Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gaetano's Pizza


A few years ago I started this blog as a means for my son and I to do something together as we both share a love of food and travel. He upon entering into those "teen" years quickly found other shining objects to occupy his time. I, on the other hand, Became enthralled with the entire concept of blogging and the sense of community  and camaraderie that is shared between those of us who have gone down this path of taking pictures and writing about food and travel.
I start this review in this fashion because we also started this blog with a quest. And that was to find the "best" pizza in San Diego. I know, the "best" of anything is always a heated debate and in stating anything is the 'best" is throwing open the door to the slings and arrows of those who think otherwise. And that's fine. we all have different opinions and tastes. No one is right or wrong.
So having said all of the above, I give you Gaetano's Pizza in Casa De Oro. My favorite pizza in San Diego and It would be my pick for best in San Diego as well. 
Gaetano's is an unpretentious pizza house that has been quietly serving up the best pies in town for over 20 years. Few reviews of this place are out there.
I have been to other pizza shops around town and although others make some really good pies. I don't get the concepts of some of them. And I think maybe it's time we pointed out the emperors new clothes.There is a place in the Hillcrest area that is notorious for its' "east coast" attitude similar to the "soup nazi" from Seinfeld. Even has a sign up that says "no cell phone usage while in line". and can be very short with customers as I've seen a few times when you wait in line for 20 minutes, the last thing you want is some "goomba" behind a counter rolling his eyes at you because you haven't decided want you want. Pfffft, Fagedaboutit. there is another not so far from this place in the North Park area of town that serves a deep dish pie and they have a similar attitude.
It will never make sense to me this style of business. I guess the novelty of phony "East coast" attitudes will never go out of style.
There are so many different styles of pies in town we forget that San Diego has it's own style of pie. I have had Chicago, New York and there is even a place in the Gas Lamp Area that has a Connecticut style of pie.I have eaten at Mystic Pizza in Connecticut and it's very close to a San Diego pie. There is a Place in Del Mar that serves a Boston style of pie.
Gaetano's Pizza to me is the quintessential San Diego style pie, Which is a mix between Filippi's downtown and Sanfilipo's in La Mesa.
Gaetano's pie crust is light and airy with pockets of air holes in it. And the rest  is just thick enough to hold the sauce and toppings without having to do that New York fold thing.(Although you can). It has a slight yeasty creamy feeling to it. with a nice crisp bottom and slight burned spots are a plus and not a minus.
 The sauce perfectly compliments the crust. It's thick and has a huge tomato burst of flavor with a slight red chili flake bite that just works so well. A hint of Mexican or Greek Oregano to it. It's just enough to cover the pie and doesn't run all over the place like a Chicago pie.. It is the glue that binds this thing together.
The toppings should be kept simple. I mean come on now. A pizza is a working mans food. An Italian bucket of Popeye's. Ya take it out and bring it home in a box that has a nice little Barbie patio table in the middle so the box doesn't collapse on it. You wouldn't order a Carne Asada burrito with pineapple and Canadian bacon now would ya? Ok, maybe you would. I mean someone had to come up with the vile "California Burrito".
The Peperoni is bright and spicy and the cheese is just enough of a blanket to cover the pie and not take it over. It is a perfectly balanced pie and my definition of  Pizza done in the San Diego style.
There are tons of styles of pies out there and I love all of them. But to me, Gaetano's is a simple place with a warm smile on a cold night that quietly goes about it's business of making the Best pizza in town.



Gaetano's Italian Ristorante
10025 Campo Road
Spring Valley, Ca. 91977


Dennis K. said...

Wow, what a great post Michael! I especially loved the intro, and great pics. I'm now in the mood for a good (SD) pizza and want to check the place out asap!

The Diligent Diletante said...

I'm gonna try to find a reason to be in the casa area just to try that pizza. you totally sold me!

caninecologne said...

OMFG - Must. Go. There. Now!

Cool post and as always, love your writing style.

oh yeah - "goombah". i learn new words from you too!

the pics are also mouthwatering...i will have to make a trek there with bert and tc really soon!

Michael said...

Hi Dennis, It's all about that family thing my friend and of course eating good pizza.

Hi DD, Let me know what ya think of this place.

Hi CC, Gommbah is the NY equivalent of Bubba. LOL.

rob said...

Hey Uncle Mike! Love this blog, and love this pizza. I have had the pizza there many times growing up, and after reading the review i am dying for some, it has been quite a few years.

Michael said...

Hi Rob!! it's a hobby...keeps me out of can't wait to see all of you in the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Michael,just thought I would let you know that Gaetano's has been in business way longer than 20 years. I lived about 5 houses away growing up there and remember getting pizza there in my youth (I am 56 now)so my guess would be more like 45+ years.I have lived in Oregon the last 31 years but still get a pizza every time I come down in fact last time i came down I got 12 pizzas to bring back home with me.

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