There I was, across the street from Pizzeria Delfina, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Choobee and company. Minutes passed, then it became an hour, no sight of anyone. Alas, the visit never happened, only to get a text that we would no longer dining at Pizzeria Delfina and we'd be eating elsewhere. That was 2010 and I remember it vividly. This time around, I had Viv with me and Saltzer was a willing participant. In fact, we would be the ones arriving late (curse Bay Area traffic!).
Before the pizzas hit the table, we sampled on the Fresh Mozzarella with a drizzle of EVOO and served with crostinis and arugula salad. They didn't get their shipment of burrata, so this was the alternative. As much as I love the creaminess of burrata, the firm bounce of the mozzarella accented by the aromatic EVOO was simple enjoyment. Next, we had the Saffron Arancini which were fried up super crispy with the creamy-cheesiness of a still firm risotto inside. Although a touch salty, the ample saffron satisfied many of our senses.
Saltzer insisted on the Roasted Fennel with lemon oil and bottarga and it was a good choice as there was a pleasing char which resulted in great visuals and smokiness. This, in turn activated the flavors which were supplemented by well-seasoned arugula. The hint of lemon added acidity while the ample bottarga provided a purposeful saltiness. Meatman, as his name suggests, didn't really care for the fennel or greens for all that mattered. Hence, he ensured the Neapolitan Meatballs in Sugo were added to our lineup. These large, nicely-roasted beef, veal and pork meatballs were moist and well-seasoned. There was a meatiness to them. As for the tomato sauce, it was mildly tart with quite a bit of salt from the guanciale.
We ended up sharing 3 pizzas (that we didn't finish, surprisingly!). Starting with the standard, we had the Margherita which featured a crispy crust with more leoparding on the bottom than the edges. The center was soft, but not overly so. Again, the tomato sauce was mild with only a slight tanginess. I wished there was more basil as it didn't really come through. The Salsiccia (with homemade fennel sausage, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and mozzarella) was predictably more wet with all the extra toppings. Hence, the center didn't hold up and the toppings slid off. Despite this, we thought the pizza was the best tasting due to the ample meat and peppers. There was this sweet and tangy fennel flavor that was quite impactful.
Lastly, we had the Smoked Ricotta with pancetta, arugula, black pepper and mozzarella. With less wet ingredients, the crust held up better. The creamy ricotta was a nice balance to the salty pancetta while the both the arugula and black pepper added 2 layers of pepperiness. As mentioned, we didn't finish all of our food as we probably ordered too much (in addition to the "enough" portion sizes). We enjoyed the food at Delfina and it was nice to finally get a chance to try it. We particularly liked how they were accommodating with our party by rearranging the tables a few times.
- Good Neapolitan pizza
- We got great service
- Not the most spacious of seating arrangements
- A bit pricey, but we thought it was fair