The Grind

The best pizza spots in Palo Alto, part 2

Oct. 13, 2021, 10:33 p.m.

Ever since my first set of ratings of pizza joints in Palo Alto was published in The Daily last week, I have received countless emails, texts and comments from people telling me how wrong I was. 

Many people told me that I was far too harsh with my scoring. Let me clarify: a 10/10 pizza is a pizza I would fly around the world to eat. A 9/10 is worth driving several hours for, and an 8/10 is worth the equivalent of a drive into San Francisco. A 5/10 refers to simply average pizza, whereas a 1/10 would be physically inedible.

Some of you were more forgiving and sent me recommendations on other pizza gems in Palo Alto and on campus. And as a pizzaphile and The Stanford Daily’s self-appointed pizza critic, I felt it my obligation to inform the community of my assessment.

The rules of this pizza review are the same as last time. Only cheese pizzas are reviewed, and they are rated based on price, value, cheese and sauce quality. A pizza should also have a good foundation that makes it holdable and foldable. The only change to my criteria is that pizza spots on the Stanford campus will now be included with restaurants in Palo Alto city limits. Without further ado, here are the reviews.

New York Pizza

Nothing can ever recreate the experience of walking through a scaffolding on Sixth Avenue holding a paper plate in one hand and a slice, which burns the roof of your mouth, in the other. But this Hamilton Avenue joint gets it mostly right. Slices and pies here have that blistering on the cheese that all great pizzas of the East have. The sauce contains a gentle hint of oregano, and the crust is gently charred. The pizza is moderately floppy, so grip it with a little strength. A little flop is necessary in a good slice of New York pizza, and this one has it. Overall, this is a very solid spot.

Score: 6.5/10

Price: $18.99 for a 14’’ pizza  

Howie’s Pizza

The fancy strip mall ambiance at this Town and Country location is very pleasant, more pleasant than one would expect sitting on the COVID outdoor-dining seating on parking lot pavement. But this pie is floppy — the cheese-to-crust attachment leaves much to be desired. The sauce is overly and inconsistently seasoned, and the cheese is oily. 

Score: 5.5/10

Price: $22 for a large cheese pizza

Pizzeria Delfina

This restaurant on Emerson Street serves up true Neapolitan-style pizzas. Stay away if your tastes lean toward processed cheese — the fresh mozzarella on the pies is nice and juicy with a hint of creaminess. The sauce is not heavily seasoned, focusing on its tomatoes, which have a gentle hint of the earth to their sweetness. When held, the pie has a gentle flop and holds together well. The crust has a nice char, and the occasional explosions of basil are a nice break from all the cheese and tomato. I recommend calling ahead if you wish to eat at the restaurant. I went and was told that they were take-out only that day, despite the internet telling me they were open for dine-in. 

Score: 7.5/10

Price: $16 for a medium-sized Margherita

Stern Dining

This Escondido Road spot serves up slices on select weekday lunches. The pizza is always hot and fresh, coming right out of the pizza oven at the back of Stern Dining. The red tomato sauce is nice and sweet, and the gentleman who serves it is very kind. A word to the wise: be careful about biting into a slice fresh out of the oven. Your mouth may burn.

Score: 6.5/10

Price: Free with a meal swipe

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