Best Pizza: For those seeking thin-crust perfection

Pizzaiolo

Charlie Hallowell’s two-year-old pizzeria-slash-
trattoria has become so ingrained in the East Bay’s restaurant psyche that it’s hard to imagine Temescal before Pizzaiolo. While the restaurant’s Heath-tile-and-raw-plaster decor distils the funky aspirations of this gentrifying North Oakland neighborhood, it’s the blackened personality of Hallowell’s crusts that defines the thin-crust-pizza movement for the whole Bay Area. Pies vary, but the best Pizzaiolo pizzas we’ve scarfed in the past year have emerged from the restaurant’s wood-fired oven as thin as tortillas and deliciously blistery as Indian naan. And we love the simplicity of the toppings. A pizza smeared with wilted nettles and Pecorino balanced the greens’ leafy bitterness with the pungency of sheep’s-milk cheese, a simple alchemy that didn’t overwhelm the taste of the blackened, deeply cratered crust. Hallowell’s talent lies in knowing when to get out of the way and let his oven do its fiery thing.

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