For the Locals – Gialina

(Featured Image is by Adam Kuban and appeared here.)

If you didn’t read our only other post about pizza, there’s something you need to know me about me, concerning my biases about pizza.

I have very strong feelings about pizza.  To me, New-York-Style is King. (I grew up on the East Coast, so it’s the pie of my childhood.)  Neapolitan-Style is a close second, but I can count on one hand the number of pies I’ve had in said style that were truly memorable.  I had careful expectations about dining at Gialina, though I was quite hopeful for our meal, despite said carefulness.

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How I came to dine at Gialina was not so much of a pilgrimage to find great pizza in the Bay Area as it was a matter of convenience.  It really came down to options closest to the venue of the show I was attending later that night.  There were a handful of really great options in the area.  We opted for pizza, as it’s a great pre-drinking base.

Before we get too far into the actual meal experience, a little more information about Gialina:

Gialina is named after my grandmother Nonni Lina.  It is a tribute to my wonderful Italian family, who came from a town in Italy’s culinary heartland of Emilia-Romagna.  As seen in the restaurant’s family photos, Nonni liked to surround herself with food and family.  My family taught me everything I know and love about food, cooking, and entertaining.  Most importantly, cooking food for others is a great gift.

Our menu is built around what is fresh and seasonal.  We source as much as we can from local farms Star Route, Mariquita & Martin B.

The menu consists of fresh antipasti and salads, delicious thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas, and a roast of the day.  We also have several decadent desserts, all made in-house, so save a little room.

Cheers!
Sharon Ardiana, Chef & Owner

Due to our modest size, we cannot accommodate parties of 8 or more.

We gladly accept cash, Mastercard & Visa.

While I know you’re dying to hear about how the pizza was, I feel like it’s important to talk atmosphere and generally dining vibes first.  The website even mentions in the ‘about’ section above that their restaurant is a ‘modest size, [and] we cannot accommodate parties of 8 or more.’  It is a rather narrow space, though well-utilized.  Once you’re seated, it feels intimate and comfortable.  We sat at the counter top and not once did I feel squished or trapped, despite being right beside the wall.  Gialina is so tasteful and understated, with the most charming family photos enlarged and hung on the walls.  It’s vibe is rather minimalist, and not precociously so.  There are however, some issues with the acoustics… Particularly if there are loud children waiting for their to-go order with their frazzled-looking parent.  But child-related-noises-excluded, it’s not such an amplified echo about the space that normal dinner conversation creates an intolerable hum.  One last note that feels particularly important to mention.  If you don’t dine in at many pizza places, know this:  pizzerias are warm inside.  Such is the case at Gialina, especially if you’re dining in the summer and you sit at the counter in the height of the dinner rush.  Order a glass of water to go with your wine.

So how was the pizza?  How was it?!  The pizza at Gialina’s is so delicious, so thin and perfect, with topping combinations so carefully harmonizing together…  I had the Wild Nettles pie, and if it had had a face, it would’ve launched a thousand ships; it was such beautiful and satisfying pie.

Another notable menu item:  the burrata with Balakian Farm yellow nectarines, farro, chili oil & flatbread, which may not be available at the time of your visit.  The menu is built around what is fresh and seasonal, so repeat customers can expect variety!  And they try to source as locally as possible!  A note about the burrata:  it was heavenly, but for those of us trying to be mindful of carbs in any capacity, you’ll do more than fine in skipping the accompanying flatbread and indulging in the farro instead.

My partner and I also had a broccolini dish with our dinner (so as to have a green vegetable with our meal).  It was fine enough but not so memorable that I can recall the exact flavor profile.  (After looking at the photo of the menu from our meal, it was marinated broccoli—though it appeared to be broccolini—with whole anchovies and Parmegiano Reggiano.  But it’s worth noting that upon first recall, I could not tell you the flavors.)

Will I seek Gialina out again?  If I’m in the neighborhood, sure.  The Wild Nettles pizza alone showed that they build incredibly flavor profiles in their menu, and so I’m sure to have a grand experience here.  But as I’m new to exploring the Bay Area, I have many more restaurants to explore!

If you’d like to get some delicious pizza from Gialina for yourself, here are the details!  Cheers!

Gialina
2842 Diamond St. (at Kern St.)
San Francisco, CA 94131
Sunday – Thursday:  5 PM – 10 PM
Friday – Saturday:  5 PM – 10:30 PM
415-239-8500

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When the moon hits yer eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!

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