- Aviva Schmitz
New York City and Chicago might be famous for their pizza, but the East Bay is a rising star. There are many great pizza places in Oakland and Berkeley that could give the Big Apple a run for its money. We list 10 great restaurants to grab a slice.
The Cheese Board Collective
Simply put, The Cheese Board Collective has achieved greatness. This hyperbole might seem surprising, as the restaurant offers only one pizza each day, and one that never includes meat of any kind, to boot. Nevertheless, people rave about this spot, and with good reason. All pizzas are made with local and seasonal produce and are simply light crust, tangy tomato pizza perfection. You can visit the website to view today’s offerings, but no matter what’s on the pizza of the day, the Cheese Board Collective is a must for any pizza lover.
The Cheese Board Collective, 1512 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA, USA, +1 510 549 3183
Jules Thin Crust
Jules Thin Crust is an artisan pizza parlor with humble roots. It began in 2004 and has since grown to include nine locations throughout the United States. Despite its rapid expansion, the restaurant has never swayed from its commitment to serving pizza that is organic, affordable, and mouthwatering. Stop in for a slice with fig jam, gorgonzola, prosciutto, rosemary, arugula, and mozzarella, or a slice with pesto, goat cheese, caramelized onions, and roasted tomatoes.
Jules Thin Crust, 5804 College Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 597 1859
Boot and Shoe Service
If you’re looking to grab some authentic Italian pizza without leaving the country, head to Boot and Shoe Service. This restaurant, located in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, offers simple yet sophisticated pizzas. The menu offers basic pies like one topped with tomato sauce, pancetta, and pecorino, alongside pizzas garnished with less common ingredients such as ricotta cheese, fried egg, and hedgehog mushrooms. Come on a Tuesday or Sunday night and you’ll enjoy a shorter wait time and live music.
Boot and Shoe Service, 3308 Grand Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 763 2668
Although Arizmendi Bakery is mostly known for its baked goods, the pizza at this Oakland co-op is not to be outdone by breads and scones. Here, you’ll find pizzas made with organic sourdough crust and loaded with toppings such as roasted fennel, crimini mushrooms, smoked gouda, and caramelized onions. Arizmendi Bakery offers just one pizza each day, but the schedule for the entire month is available online. Check it out and plan your visit for a day when the menu includes your favorite topping.
Arizmendi Bakery, 3265 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 268 8849
Pizza Matador represents the perfect fusion of convenience and quality. This innovative service allows customers to pre-order pizzas to be delivered between 4 and 8pm. Pizza Matador is unique, however, in that pizzas arrive half-baked so that you can finish cooking them in your own oven and have them emerge piping hot with bubbling cheese. Pre-ordering starts at 7am, and it’s advised that you order early, before pizzas sell out. Don’t miss the opportunity to try a pizza topped with wild garlic, mushrooms, and truffle oil or one with chorizo, olives, red bell pepper, and manchego cheese.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to satisfy your pizza craving, try Arinell Pizza, located on Shattuck Avenue in the heart of Downtown Berkeley. This no-frills pizza spot offers 16-inch pizzas for just $18, which comes out to less than $2 per slice. Despite these prices, Arinell Pizza still manages to offer quality pizza with a variety of toppings, such as pepperoni, black olives, anchovies, sausage, onions, and garlic. This restaurant is a delicious and satisfying option for when you’re running short on time, money, or both.
Arinell Pizza, 2119 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA, USA, +1 510 841 4035
Amazona’s Pizza offers an extensive menu that includes dozens of specialty pizzas and calzones. Meat lovers will enjoy the Cacique, with pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, garlic, and bell peppers, while vegetarians will take delight in the Lua, topped with pesto, spinach, olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese. This restaurant also makes it easy to customize your pizza, with nearly 50 additional toppings to choose from.
Amazona’s Pizza, 2427 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 625 1233
People bored of traditional pizza and looking for something new will certainly find it in Namaste Pizza. This unique, family-owned and operated Oakland spot puts an Indian twist on the classic Italian treat. Try a pizza with mint-infused turkey and curry sauce or one with spiced cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Just one bite will have you believing that Namaste has reinvented pizza. All menu items are available on a gluten-free crust, and vegetarians and vegans have plenty of options as well.
Namaste Pizza, 5942 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 601 1100
Bay Area pizza aficionados might find a new favorite spot in Jupiter, a beerhouse located on Berkeley’s bustling Shattuck Avenue. Here you’ll find a variety of brick oven-fired pizzas named after mythical gods and goddesses, and all are as great as their namesakes. You can’t go wrong with the Circe, a pizza topped with shrimp, garlic, butter and green onion, or the Xanthia, garnished with potatoes, bacon, ricotta cheese, and red chili flakes. All pizzas can be made vegan and gluten-free to ensure that no one is excluded from the Jupiter experience.
Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA, USA, +1 510 843 8277
Since 2005, Pizzaiolo has been a favorite among people who enjoy fine dining as much as they love pizza. At this Oakland spot, you’ll receive a multi-course menu that is pricy, but justifiably so. Personal pizzas run at around $20, but for this amount, you’ll get a gourmet experience. Try a pizza topped with nettles and pecorino or one with arugula, prosciutto di Parma, and grana. Don’t be afraid to take some of your pizza to go if it means you can save room for dessert; you won’t want to pass up burnt orange ice cream or vanilla bread pudding.
Pizzaiolo, 5008 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland CA, USA, +1 510 652 4888