francisco -CA 94121-2008 (415) 379-9880



A stone's throw from busy Clement Street in the Richmond District, but oddly sandwiched between dwellings on a residential street, Pizzetta 211 is just the spot for lovers of very crispy, thin pizza. The limited number of small, sometimes wobbly wooden tables inside (and out when the weather allows) means the chances are that maybe you are going to have to be patient and wait a while before you can sit down and enjoy the surroundings and food, particularly at popular eating times.



There is a self service counter where you place your order. Staff are down to earth and downright friendly. Wine bottles lined up on the counter sport cute, hand-written labels describing their contents. A display of glorious-looking homemade desserts like flourless chocolate cake and lemon tart flaunt themselves for your attention, before you've even attempted to order anything savoury.



Artisan Cheese Salad, Organic Greens, Artisnal Cheeses and Spiced Walnuts, $8.75 sounds so tempting, but you might find, to your peril, that as an appetizer this is perhaps not the best thing to order before embarking on a large pizza, particularly if you have an eye on future dessert. The accompanying Levain was a little on the dry side and the sprinkling of very sweet walnuts must have been confused about the definition of spice. The actual mixed greens, their vinaigrette and the unexpected, but delicious, little olives were the knockouts on the plate leading me to believe that next time a simple farm salad would be a better choice to start.



Rosie's Farm Egg, Arugula Rabe, Redwood Hill Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Pizzetta $13.75
Pizzetta 211 always have a few specials on their menu that change regularly, and this combination was one of them. The crust is topped, first, with mozzarella and then the special menu items. No less than two eggs were cracked on the top of my pie. They were cooked until the white but not the yolk was set, allowing me to indulge in my favourite Sunday pastime of dipping the brittle, breadstick-like crust into the pool of rich, runny yellowness spreading over my plate. These eggs really tasted like eggs, like really fresh eggs, a taste it is easy to forget ever even existed when you are used to buying them from a supermarket and then leaving them too long in the fridge.

Arugula Rabe (pronounced 'rah-bay'), is arugula that has been left to flower and then re-cut. It had a strong green, but not bitter taste with a texture almost like grilled asparagus. If anyone knows where to source this vegetable in the San Francisco area, please let me know.

Whilst I like my pizzetta enough, Fred's simple
Tomato, mozzarella & basil with pepperoni $10 was much better. The tomato sauce was really flavoursome and juicy in contrast to the crispy crust. Small dollops of oily basil pesto dribbled over the surface caused the entire pizza to burst into even more flavour. Highly recommended.

Pizzetta 211 is quaint, quirky and small, but don't expect your bill to be the same size. It's more than a mere gimmick for small kitchens in California to support local growers and proponents of organic farming these days. It's a mindset many Californians have come to expect. People who can afford to share that philosophy probably won't balk at the price for one salad, two pizzas, a glass of wine and a limonata ($43 before tip). Beware: they accept CASH ONLY!
Pizzetta 211 - 211 23rd Ave - San Francisco

15 Comments:

  • At 3/3/05 09:56, Blogger Jennifer Maiser said…

    You are so right to put the cash only thing in bold. It is so far out there, and not exactly cheap ... not a fun place to be caught without cash.

    P211 is one of my favorite places. To me, a perfect lunch is their artisan cheese salad and their lentil soup when they have it ... a crock of lentil soup with a half a lemon to squeeze on it. So delicious.

     
  • At 27/3/05 23:58, Anonymous HungryGuy said…

    The food is pretty good. The cash-only issue is a little annoying. The staff on the other hand: rude, rude, rude... The Richmond is pretty laid back with friendly people. This place however has bad vibes, not a good place to hang out. I have been there for the third time now and was always annoyed by their mean-spirited staff.

     
  • At 19/4/05 20:35, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i agree, very rude staff. the worst i have come across in 10 years eating out in san francisco. i will never go back

     
  • At 29/7/05 12:36, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go here if you want to be treated horribly by rude people. The worst service hands down in San Francisco. Congrats pizzetta 211.

     
  • At 3/11/05 12:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, The cash only bit is a person opinion no big deal just go to the bank. The food is so lovely, of course good food is usually expensive.The price of gas is up the price of food goes up the way it goes. If you are coderned about the price just have pizza.

     
  • At 7/11/05 11:28, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    $21.50 per person for a dinner and wine doesn't sound like a lot, especially if the ingredients are fresh, organic, and put together with care. Do you make $20 or more an hour for your time? Think about it. The restaurant is not only providing you with an hour (give or take) of their time, a nice atmosphere and service. They're feeding you as well.

    It would behoove you, and anyone else who balks at the price of eating out, to consider both the high overhead and tiny profit margins that are a fact of life in the restaurant business.

     
  • At 11/6/06 10:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm cracking up as we live near here and we call it cranky pizza. The staff is always complaining to each other about something like if they should do take out or not. I wonder why the owner has never addressed this....

     
  • At 1/12/06 22:50, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've never even eaten here so what the hell do I know... but after reading all these reviews, I'm already I'm feeling verklempt by the potential rude staff and the owner's reluctance to let his pizza's be consumed off premises. I'm thinking someone might have their panties in a major bunch. Ironically it seems to be combined with serious food genius. (I have heard amazing things about the food).

     
  • At 22/7/07 16:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We live in the neighborhood and have tried to eat here four times in the last month. We have been turned away four times for various excuses (sold out, out of bread, no room, came too late). While we have enjoyed the food when we have been allowed to enter, the arrogance of this restaurant staff and owner are too much to tolerate, especially in such a wonderful food city as San Francisco. These guys should just close their doors and feed themselves. They obviously don't understand the dining experience and concept of customer service.

     
  • At 14/12/07 10:31, Blogger Sam said…

    To the Anon who used the word "behooved" - as my post suggested, I wasn't balking because I support their philosophy. I was actually making the same point as you. The price is worth it to people who care. I care.

     
  • At 3/3/08 12:20, Blogger logan said…

    i read everywhere about how RUDE this staff is. my boyfriend and i have been to p211 many times and have always had a lovely experience. people need to quit freaking out about the fact that they don't have a server hovering over them and realize that this is basically a self-serve place. the gentle and knowledgeable staff also prepare all the dishes in front of you and are happy to point you in the direction of the water, silverware, etc. there are no "servers" at this tiny restaurant.

    so, if you aren't an entitled, self-righteous, impatient cheapskate, you will have a lovely time. sit at the bar and talk to the chefs! they are smart and engaging.

     
  • At 22/11/08 06:52, Anonymous allyson said…

    I've bought arugula rabe at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market.

     
  • At 3/1/09 11:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, my experience was great. The staff was extremely friendly. Check out all the reviews on Yelp which tend to agree.
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/pizzetta-211-san-francisco

     
  • At 8/2/09 13:50, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have eaten here few times. I think it is one of the best pizzas in town. I like the originality of the food and the atmosphere. i am a big fan of tiny restaurants nested in hidden spots. Frankly, I don't get the comments about "rude staff" or people being turned away because the restaurant was full or they ran out of bread; or the cash thing. I grew up in the mediterranean and I don't consider these as negative things; they are just realities of a small neighborhood restaurant that tries to offer fresh ingredients. As customers we should really lighten-up and stop being so demanding. corporate-style restaurants are not my thing.

     
  • At 11/8/09 14:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just found this thread by accident. The staff and the owner are really nasty. In 2009, its still the same. The pizza is definitely good, but that's only half the deal. Environment is the other.

     

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