Killer $5 Happy Hour Margherita Pies at Isola in San Diego

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[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

Even if the Margherita pizza at Isola Pizza Bar was average, it would probably be newsworthy for the price alone: just $5 during happy hour, which runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. But it's not average pizza; it's awesome pizza.

When the restaurant first opened, I thought the happy hour menu, which features a dozen different food items priced from $3-$5, plus $4 beers and wine for $5/glass, was a limited-time special, designed to get people in the door and summarily hooked. Nearly 18 months later, nothing's changed: the specials remains in place, prices untouched.

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With pizza this good, that's magnificent news. The crust is thin and mildly salty with a char-spotted undercarriage and a puffy cornicone. Toppings are everything you hope for on a top-notch Margherita pie: the tomato sauce sparkles with acidity, the fresh-torn basil is earthy and herbaceous, and there are milky slices of mozzarella covering nearly every inch of the surface area. And, it's a full sized pie (at least 12 inches), not some scaled-down "personal pizza".

Even at full price ($12) it's absolutely worth every penny, but for $5—less than two slices and a drink up the street at Landini's—the only thing keeping it from being too good to be true is that (by some miracle), it isn't.