The East Bay isn’t known for a certain style of pizza, per se, but that only gives it a chance to shine at all of them. The East Bay has the talent and space to fire off pizzas of all styles and shapes, including New York-style slices; wood-fired classics; and pan-baked grandma, Sicilian, and Detroit pies. Venturing out into the East Bay won’t be about finding a great pizza — these places are all great — but limiting yourself by figuring out what style of great pizza you want today. In that sense, the East Bay is your pizza box.Read More
17 Saucy Pizzerias to Love in the East Bay
A slice for every kind of pizza lover
There didn’t use to be a ton of excellent pizza options in the far western part of Richmond, but that changed when Raymond’s landed here. The boxes boast that the pizza reheats excellently due to the high quality of their ingredients, and they aren’t wrong. Superb toppings and crispy-chewy crust made with dough that is fermented in-house are on display here.
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Q's Halal Pizza
Part of the Q’s Halal mini chain that includes a handful of halal chicken-and-rice joints, the Richmond shop is the only one that specializes in pizza — made, of course, with halal-friendly toppings. You can get a standard pepperoni pie, but the pleasure in getting pizza here is the option to top it with items more commonly found at a shawarma joint: The Mama Mary’s, topped with lamb gyro, pepperoni, and red onion, is a sheer delight. Meanwhile, Q’s spice-dusted halal chicken wings are second to none.
Pollara remains incredibly buzzy since its opening, with favorable reviews and a solid following. The Roman-style pizzas are good both onsite or at home, and the pizzeria offers a half-baked version ready to be finished in the oven at home — for a fresh-out-of-the-oven home pizza experience. They also have a superb collection of wines and other small bites, especially their fritti selection of fun fried tastes. Also of note are the wonderful fresh-baked breads.
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Among the several wood-fired pizza options in the East Bay, Benchmark is one of the best. Their crust is superb even when reheated, and the wide selection of local veggies and herbs that adorn their pizzas is impressive. Really, any pizzeria that tops pizza with fried sage is doing something correctly, and Benchmark is one of those places. They also serve excellent antipasti and pastas.
Indian pizza has been a thing in the Bay Area for some time, and one of the stalwarts has long been Namaste pizza. While you can get your run-of-the-mill Western pizzas here as well as the Cal-Italian variety, you really ought to try their wonderfully spiced, incredibly delicious Indian pizzas, especially the veggie-heavy ones like the aloo gobi pizza. Their vegan options are great, as well, and if you’re more a meat eater you’ll definitely want to try the spicy gyro or the chicken pizza masala.
This late-night favorite — open until 1 a.m. on weekends — is the brainchild of former Capo’s pizzaiolo Matt Molina, whose bona fides include three international pizza-making championships. For those who like a slightly heftier crust than your average thin-crust pie, Graffiti’s pizzas are picture perfect, offering a satisfying chew. The topping combinations are also topnotch — try the “Cloud,” a wonderfully garlicky combination of sausage, spinach, and light-as-air ricotta cheese.
Rose Pizzeria co-owner Gerad Gobel doesn’t like to categorize his pizzas, but that being said, the restaurant has gained a small following amongst New Yorkers who enjoy Rose’s crust paired with California-fresh toppings. The Champione is a lovely vegetarian mushroom pizza with smoked mozzrella, sherry vinegar, pecorino, and green onion over white sauce, while the Green Deluxe is another vegetarian favorite topped with broccoli rabe, mozzarella, garlic confit, cream, and lemon. Don’t skip the spicy Caesar salad, topped with a dressing made using Shared Cultures miso and chile for just the right amount of kick.
The Cheese Board Pizza
Cheese Board has been around long enough — and has been consistently excellent for so long — that it almost feels unnecessary to add them here. Ignore the fact that there’s always a notoriously long line since it goes by quickly thanks to speedy service. As it always has, the restaurant offers one special pizza and one special salad every day, and it’s always vegetarian.
Arthur Mac's Tap and Snack
Arthur Mac’s does its pizzas in a brick oven, and the bottom crust gets that cravable crisp char on it as a result. They have a fantastic margherita that has a fun drizzle of balsamic on it that makes a nice, sweet-sour flavor contrast to the salty cheese on top. They even do a killer rendition of that CPK favorite, barbecue chicken pizza. Also of note are the wings, which you can get in buffalo, sweet and smoky bbq, or tikka masala flavors — you can even treat yourself to a 50-piece box.
Pizzeria da Laura
Pizzeria da Laura is award-winning pizzaiola Laura Meyer’s first restaurant, and it’s the place to go for pan pizzas in the East Bay. Meyer is serving four different styles of pizza — Sicilian, Detroit, grandma, and New York — with an array of toppings to create your own pie. Not that you have to; Meyer has created a list of top-notch pies such as the Ray J, with tomato, mozzarella, thick and thin pepperoni, basil, burrata, fermented honey, and shaved parm. The side dishes and pasta aren’t an afterthought, so if you have room, throw on a plate of Dad’s Ragu or the fried eggplant pasta made with bucatini.
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Located in downtown Oakland, this tiny New York-style slice shop has become a local favorite since its opening, especially given the ease of ordering a slice for lunch or dinner. These are huge slices, perfect for a meal, and a full pie will be a whopping 20 inches — perfect for a group or next-day leftovers. For an authentic NY slice, it’s only right to go for pepperoni, but there are other types on the menu, such as a burrata pie with, of course, burrata, along with mozzarella, basil, hot honey, Parm, over a red sauce.
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Philomena suffered a double whammy of both the pandemic and a fire that shut the restaurant down for months. After re-opening, though, this neighborhood favorite came back even stronger. They make fantastic New York-style pies, and they have possibly the best mushroom pizza in the East Bay.
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Carbona — a pop-up from the folks behind brunch favorite Grand Lake Kitchen, embedded inside their Dimond District location — offers convincing evidence that crunchy-edged, square-shaped, gloriously greasy pies are here to stay. The joy of these hefty pizzas lies in the contrast between the crunch of their blackened edges and the airy, focaccia-like bounce of their interior. Many of the topping combinations are inspired such as the vegetarian “Thick Pollan” with “crema, fancy ass mushrooms, normal ass mushrooms,” with brick cheese and parmesan, but nothing beats the classic pepperoni.
Dimond Slice Pizza
Dimond Slice is run by two veterans of Berkeley’s famous Cheese Board Pizza, and you can tell from its ethos: one daily veggie pizza that you can pair with a zippy, cilantro-forward “green sauce.” Unlike Cheese Board, you can also get a traditional cheese pizza with or without red sauce. Like many of the local pizzerias, Diamond sells par-baked pizzas, too. Vegan and gluten-free whole and half pies are also available, and the restaurant serves a great guacamole to go with chips. It’s a clear neighborhood destination for Dimond District residents.
Bluebird is so unassuming you might drive right past it and not know you’ve just passed one of the best pizzerias in the entire Bay Area. A lot of East Coast transplants have sung the praises of the sweet-savory red sauce and the exceptional crust. There’s something to please any pizza lover here, and the meatless and vegan options are varied and interesting.
Doppio Zero Concord Veranda
Doppio Zero is a favorite among pizza enthusiasts, even earning an entry in the Michelin Guide. Now the East Bay has its own location of the Mountain View favorite. The Margherita is a classic, but if you’re looking for something different, try out the Pulcinella, a red-sauced pie with eggplant, cherry tomato, mozzarella, basil pesto, and ricotta salata. The pastas are also worth a look if you’re hungry, and for the very hungry, there are a few full-sized entrees like a rib-eye steak.
Bombay Pizza House
If you ever wondered what it’d be like to cross a childhood nostalgia–inflected longing for Pizza Hut with Indian flavors, Bombay Pizza House is the answer. There are no pretensions here about the pizza, just intense and delicious flavors and spices, aggressively piquant hot wings, and delights like Butter Chicken pizza and the Curry Veggie Delight. This place has a devoted local following for a reason, and it’s maybe the only place where you can find Jain pizza, which is pizza prepared to the rules and regulations of the Jain religion.