Daily Slice: The Diavola Pizza at Farina, San Francisco
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
The people behind Farina had promised to open Antica Pizzeria Napoletana, with wood-fired pizza and an imported Italian pizzaiolo, sometime in May—of 2010. Yet their chosen storefront on the corner of Eighteenth and Valencia in San Francisco's Mission district remains boarded up to this day. In the meantime, the original restaurant has been quietly turning out pizzas as part of their Sunday brunch service for some time. Maybe a chance to catch a glimpse of what their still-imaginary pizzeria might one day offer?
Well, probably not, if the new place will actually include a wood-fired oven as advertised. Farina cooks its pies in an electric Adamatic oven. Both decks burned at around 550 degrees when I walked past.
What Farina calls "pizze napoletane" struck me, rather, as having a nice artisanal New York-style crust. Crisp, but with some give, it had a really pleasant flavor through the rim and a lightly charred undercarriage that didn't sag one bit.
On top, Farina applies a clean-tasting fior di latte and a full-flavored sauce. All around a solid effort, even if the pies could have had more pop. The spicy Calabrian salami that had been streaked across our Diavola pizza certainly took the flavors a step in this direction. Though, because our pie didn't arrive pre-sliced, we ended up pulling most of the meat off the pizza as we hacked away at it with the large steak knife they'd provided.
The pizzas at Farina come across as a somewhat offhand but enjoyable addition to the brunch menu. They're good enough to keep me wondering what the full-on pizzeria will be able to produce. The pizzaiolo I spoke to made some vague mentions of November, but I'll believe that when I see it.
About the author: David Kover is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and food enthusiast. With two more upscale pizzerias slated to open in his neighborhood shortly, even he's beginning to wonder whether we've reached the pizza saturation point. Follow him on Twitter (@pizzakover).