The Best Pizzerias In Berkeley, California

Alexandra Brown

Although the West Coast may not be known for its pizza, the Bay Area has a surprising number of restaurants that have mastered their take on Californian pizza. These pizzerias have added a Californian twist to traditional pizza styles from around the world, in addition to having come up with creative new options. Here are the five best pizza restaurants in Berkeley, California to see this combination of cultures and the delicious results.

Cheese Board Pizza

1. Cheese Board Pizzeria

Bakery, Restaurant, Italian

Picnic tables along the Berkeley Marina
© Shaina Potts/Living New Deal
The Cheese Board Collective opened as solely a small cheese shop in 1967, but when employees began to experiment with pizza recipes using their sourdough bread, cheese, and local vegetables in 1985, a pizza revolution began in Berkeley. The cheese shop now sells 300-400 cheeses from all over the world, and the pizza restaurant has lines winding around the block almost every night. Cheese Board Pizza is open five days a week and offers a choice of one vegetarian pizza per day – the weekly menu can be found here. With its prime location in the Gourmet Ghetto, live jazz performances and outdoor sidewalk patio, Cheese Board Pizza has become a staple of downtown Berkeley culture and cuisine.

2. Sliver Pizzeria

Bar, Restaurant, Pizzeria, Fast Food, Vegetarian

Sliver Pizzeria serves very similar pizza to the previously mentioned Cheese Board Pizza, sourdough crust with no sauce, and one daily vegetarian pizza option. As it is located on the UC Berkeley campus, it is a very popular student hang-out and includes a full bar. The Sliver restaurant also promotes local musicians and has a socially conscious mission of ending human trafficking – more information about this initiative can be found here.

3. Little Star Pizza

Pizzeria, Restaurant, American, Italian

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
©Caitlin Childs/Flickr
Although this pizza restaurant is technically in Albany, it is so close to the border that residents of Berkeley can easily stop by and enjoy it. Both deep dish and regular pizza is served here, but it is the former that is the true gem of Little Star Pizza. Vegetables and meats are combined with a flavorful, seasoned tomato sauce that is generously spread over thick layers of melted mozzarella cheese sitting on crispy cornbread-like crust. With two more locations in San Francisco, pizza lovers all over the Bay can enjoy Little Star.

4. Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

Just a few blocks up from Little Star is another deep-dish pizza haven, Zachary’s Chicago Pizza. This Bay Area establishment has been open for over 30 years, and aims to create authentic Chicago pizza with a Californian twist. The flakey, homemade dough is layered twice with a sheet of cheese and other fillings in between. Diced tomato sauce is poured on top of the second layer of dough and then cooked slowly until the crust is golden brown. Since its founding, Zachary’s has won over 170 ‘Best Pizza’ awards, making this spot a Bay Area favorite.
Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, 1853 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 525 5950

Gioia Pizza | ©FuzzyTraveler/FlickrGioia Pizza | ©FuzzyTraveler/Flickr

5. Gioia Pizzeria

Restaurant, Pizzeria, Italian

Gioia Pizzeria in Berkeley was founded over 10 years ago, and introduced the Bay Area to New York-style pizza. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant sells thin pizza by the slice and pie. Similar to the philosophy of Zachary’s Pizza, Gioia Pizzeria aims to combine the pizza culture of a different area with Bay Area food principles; Gioia works with local farmers throughout the year to use seasonal fruits and vegetables in their recipes. With a second location in San Francisco, this local take on New York pizza can be enjoyed on either side of the Bay.

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